Moses was serving it up, but ultimately the people would have to choose. “See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse,” says their faithful travel guide, “blessing, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, . . . the curse, if you do not” (Deut. 11:26).
And so, he says repeatedly throughout Deuteronomy, “Take care.” Be on guard, beware, take heed. Your head needs to be in the game. “Lay up these words of mine in your heart and in your soul” (11:18). Don’t let your heart be deceived, don’t be drawn into the ways of the nations whom you about to dispossess, don’t be ensnared by their gods and their ways (11:16, 12:29-30). Destroy their places of worship and, instead, “seek the place that the LORD your God will choose to make His name dwell there” (12:2, 5, 11).
The land was theirs. The commandments for enjoying it were given. But they would need to take care, beware, and obey. They were given the gift, “batteries included.” But they would need to decide whether or not to appropriate the gift in its fullness. They would need to choose to “insert batteries.”
As I read through Deuteronomy, though it was written TO THEM, I know it was written FOR ME. I’m a different sort of sojourner but the same. My deliverance, while not from physical bondage, was from bondage nonetheless and brought about by the mighty hand of God. And while the promises are different, yet the fundamental dynamics of knowing the fullness of those promises are tied to a God who is unchanging. So, it occurs to me, I too am called to choose this day. Obey or not.
I have been brought into a land, into a kingdom, the kingdom of heaven. Nothing I’ve done to merit such privilege save that He has called me to part of His people and that He has fought the battle that allows me to go in and possess all that is mine in Christ. But in order to possess His inheritance I must take care, beware, and obey. Though He has given me a great gift, batteries included, I still need to, in a sense, by grace-infused enabling insert the batteries. I must choose to obey.
Not that my rescue from bondage is dependent upon my obedience or good works, but that entering into the land and the fullness thereof is found only through a careful determination “to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD” (10:12-13). Obedience. That’s how I, by His grace, insert the batteries.
For if you will be careful to do all this commandment that I command you to do, loving the LORD your God, walking in all His ways, and holding fast to Him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than yourselves.
(Deuteronomy 11:22-23 ESV)
This would be the second time the people stood at the border of the promised land. The last time they did not go in. Allowed to choose, they chose not to follow their Deliverer and thus not to enter into the fullness of His deliverance. They “rebelled against the commandment” of the LORD their God and “did not believe Him or obey His voice” (9:23). They did not believe, thus they did not obey. Faith intrinsically connected with action. What we believe about our God and His promises determining what we will choose to do with those promises. Enter fully into the new life given us through faithful obedience by faith, or not. Insert batteries or not.
The promises stand fast. The land is there to possess in all it’s fullness. Life and life to the full is available to all who are in Christ.
His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence, by which He has granted to us His precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.
(2Peter 1:3-4 ESV)
Now will I, by faith, step out in the divine power given and precious promises granted and obey and possess the abundant life He has brought me into?
“Batteries included.” Will I “insert batteries?”
Choose this day.
Only by grace. All for His glory.