Now the Lord called to Moses, and spoke to him from the tabernacle of meeting, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When any one of you brings an offering to the Lord, you shall bring your offering of the livestock—of the herd and of the flock.
‘If his offering is a burnt sacrifice of the herd, let him offer a male without blemish; he shall offer it of his own free will at the door of the tabernacle of meeting before the Lord. (Lev 1:1-3)
God’s covenant with Israel included three primary things. It included the law, which they needed to obey, sacrifice for breaking the law, and then finally the choice to receive blessing, or cursing. The keeping of the law and sacrifices did not replace the need for Israel to make a choice to love and honor God.
Simply going through the motions of worship and God’s ordinances does not reflect the true nature of our hearts. There is still a choice to be made in our minds. Our thinking determines our outcome. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 says of our choosing,
“’I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; ‘that you may love the LORD your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the LORD swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.’”
Israel would struggle throughout its existence to choose God’s blessing. Going through the motions of worship and sacrifice is not enough. There must be a choice to truly love and honor God with our lives. Sacrifice first begins in the heart and mind, and then it is carried out through our actions. Actions void of any real love for God are empty attempts to appease God. We often refer to it as legalism.
Choosing to love God has many rewards. Deuteronomy 30:19 specifically addresses one reward that applies to two different groups of people and that reward is life. What are these two groups and how do our choices impact life for each of them?
You. How you choose to think impacts your mental and physical health. It is estimated that 75 to 90 percent of physical and mental health problems stem from negative, or “cursed” thinking. We engage in unhealthy activities because of cursed, or toxic thinking. Smoking, drinking, over eating, failure to exercise, and the list goes on are driven by improper thinking that leads to modern health problems. When we choose to love God and obey God with our lives, this impacts our lifestyles, which in turn impacts our physical and mental health. Choose to love, worship, and honor God and live a blessed and longer life.
Others. Your thinking impacts your actions and your actions impact others and their quality of life. Your behavior, speech, and treatment of others carries tremendous weight. Godly actions bring great value to others. Ungodly actions devalue those same people. Do you bring stress into the lives of others? If so, you are exercising some control over their health. Small children who grow up in stressful homes are more likely to develop mental and physical health problems to include obesity, schizophrenia, or high anxiety. According to Dr. Caroline Leaf, who works in the area of neuroscience, women who suffer abuse in their relationships are 60 percent more likely to have children with autism.
God is very clear. Success is a choice. It does not just happen because we go through the motions of sacrifice and service. If our hearts are not in it, we are just wasting time and we will soon discover a life of cursing, and not blessing.
Is your life blessed or cursed? Your thinking and your choices will determine the outcome.