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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live…I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” -Deuteronomy 30:6,19-20

Every morning I face a real choice.  Do I spring out of my bed at 6 am when the alarm goes off to meet with the Lord in His Word and prayer before work, or do I hit ‘snooze,’ enjoy the weight of my down comforter and drift back into sweet slumber for another hour?  This has been no small matter for me over the past year, and sleep has regretfully won out more times than I would like to admit.  But when I immediately throw off the covers at the sound of the alarm, I have the sense that “today I win!”

Deuteronomy 30 confirms this is a worthy battle, and one I am equipped to fight.  It provides me with the motivation and resolve to count these types of everyday life choices as critical to the end game!  In Deuteronomy 30:19, Moses tells the Israelites that the Lord has “set before [them] life and death, blessing and cursing” and urges them to “choose life.”  This appeal comes at the end of a passionate address that has been leading up to this moment in a renewal ceremony when the Israelites would declare their allegiance, making Moses’ words virtually a command, “…choose life, that you and your offspring may live.” (Deuteronomy 30:19)

The enlisting of witnesses reinforces the gravity of this choice; “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today.” (Deuteronomy 30:19) But before Moses delivers this instruction, he lays out the promise of restoration for the Israelites, who have failed over and over to keep the Mosaic Law.  Using figurative language regarding circumcision of the heart, in Deuteronomy 30:6, Moses says that “…the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring.”

It is this act of God, a circumcision of the heart, that makes loving the Lord with all our hearts and with all our souls possible (Deuteronomy 30:6).  It is a great mercy that the Lord doesn’t just ask things of us, but He also provides the means by which we are able to do these things.  In light of this gift of restoration, available for us today, we are called to “choose life!”  Jesus says in John 11:35, "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.”

When reflecting on some of the most critical choices made in history, I marvel specifically at God the Father’s choice to send His Son to this earth, God the Son’s choice to go to the cross, and God the Holy Spirit’s choice to raise Him from the dead!  It is because of these choices, that I can choose “Life.”

And so, the question before us as believers is what will we choose, we, who have been given new hearts?  Will we choose “loving the Lord [our] God, obeying His voice and holding fast to Him” (Deuteronomy 30:20), or the alternative, which ultimately leads to death.  It is not only in the big choices, but the seemingly small, inconsequential choices of everyday life that we are faced with this decision.  Scripture tells us our choices have serious implications for those around us as well; “therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19, emphasis added).  The stakes are high.

So, when it comes to how you spend your time and money, the thoughts you think, the words you say, and the attitudes you hold, consider whether it is an expression of loving the Lord, obeying His voice, and holding fast to Him.  When it is, you have chosen life!  When it is not, be weary, for the alternative is a grave matter.

Lisa Jeffrey
Ministry Fellow at Princeton