Choices... We are faced with them multiple times every day of our lives. The barrage of choices begins with the sound of the alarm. Will we turn it off or push the snooze button? Will we brave the chill of the morning or snuggle back under the covers for a little longer snooze? What will we wear for the day? What will we have for breakfast? Will breakfast be accompanied by Pepsi or coffee? Decaf or regular? Mocha, Carmel Flan Latte or just plan black coffee? Whip or no whip on the mocha or latte. What way will we take to work the interstate, through town? What will our work schedule be for the day? What do we hope to accomplish?

Once at work the choices are endless as we go about our daily work routines or as we answer the needs that come our way via the phone or a buzz at the door. What will we have for lunch? And on and on and on.

We are all accustomed to making choices in our daily lives. According to our first reading for today from the book of Deuteronomy we also have choices to make that God has placed before us. Moses is addressing the people as they are poised to enter the Promised Land. This address has been going on for a while and now he says: "See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity." God, speaking through Moses, has set before Israel and us - choices.

Now for me at least when we begin to speak about choices related to God my mind jumps immediately to what is called decision theology. Decision theology says that we have to make a choice to "accept Jesus into our hearts." Decision theology would say that it's up to ask to ask Jesus to come into our hearts with invitations such as:

“If you would like to begin a relationship with Jesus Christ right now, right where you are, you need only ask Him…”

“Inviting Jesus into your life is the most important decision you will ever make.”

Decision theology proponents would point to this text and say: See God is saying that you have to make a choice to love God and if you do so then prosperity will follow. If you choose God and obey God then you will be blessed and be prosperous. In reading our text from Deuteronomy it would be easy to go to that place.

For Moses says: "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."

Is that what our faith boils down to? Is it all about us choosing God? As Lutheran Christians we would answer that question with a resounding no. We don't talk about our decision to love God but rather God's decision to love us. If you read earlier in the book of Deuteronomy Moses says:

"Moreover, the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, so that you will love The Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, in order that you may live."

“The Lutheran Study Bible's side note says: God will do what Israel cannot and remove all obstacles to the people's heartfelt commitment. Love for God will become second nature.”  

So if loving God is God's task - if it's something that God has written on our hearts through the presence of God's Holy Spirit then what choice is the writer of Deuteronomy referring to when saying: I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity.

The commandments given to the people of Israel and us were made up of two parts. The first part dealt with our relationship with God. God is the primary actor in these commandments. God comes to us. God circumcises our hearts so that love of God is second nature. It's planted in our hearts. This doesn’t mean that we don’t mess up in our love of God...but it does mean that God continues to seek us out. God continues to choose us.

The second part of the commandments deal with our relationship with others. Perhaps this is what God has set before us when he speaks of choosing life and prosperity, death and adversity. Perhaps God is speaking about our relationship with those with whom we share this earthly life.

Will we choose life? Will we choose to treat others the Way Jesus modeled in his life here with us? Will we treat all we meet with respect even those who are different than us - the stranger, the alien, the outcast?

Or will we choose death setting up barriers that exclude those in our midst voting to say "you are not welcome here?" Will we choose a group of people and label them outsiders giving others the right to exclude them – legalizing discrimination - as has happened in Fremont and in the state of Kansas this past week?

What will it be… life and prosperity - a world where all are accepted and people live in harmony? Or death and adversity - a world where people look out for themselves without concern for others especially those labeled as outsiders?

What is the choice that God has set before us? John Waller has written a song called “The Blessing” that speaks about this text from Deuteronomy. I invite you to take out the insert in your bulletin with the lyrics to the song "The Blessing" as we listen to it.

Let it be said of us

While we walked among the living

Let it be said of us

By the ones we leave behind

Let it be said of us

That we lived to be a blessing for life

Let it be said of us

That we gave to reach the dying

Let it be said of us

By the fruit we leave behind

Let it be said of us that our legacy is blessing for life

This day

You set life, you set death right before us, this day

Every blessing and curse is a choice now

And we will

Choose to be a blessing for life

Let it be said of us

That our hearts belonged to Jesus

Let it be said of us

That we spoke the words of life

Let it be said of us

That our heritage is blessing for life


Every blessing and curse is a choice

Every blessing and curse is a choice now

You will build up tear down the moment of truth is now


For your Kingdom

For our Children

For the sake of every nation(x2)

We will choose to be a blessing for life

Blessing for life(x3)