Year A – Epiphany 6 – Deuteronomy 30:15–20

Deuteronomy 30:15–20 – “See, I have set before you today life and prosperity, death and adversity. 16 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. 17 But if your heart turns away and you do not hear, but are led astray to bow down to other gods and serve them, 18 I declare to you today that you shall perish; you shall not live long in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Choose life so that you and your descendants may live, 20 loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and holding fast to him; for that means life to you and length of days, so that you may live in the land that the LORD swore to give to your ancestors, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.”

Summary – Deuteronomy is so named as the Second Giving of the Law. Here as the blessings and curses of the covenant have been set out, the Lord exhorts the people to follow Him and be obedient. The result will be life and blessing. However, if they turn away from the Lord and commit idolatry, they will perish and not be able to stay in the promised land. God says, “Choose life so that you and your descendant may live, loving the Lord your God…” (v19-20).

Insight – Well we know how that story turned out. If you keep reading in the Old Testament you will see that after the period of Monarchy (with David and Solomon), things went down hill fast. The people and leaders of Israel worshiped other gods and finally were exiled from the Land, first taken out by Assyria and then Babylon, when the temple and Jerusalem were destroyed (586 B.C.). As we read this today, we may say, “why did they do this?” “Why didn’t they just worship the true God and choose that life?” We tend to think that we would have done much better. But we are now called upon to do the same thing. We must choose life and worship God alone and will received blessings as a result. Or we can just say we worship the Lord and live lives that are just as idolatrous but without the pagan pomp and circumstance. Our idolatries (just as theirs did) blend right into contemporary culture: materialism, pride, the love of leisure, sensuality, selfishness, security in anything other than Jesus . . . . Pleasure, Possessions, and Position. If we choose life, then our whole lives will be repenting and forsaking valuing the wrong things. St. Augustine said, “Idolatry is worshiping anything that ought to be used, or using anything that ought to be worshiped.”

Catechism – How did Israel fail? They worshiped false gods.

Discussion – What idol is most prevalent in the lives of Christians today? How can we overcome valuing that?

Prayer – Almighty God we acknowledge that You are the true God, revealed as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and we approach You only through the redemption provided in Jesus our Lord. Grant that we see the idolatries in our own lives and completely forsake them. May we choose life, loving You our Lord. In the name of Christ our Lord. Amen.