Deuteronomy 30:19b I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.
The town where we live is home to railroad tracks. I find the sounding of their horn a friendly greeting whatever time it blasts. It beckons feelings of a simpler time and place when the railroad was central to the health of any town.
A few weeks back I approached our railroad tracks anticipating that the car in front of me would turn left. They did not. I found myself precariously straddled across the tracks. I did not panic. In how bad of a situation could I really be? Surely the traffic light would cycle through straight away and I would be safely on my way home.
Not so. In a matter of seconds I looked up to see a train barrelling down the tracks and headed directly for me. I had no time to weigh my decision. I could either choose death or life. I honked my horn feverishly at the car in front and wildly waved my arms. With just moments to spare, they pulled their car forward enough for me to clear the track. My car shook with the force of the passing train. A sobering reminder of how close I had come to death.
Today's passage is Revelation 9. Two additional trumpets have sounded bringing with them strange creatures who sting only those who do not belong to God as well as death angels who kill a third of earth's population. God has drawn a clear distinction between those who have chosen life with Him and those who have not. He has even allowed the ultimate consequence of death. Because God has given us free will, He has given us the power to choose Him. Even with this level of clarity of the appropriateness of choosing Him, many will not. The rest of mankind who were not killed by these plagues still did not repent (Verse 20).
I would like to say that I learn from my mistakes. I would like to say that natural consequences always dissuade me from making further bad choices. However, neither of those statements is true. I am a sinner and were it not for God's grace I would have followed bad choices straight into destruction. My demise may not have been so blatant as a scorpion's sting or death but my propensity for sin nonetheless had the power to produce tremendous wreckage.
That day on the tracks I had not intentionally wandered into danger. I simply wasn't paying attention. Sin too easily encompasses us when we are unaware. A single moment lacking vigilance can land one into a harrowing situation of death and destruction. Our loving God does not fail to warn us. He will send every warning sign He can. The question is will I heed His warning or wander off course onto the tracks? Will I choose life or death?
Jesus, You set before every one of us life or death. To live in obedience to You is life. To follow my own path is death. Today as I encounter the many forks in the road, may I choose to follow You in the path of life. There I will truly find the peace and contentment of a better time and place. For that place is wherever You are.