The prophet’s power to persuade and influence a people was great, but it is not irresistible and It has it’s limits. Choice always rest with us “Choose you this day whom ye will serve,” (Jos.24:15)
Reason may be convinced, judgment may give a decided verdict, yet people will so often lean towards the weaker side, and will baffle all prudent.
Moses calling up on all his power of persuasive and passionate appeal, he makes a final effort to win the people’s for God. ”I set before you life and death, Blessing and cursing, therefore choose”.
Here is a great mass of truth set before our consciences and heart.
These are a few words and phrases here given, in form most short and simple, yet in meaning, how augest, how deep, how high. What are these words ? They are God ,good, evil, life, death, blessing and cursing “Choose, that both you and thy seed may live.”
These words have no end, and no bounds. These words are immeasurable, yes, infinite realities behind them “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Mk.13:31)
These words having once been lodged in the conscience with the significance which is their, no power can dislodge them, nor can any one cause it to be to us as if he had never heard them “Thy word have I hid in my mine Heart,” (Ps.119:11).
There is a great duty which presses on men with whom this truth is deposited.
To love the Lord, to obey him, to cleave to him, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments, his statutes and his judgments, this is obviously the right course for one to take.
The lord God is holy, and all his commandments are so to, and it is intrinsically and manifestly right to follow what is holy “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb.12:14).
As our Maker and Preserver, God has supreme claims on our loyalty of heart and life.
As our lawgiver, He has the Infinite right to require our obedience.
As our Infinite Benefactor, having commended His love towards us, having bought us with a price, He has his claim of love as well as right of law.
It is not possible for us to dispute this claim unless our nature is becoming so perverted that we may begin to call evil good, and good evil. “Having their conscience seared with a hot iron.” (1.Tim.4:2).
There is a great blessing which will follow our loyalty and obedience.
This is true under the gospel, as really as under the Law.
The law rested on a basis of gospel, and the gospel brings with it its own law.
The gospel call is: obey, repent, believe, be baptized in Jesus name, be filled with the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38).
The grace of God “teaches us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteousness, and godly in this present world;“ (Titus 2:12). “Godliness… hath promise of the life that is now, and of that which is to come, for he is our life and the length of thy days” (v.20).
Peace, joy, hope, and all joyful graces and blessing attend on a life which is in accordance with God’s will.
It is not possible that opposite moral courses should have like issues.
People going in opposite direction, in a right line, on a plane surface, from the same point, can never meet. “And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.” (Mk.3:25)
If to love and obey God be good and tends to good, the reverse must be evil, and can work nothing but evil.
The prolongation of Israel’s life in the promised land, even though they reached it in peace, would depend on the continuity of their obedience to their God.
If people refuse the leadership of the Lord Jesus Christ, there will be, there must be, a sorer condemnation than for those who rebelled against the Law of Moses “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (Jh.3:36).
The out look for the despisers of Christ, in the next life, is darkness without a gleam of light of hope in the distant horizon. And even in this life nothing but woe can possibly be to him who striveth with his Maker.
After all, there is a limit beyond which no herald for God can go.
We may teach and warn and plead, but when we have done that, our responsibility ends, that of the hearer begins (v.19) ” therefore choose life.”
The hearer must be left alone with God and his own conscience to decide the all important question, on which a whole eternity depends.
We may direct our friends to God, we may plead and beseech, even weep, we may, as in Christ’s, stead pray,”Be reconciled to God,” but on the hearer alone the final responsibility for the final step must rest. “ But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods,and service them. I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land,” (v. 17, 18).