See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse.
In his book “In One Day,” Tom Parker notes that every day in America, 108,000 of us move to a different home. Every day, we purchase 45,000 cars and trucks, and we smash up 87,000. Every day, more than 6,300 people get divorced, while 13,000 get married. Every day, Americans eat 75 acres of pizza, 53 million hot dogs, 167 million eggs, 3 million gallons of ice cream, and 3,000 tons of candy. Every day, we do many different things and make numerous decisions.
As you stand on the brink of 2018, the greatest decision you will make in the coming year has nothing to do with what car you will drive, where you will live, or where you will work. The single greatest question you will face in 2018 is this: Are you going to make loving, serving, and obeying God your highest priority? Or are you going to allow your life to be once again swept away by the endless activities and concerns of everyday life? In 2018, are you going to experience God’s blessing, or are you going to experience His discipline?
The Israelites faced a similar choice as they stood on the brink of a new era in their lives. They had a choice to make as they entered the Promised Land. Would they obey God and experience His blessings? Or would they disobey God and experience His curses? This week, we will look at Deuteronomy 11 as we consider the new year and the new choice we have before us.
What were the events that took place before Deuteronomy 11? The Israelites had been enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, and then God sent 10 plagues against Egypt that forced Pharaoh to let the people go. God miraculously parted the Red Sea and brought them to Kadesh Barnea, the entry point into the Promised Land. God told them to send 12 spies into the land to see what awaited them. So they sent 12 spies into the land. Ten of them said, “The land is indeed bountiful and fruitful, but there are too many obstacles. We cannot overtake it.” Two of the spies came back and said, “Yes, there are obstacles, but the same God who brought us to this point will surely give us the land He has promised.” The Israelites chose to believe the majority report, and as a result, they were sentenced to 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, missing God’s blessing.
In Deuteronomy 11, the 40 years had finally passed. Those who disbelieved God had been disciplined. A new generation stood again on the brink of the Promised Land, and Moses, now an old man, stood before the people of Israel and reminded them of the choice before them. For the past 40 years, they had experienced God’s blessings and God’s curses. Moses was asking them, “What do you want to face in the days ahead? Do you want to obey God and experience His blessing, or do you want to curse God and receive His discipline?” That is the choice we all must make today as we begin this new year.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “New Year . . . New Choices” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Statistics from Tom Parker, “In One Day” (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1984).
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.