Choose Life

   Free will and the right to choose are fundamental design features in the soul of man.  Knowing how He made the mind of man and that man has the freedom to choose, God presents His Word and His Will in simple "black and white" terms.  He clearly defines the choices: life or death, and then encourages man to choose life.

   The Devil (who is also called the serpent in the Bible) also knows about mankind's freedom to choose.  The Devil consistently operates by slyly getting people to doubt the accuracy and integrity of God's Word.  The Devil encourages mankind to subtly change God's Word so that the Word, as God gave it, no longer exists.  The Devil operates in "shades of gray."  The Devil wants you to choose something close to the truth rather than the true Word.

Genesis 2:16-17
   And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
   But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

   Black and White - Clearly laid out to believe.

Genesis 3:1
   Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.  And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

   The first thing the Devil did when he approached Eve was to question the accuracy of God's Word.  He has not changed his methods since that day.  The first assault on our believing is always to question God's Word.  "Did God really say that?"  Now we have free will.  We can choose, as Jesus Christ did, to answer with "It is written!" and reject the attempt to question the truth of God's Word by clearly re-stating, word for word, what God's Word says.  But Eve did not do that.  She considered the question posed by the Devil and attempted to privately interpret what God meant.  By considering the question she was already operating in shades of gray.

Genesis 3:2
   And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden:

  Close? Yes.  Accurate? NO!  God had said "Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat."  Eve left out the word "freely."  If you omit a word from the Word of God you no longer have the true Word.  And as is true today, when you omit freedom you add law.  Look what she did next . . .

Genesis 3:3
   But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, . . .

   Accurate? NO!  God did not say anything about touching the tree.  She omitted "freely" and she added a rule: "no touching."  Shades of gray.  The Word no longer exists.

Genesis 3:3
   But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

   Finally, Eve changed the absolute, black and white truth of God's Word to a maybe, perhaps, lest ye die.  The Word of God no longer exists.  It is today, as it was then, a matter of life and death.  God says, "Do this and live.  Do that and die."  The Devil says "Are you sure?  Maybe you won't die?"

   The pattern is the same today.  The Devil got Eve to question God's Word.  Eve considered the question that the Devil proposed.  Then Eve omitted a word from God's Word.  Then Eve added to God's Word, and finally she changed the absolute to a perhaps.  This is the spiraling road downward.  Whenever the Devil attacks men and women of God he always leads them down this road.  He tries to get you to question the integrity of God's Word and then change it so that the Word no longer exists.  Once he has gotten you to this point, he can then come out in black and white and contradict God's Word and you will accept it.

Genesis 3:4
   And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

   A direct, black and white, contradiction!

Genesis 2:17b "thou shalt surely die."  - God's words
Genesis 3:4b "thou shalt not surely die." - The Devil's words

   Somebody has got to be a liar.  Either God or the Devil.  (The answer is: the Devil)  God's Word always lays out the truth in black and white terms.  Here are the choices.  But then God also always tells you what the right choice is.  Choose life!  You have freedom to choose.  You know the choices.  And you know what is the right choice.  I just love the simplicity of God's Word.

Genesis 30:15
   See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;

   Gee! What a hard choice.  Which one do you think God wants you to choose?

Genesis 30:16
   In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the Lord thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.

   OK, choice number one: Love God, Walk His Word, Live, Multiply, God will bless you.

Genesis 30:17-18
   But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
   I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.

   Choice number two: Turn away, Don't hear, Get drawn away [remember Eve and shades of gray?], Worship other gods, Serve other gods, Perish, Not prolonged days.

   Well, just in case you are having a hard time making up your mind and deciding which you should choose, God will give you a clue:

Genesis 30:19
   I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

   The Word of God is wonderfully simple.  Here is life.  Here is death.  Choose life!
   Joshua set before the tribes of Israel this same choice after they settled the promised land:

Joshua 24:14-15
   Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the Lord.
   And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

   Freedom to choose is a wonderful right.  God has presented the options in black and white and told you what the correct choice is.  Life or death?  Choose Life.  The Word of God is simple as is the choice.  As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

January, 1999
Michael Cortright