“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days,. . .” (Deut. 30:19-20)
As Israel entered into the Land of Canaan, Yahweh knew that the chosen people would lapse into disobedience and idolatry. So at this point He offered them a choice: serve Him wholeheartedly or serve false gods. There would be no compromising, no mixing of truth with idolatry, no divided loyalties. Yet if the people of God declared their choice to serve Him and walk in obedience then they would have to understand what their choice meant: there were consequences for apostasy and idolatry. These the Lord would punish with great severity.
Even though at this point Israel chose rightly, they eventually realisedthat, due to the corruption of the flesh, the commands the Lord gave them were impossible to follow perefctly. Yet Yahweh promised that there was always a way back, a means of restoration, for the punishment was always designed to bring them back to Him. He would restore their blessings if they repented of idolatry and walked again in obedience. After all, He loved them and cared for them.
We believers today must realize that we are faced with that same choice. We have, by God’s grace, declared faith in Jesus alone. We declare by faith we will follow His way of discipleship, the way of love, humility, kindness, grace and selflessness. We declare we will not serve other gods, which in our case are not idols of stone or wood. Our idols are our fleshly desires as well as wealth, power, fame and pleasure and so on. We shall surely reap the consequences of our sin as Israel did. And the Lord will discipline us.
The good news is that God’s discipline is designed to lead us to repentance. When we acknowledge our inability to obey and ask the Lord for help and forgiveness, He extends mercy and grace. He enables us to obey and to live as members of His kingdom.