Monday, February 21, 2011

The Four-Thousand-Year-Old Valentine

On Valentine’s Day, some of us went to parties, some out on dates, and others stayed home and watched reruns on television (not the romantic movies that would make them bitter and sad).
            A few days earlier, I had gone shopping for Valentine cards for my friends. I believe in sending the perfect card to each person, so I put some time in on the project. My favorite was a card that read something like this:
How would you like to spend your Valentine’s Day? 

___ With your head doused in honey, buried up to your neck in sand, next to a giant ant pile?
___ With me?

Obviously, the card recipient was out of his or her mind, because the inside of the card said, “OK, what if the ants were really big and they had fangs?”

            It seems pretty obvious that being eaten by ants wouldn’t be the optimum Valentine’s Day. And yet when God gives us a choice—Him or you-know-what, what do we pick?
            In Deuteronomy 28, the Lord sets forth blessings for those who obey Him, for those who are faithful in loving Him: prosperity, victory over enemies, a happy family, blessing on vocation, and even good weather. People would be known among the nations of the earth as belonging to the Lord, protected and favored by him.
            This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’” Zech. 8:23
            What a promise for the spiritual children of Abraham!
            “However,” it says in Deut. 28:15. (You may be thinking there has to be a “but.” There’s always a “but.”) In this case, it says, However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you.
            When we read the list of calamities, we’re not talking about a month of rainy Mondays, here. This is hell. Without the Lord’s approval and protection, we put ourselves in the hands of Satan.
            Yet, in Deuteronomy 30, the Lord says, When you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul…then the Lord your God will restore your fortunes and have compassion on you…
            Jeremiah 32:40-41: I will make an everlasting covenant with them: I will never stop doing good to them, and I will inspire them to fear me, so that they will never turn away from me. I will rejoice in doing them good and will assuredly plant them in this land with all my heart and soul.
            A few verses later, it says, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security… there will be heard once more the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom…  
            God was offering his people a choice. They could be covered in honey and set down next to an ant hill. Or they could choose him and all the health, prosperity, wealth, and rejoicing they could stand.
            See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction… This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life… Deuteronomy 30:15, 19, 20
            For Joshua, the only answer to the one he loved and trusted could be, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 25:15
            The people with him promised the same. But their actions spoke louder than words. They not only chose the ant hill, they chose the one with really big ants, the kind with fangs.
            The power of a positive Christian life is in your hands. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”
            Let your choice be the Lord. 

This article, written by Christy K. Robinson, was published in the ASM Bulletin, March 1988

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