Time to Choose Life

Deuteronomy 30

Jerry A Collins




v          Is there a future for the nation of Israel?

v          Why has God made His Word available to us?

v          What is involved with choosing life or death?


The Pieta is a marble sculpture by Michelangelo around 1499 in St. Peter’s in Vatican City of the body of Jesus on the lap if his mother Mary after the crucifixion. It was the only work he ever signed, carving his name on the sash running across Mary’s body, after overhearing someone remark that it was the work of another sculptor. The brilliant piece of art was damaged on May 21, 1972 when a mentally disturbed geologist named Lazlo Toth walked into the chapel and attacked the virgin with a hammer while shouting ‘I am Jesus Christ’. After the attack the work was painstakingly restored and returned to its place in St. Peter’s, now protected by a bullet-proof acrylic glass panel. Israel is God’s work of art. This nation will be a display of God’s handiwork for all of the world to see. It will eventually be damaged but not from an outsider and nearly left for ruin. But God will step in and restore the nation and bring her back. Moses predicts that this will happen to Israel.


The first ten verses are a prediction of what will happen to Israel. This illustrates the path of restoration from the consequences of sin:

The sin (sowing) and consequences (reaping) 1-2 The cursing’s are sure to follow Israel in spite of the passionate warnings from Moses. The people will be fickle enough to be banished by God from the land 1. However, some will want to deal with this from the distant lands they and their posterity will eventually find themselves. And even in the midst of the curse Moses foresees God’s favor for them vs 2. You cannot avoid the consequences of your sin but you can stop further consequences when you repent.

The conviction 3-6 When they are in the place where God will banish them and they turn to God, He will restore them back into the land and promises to prosper them more than their fathers 3-5. Then something new will happen. God will circumcise their hearts—that is, it will be God’s conviction that they will have. They will now see things from God’s point of view vs 6 and a new motivation to obey.

The obedience 7-8 This is accompanied by God inflicting these curses on their enemies. Now God will be able tot work for and with His people and not against them any longer. God will discipline us to correct us before He can favor us. Israel will be enabled to do this because they will be willing to do this. Jer 31 tells us this is a description of the millennial promise in the future.

The prosperity 9-10 Then God will prosper them in every way in the land as they settle there from the far corners of the earth after the Tribulation. Today God does this for us spiritually for our age. However, you view the church theologically, you must see a future for Israel. Moses talks about it—so does Jer, Isa, Eze, and others. There is a future for a repentant and restored Israel.


The basis for their future and for any knowledge of God’s thinking is clearly revealed. These laws are not too difficult for you to obey and follow 11. So the good news for God’s people is that they could understand His Word and comply with it. It is not so incredible that only a secret order could comprehend it or too far out of reach that only a few could follow successfully. (a) There is not need for anyone to try to obtain an oracle from God by trying to ascend into the heavens—as if that were humanly possible vs 12. Gen 11 they tried to build a tower to do so but it was never high enough. God had to eventually come down to see them and what they were doing. (b) No one in Israel need cross the sea or abyss for God’s answer vs 13. No journey thru death to underworld required this reach. (c) On contrary God’s Word was very near—in their heart and mouth vs 14. The marvel is that God brot the answer to life down to people—he revealed it to them. No need for a mythical journey or sense of uncertainty. God has communicated His truth to people already. Amazing how people resist the simple truth God has revealed in this book. An unbeliever will ignore, dispute, question and smear God’s answer to eternal life. The determination of scholars and skeptics to dispute reliability of the Bible should tell us about this. Amazing how believers want more than this truth—looking for a new word from God or one that fills in the blanks for us even tho they have not learned, let alone obeyed, the revelation He has already given to us. In His Word we have all of  His complete revelation—all things necessary   for   salvation    and life. Don’t ever say that the life God requires of me is just to difficult for me. We tend to say that when it comes to our conditions. 1 Cor 10:13 says God does not give you anything too difficult for you even when it seems so and it sure can! We all marvel at people who have suffered so much and yet find a way in God’s grace and revealed truth. Israel would need that knowledge to avoid the sin of their fathers while they conquered the land and when they settled in it.


Choose life 15-18 Twice they are given a dramatic ultimatum—choose life or death vs 15, 19. Two ways are open to them—life or death, blessing or cursing, good or evil. These describe two ways God’s people mite live—because the Fall brot with it the knowledge of good and evil. Life and death is the fruit of those two ways. Good promotes everything that is good, nurtures life. Evil is everything that hinders, harms destroys. People are capable of both. Choosing the correct path leads to life in every sense—for Israel both earthly in the land and spiritually with God. Choosing the wrong path leads to separation, alienation and removal of God’s favor upon you. The path of enjoying good blessing is to love, obey and walk with God 16. Love is not a feeling but choice based in act of the will to adore and please God. This command to obey balanced by taking wrong way that leads to death. Defection leads to destruction 17-18. This generation knows this—their parents perished because of defection. Moses too, the people knew that he could have said ‘I will not be going in with you either.’ Leaders are sinners too. Moses still used by God and these facts make his words to them even more potent—love the Lord, obey His voice, walk with Him! We should know this too for we have the full record in Scripture of the failings of the people of God as a warning to us—and record of spiritual victories and how they brot life.

Be faithful 19-20 The climax is the calling of witnesses to attest to certainty of the Word and a commitment of the people to choose life! This is a decision to follow a way of life based on a clear revelation. Who would choose otherwise? We do everyday of our lives. Thanks be to God that His grace prevents our utter ruin. But either in momentary impulses or calculated decisions, it is too easy to digress from the right way. When choosing the wrong road, the farther you go the longer it takes you to get back to where supposed to be. To do anything contrary to the living God’s will is to reject the way of life. Only trouble and disaster await you there!