Ever since God created man “in His own image” (Gen. 1:26), thus granting unto him the ability to decide and determine the direction his life would take, life has been filled with choices. To eat or not eat of the tree of knowledge, to believe God or the serpent were among the first decisions man had to make. He failed miserably and mankind is still paying for those bad decisions (Gen. 3:16-19).
Ever since that fateful day when God “sent him forth out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from whence he was taken” life has been one decision after another (Gen. 3:23). On one such occasion, Moses said, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed shall live” (Deut. 30:19). Let's see now: the choice is between life and death; it is between blessing and cursing; seems like a no-brainer, does it not? But Israel's history is filled with examples of their choosing death and cursing over life and blessing. Doesn't make sense!
The one statement from the Book of Joshua that most all can quote has to do with another choice that was laid before Israel. This time Joshua is the presenter and the choice is also quite simple: “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh. 24:14-15). Again, the choice seems so simple. They could choose the false gods of their fathers or the false gods of the heathen in whose land they dwelt; or, they could choose the God who had delivered their fathers from Egyptian bondage, fought their battles for them, preserved them alive throughout the wilderness wanderings feeding them with manna and quail from heaven, and who had promised to give them this land of milk and honey for an inheritance. You guessed it; they chose the pagan gods and brought about their own destruction and many, many years of bondage.
These examples of their foolish choices can be multiplied many times over. We look at these things “written for our learning” (Rom. 15:4), and we marvel at their corrupt way of thinking and the extremely unwise and destructive decisions that they chose. But what about our day? Are we any better at making decisions? Do we always choose the right path? Or are we just about like those of old? What kind of choices are we called upon to make? Next week we will look at some of modern man’s choices and see if we do any better than Israel of old.
Paul M. Wilmoth