“See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity.
If 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.” (Deuteronomy 30:15 – 16)
For the second day I am sitting here trying to decide what to say. On the one hand, this message to the Israelites seems pretty clear. And one would think through the generations there would be enough Hebrews/Israelites/Jews to keep God’s blessing flowing. So what happened?
“But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, I 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.” (Verses 17 – 18)
We know that the Hebrews/Israelites were seduced and drawn away by other gods, and indulged in erroneous practices of worship. And that through the years the prophets called again and again for the people to return to proper worship.
And while I am thinking about it, how is “live long” defined? Because some remnant of people remained, enough that the land was occupied by some members of the twelve tribes. I know from doing research that the Jews lost the designation of a “homeland” in the early 700’s BCE. And that in 1948 the designation was re-established – hotly contested but re-established. Do the conditions of God’s blessing mean that the Jews “lost” the land when the Assyrians conquered the kingdom of Israel?
“I 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, loving 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.” (Verses 19 – 20)
And what of the coming of the Messiah? And the opening up of faith to all peoples, not just Jews? With all my questions rolling around in my thinking, maybe that is why it has been hard to discern what to write. And what of the question that so often arises in my writings – how does this apply to us today? Or, how should we apply it?
It will be interesting, very interesting, to see what theme develops as the week goes on. And I hold in my thinking the newest foreign policy that has been revealed in the United States’ relationship to that part of the world. Indeed, Shalom!