Dale Appleby

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Weekly Reflections

Choices 24Aug14


We feel great relief when a decision that has been looming over us is finally made. We feel we can leave that issue behind us and move forward.

But some decisions don't seem to hold their ground. Or if they do it is because of a struggle against forces that seem intent on undoing them. Sometimes circumstances change and we see our earlier decision in a broader or clearer context. Should we change our mind?

It depends of course. Take marriage. Marriage depends on two people making a promise to each other. Nothing holds them together except their word. Sometimes attractive reasons present themselves as to why the promise could be broken. Sometimes difficult circumstances seem to demand that the promise should be broken. What usually happens is that people decide to stay by the original decision. In some ways this new decision is stronger as a result of being made under difficult circumstances.


Take God. Our relationship with him depends on him giving his word to us and us believing it and giving our word to him. Sometimes attractive reasons present themselves as to why our word could be broken. Sometimes difficult circumstances seem to demand that our word should be broken.

God's people had a number of choices to go with God from before they left Egypt until they entered the land he promised to Abraham. As they assembled on the plains of Moab on the other side of the Jordan they had another opportunity to choose. They had already given their word that they would follow and obey the Lord. But now a final choice was possible before entering the land. Two choices. Two ways to live. Life or death. Blessing or curse.

Why should they choose the Lord's way? Because he was their God. Because he had led them through the desert. He had fed them with homey form the rock. He had watched over them. He had tested them so that they now knew that they lived not by bread alone but by the words that came form the mouth of the Lord.

We know that – and much more. We also face big choices: stay with the Lord. Keep on believing his word. Keep on keeping our word to him. Or go with the attractive reasons to leave him. Succumb to the difficulties in our life and leave him. Choices we make regularly. Good choices make us stronger.


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