“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 28:1)
The inspiration for this article originates from a sermon I recently preached titled: “The Blessings of Obedience.” The title of the article is inspired by one of my spiritual daughters, Minister Crystal Grundy. If you’ve ever talked to Crystal, you would know that she normally ends her conversations by saying: “Make good choices.”
One day, after hearing Crystal give her trademark goodbye I asked, “Crystal, why do you always say make good choices?” Crystal replied, “My Mom used to tell us that as kids whenever we were leaving her presence. Mom would say, ‘Make good choices because you don’t just represent yourself, you represent me and our family name.’”
Make good choices is the exact message that God is giving to Israel through Moses in the 28th chapter of Deuteronomy. Although Israel was God’s chosen, had been delivered from over 400 years of captivity in Egypt, and was a tremendously blessed nation, Israel always seemed to make bad choices. They could be rebellious, stiff-necked and prone to idolatry. They had to wander in the wilderness 40 years on a journey that could have been completed in days because they did not make good choices.
God reminds Israel of the blessings that come with obedience (making good choices). God promised Israel that there would be blessings in the city, blessings in the field; many children, ample crops, large flocks, and herds; blessings of fruit and bread; blessings when you come in, [and] blessings when you go out. A total of 10 blessings in all… IF.
See, the keyword in that 28th chapter and first verse is “IF…” Specifically, “IF you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his [God’s] commandments…” … IF you make good choices, THEN all the things you are concerned about will not be a concern because I [God] will take care of you.
Israel was like us. How often have we found ourselves concerned about common human fears like political instabilities, lack of personal resources, failing or poor health, famine or our enemies? God assures Israel that they and their offspring, whether living on the land or in the cities, will enjoy prosperity and be victorious over their enemies. They will not suffer crop failures but will be blessed with bountiful harvests. Their prosperity will not go unnoticed by those around them, who would look up to them and seek their aid.
Israel is reminded that God has chosen them, and that it is he [God] who provides them with peace and prosperity, provided they do not turn to idolatry. In other words, provided they make good choices.
The admonishment given to Israel applies to us today. If we faithfully obey the voice of God and follow God’s commandments, God promises to care for us, prosper us and protect us from our enemies. Hardships will come. But God will be with us during every hard time. And God will prosper us. That’s God’s promise, IF we make good choices.
Make good choices. Crystal’s mother gave her children a timeless nugget that is being passed down to the next generation of her family, and to every one of us who will heed these life preserving words.
Dr. Preston T. Adams, III: Senior Pastor, Amazing Grace Christian Church (Indianapolis); Twitter: @DrPrestonTAdams