I would like to take a look at the 5th book of Moses, Deuteronomy, specifically in chapter 30 to see how I, as a citizen of my country and active member of my community, can have a positive impact on the future. We live during an age when everyone wants to live for himself or herself. Children are being taught that it is all about you. Reality is not even real, it is just how you perceive it, in fact, you can make your own reality the way that you want it and you do not have to worry about harming people around you because you are the center of your own little world. The world is getting smaller and smaller because of the internet and mass communication yet we are becoming more and more isolated, retracting into ourselves and becoming more and more egotistical and yet at the same time, more and more depressed. Egoism and satisfaction are enemies. You may have momentary gratification by living a self centered life but you will never truly be satisfied. God, as He forms the nation of Israel, gives us a plan for positively impacting the future of your nation. As we open Deuteronomy 30, we will see this plan.
And Jehovah your God will make you have plenty in every work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, and in the fruit of your cattle, and in the fruit of your land, for good. For Jehovah will again rejoice over you for good, as He rejoiced over your fathers; for you shall listen to the voice of Jehovah your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this book of the Law, and if you turn to Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul. For this commandment which I command you today is not hidden from you, neither is it far off. It is not in Heaven, that you should say, Who shall go up for us to Heaven, and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it? Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who shall go over the sea for us to the region beyond the sea, and bring it to us, so that we may hear it and do it? But the Word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, so that you may do it. Behold! I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil, in that I command you today to love Jehovah your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments and His statutes and His judgments, so that you may live and multiply. And Jehovah your God shall bless you in the land where you go to possess it. But if you turn away your heart, so that you will not hear, but shall be drawn away and worship other gods and serve them, I declare to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days on the land where you pass over Jordan to go to possess it. I call Heaven and earth to record today against you. I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore, choose life, so that both you and your seed may live, (Deuteronomy 30:9-19)
I. There are many great benefits to following God’s plan for positively impacting the future of your nation (community).
He lays them out for us and promises to bless us greatly with these benefits. Once we know the benefits it becomes easier to meet the necessary conditions. In fact, the benefits actually motivate us to want to meet the conditions. Here they are in list form:
- the work of your hand will prosper (9), you will not work in vain, you will put forth effort and be rewarded by God
- you will be blessed with descendants (9), your children will be a blessing to you because they will see a good example in you and will be taught by you
- you will cause God to rejoice (9),
Have you ever seen the joy it brings a little child when he pleases his parents? That is the same joy that we will have when we cause God to rejoice by our lifestyle. We live in an age when we do not see the fruits of our body (children) as a blessing because we allow abortion to be legal. What God calls murder we call “choice” and instead of causing God to rejoice, we bring His wrath on us and our future. We could experience the wonderful benefits if we would just humble ourselves before God and follow His ways instead of being self centered and thinking that we know better than He does. Would you like to prosper in all of your hard work? Would you like for your children to be a blessing to you? Would you like to live in such a way as to cause God to rejoice? These are all benefits that you can have.
II. There are a few conditions that must be met if we want to prosper, being blessed and being a blessing to others.
If you have not been living for God then you first need to return to Him with all of your heart as verses 10-14 teach. Returning to God means to turn away from the god of your life, you, and turning to God, allowing Him to reshape the way that you view the world through the lens of His Word. When we return to Him then we are in a position to hear His Word and keep His commands (live them out). These are the conditions. Return to God, hear His Word, and then live by It. Make all of your decisions based on God’s will as revealed in His Word. It will transform the way that you think, feel, and believe. You will view the world the way that God does. You will begin to love as God does. You will want to invest in the future of the people around you the way that God does. It is a radical way of life because it is no longer a self centered way of life but a sacrificial one. Are you ready to return to God and get to know Him, His will, and His ways? Are you ready to live a radical lifestyle sold out for God? It is possible and by doing this you will directly impact the future of your community because you will begin to invest in people the way that God does.
III. Now the ball is in your court and you have to choose life or death for you and for the future of your nation.
Many people may say, “but I am just one person, impact can my choices have?” That is a legitimate question and the answer is, “a huge impact” either positively or negatively. When you choose to follow the crowd and live for yourself, then that is the mentality that you pass on to the other people who are in your life, friends, coworkers, children, family members etc. If you choose to be sold out for God and live a selfless lifestyle then that will also impact the mentality of others and when they see the benefits that you have, they will want to know your secret and you will be able to share your relationship with God with them. This is a direct investment in the lives of others and in the future of your community. Verses 15-18 teach us that we can choose life by doing good or in other words, following the path laid out before us in 10-14, returning to God, hearing His Word, and living by It or we can choose death by doing evil. Evil is defined as by not loving and obeying God but instead living by your own rules, being the center of your own universe. Which will you choose? Which will you encourage others to choose? Your answer to these questions reveals whether or not you want to positively or negatively impact the future of your community.
I have chosen to impact the future of my community in a positive manner because not only do the people around me benefit from it but I so as well. I hope that you will make the same choice, choose life by choosing to obey God and invest in the people around you. May God help us obey Him and change the world for good.