At the beginning of the book of Deuteronomy Moses calls on Israel to
"remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee." (Deut. 8.2)
Now at the end in Deuteronomy (chapter 30) Moses stood before Israel
with another word of God,
the word of the Omnipotent,
the ever present,
Israel stood poised at a place
between a journey of forty years,
and a future of conquest and possession.
Today we stand between a passing year and one about to be born.
There is a similarity between Israel's situation and our own.
And I believe God's word to Israel is applicable to ourselves.
A new world was opening before Israel,
a land of their own was awaiting,
places of dwelling and places to possess.
It was a New Time,
and Israel was called to choose.
The decision to be faced was of the heart,
not of the mind or even the "will,"
for these are never enough to hold up in the battles of life.
Defeat and judgement awaited '"if thine heart turn away." (vs. 17)
The fate of the future does not just "happen,"
It is the result of a Decision.
There had to be a choice and a Commitment.
There had to be a forsaking of a way of life,
and a taking up of new responsibilities.
So for us: as we enter into a new year.
God says to us, "My son, give me thine heart." (prov 23.26)
There is a land of opportunity which God sets before us
a land which extends as far as we are willing to possess it.
We face a choice.
It is a time to examine what we are looking for,
a time to examine what we are aiming for.
It is a time of counting the cost.
It is a time of decision.
What do we seek in this New Year?
What do we set before us?
And what must we leave behind?
What does the New Commitment ask of us?
Moses made it very clear to Israel -
"I have set before you life and death."
It is always so with God:
the choice is always between Life and Death,
there is no middle ground.
Life is an active choice -
but Death comes unbidden if we fail to make that choice.
Moses includes another element,
another commandment -
"I command thee this day to Love the Lord thy God." (vs. 16)
Here is a commandment which reaches beyond the power of reasoning,
and beyond our ability to measure.
This commitment rises high above all other commitments.
This will hold when all else fails.
Love never passes away, but endures to the end.
"Love is strong as death." (Songs 8.6)
This is the way forward for this coming year,
and for all the days of our lives.
When our love meets God's Love,
nothing can destroy what He has determined for us.
In Him we conquer.