Deuteronomy 30:15-20 (NRSV)
Verse 15See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. Verse 16If you obey the commandments of the Lord your God that I am commanding you today, by loving the Lord your God, walking in his ways, and observing his commandments, decrees, and ordinances, then you shall live and become numerous, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. Verse 17But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, Verse 18I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. Verse 19I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, Verse 20loving the Lord your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the Lord swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.
Early on in my ministry, a woman I’ll call Helen, grieving over her mother’s death began drinking heavily. Friends and family enlisted me as her pastor to intervene and encourage her to get help. An intervention was planned in which her loved ones pleaded with her to enter treatment. I remember vividly quoting from today’s reading and beseeching her repeatedly to “choose life.” Though there were many tears and promises to support her in every step of her recovery, I am sad to say that she was not able to choose life and continued to spiral further into alcoholism. At her funeral, which came only two years after her mother’s death, I again talked about choosing life.
When we are confronted by challenges and roadblocks in life, we are invited to choose life and fling ourselves into the arms of the Lord Jesus who will shield us and gently lead us through the valley of the shadow of death. Siblings in Christ, this day choose life!
Loving God, in the midst of trouble, may we choose life and cling to your promises confident that you hold us close and will never let us go. Amen.