Every day of our lives we make choices, some of them so small we are not even aware of the fact. What shall I have for breakfast? Where shall I go for lunch today? What shall I buy for little Johnny’s birthday? What colour for our new curtains? Which bus shall I catch? And so it goes on. We take it for granted that we have the power of choice, and yes, God has granted mankind that great gift. But this freedom of choice, this gift of freewill brings with it a great responsibility. Let’s think further.
Making a choice of things like those already quoted is all part of everyday living, but there are greater choices to be made, and the One who gave us the power to choose, also asks us to use that power wisely. The gift of freewill has come attached to another gift, that of conscience. These two gifts together make up the background to every year of our lives on earth.
This gift of conscience, latent within us as a “sense”, enables us to make positive choices, choices that are not harmful, either to ourselves or to others. But if this gift is overridden, squashed flat, burned out (the Bible speaks about it being “seared with a red-hot iron”) then we become antisocial, and a danger to all. It is the beginning of a death march, where freewill leads to antisocial behaviour, and even murder, because there is no “checking mechanism” left. This is seen to operate not only on a personal level, but also nationally, where leaders are held morally responsible for the nation’s well-being. Let’s see what the Bible has to say.
Through the mouth of Moses, God’s spokesman, came the words, “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 you and your seed may live.” (Deut.30:19)
Joshua had this to say, “And if it seem evil to 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 River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
Elijah spoke to the crowds on Mount Carmel, saying, “How long will you halt between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. But the people answered him not a word.” (1 Kings 18:21)
The Lord spoke through Isaiah, saying, “Therefore I will number you to the sword, and you shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, you did not answer; when I spoke, you did not hear; but did evil before my eyes, and chose that wherein I delighted not.” (Isaiah 65:12)
These and other examples show us that God has placed His righteousness before us, declared His mind and purposes, and shown us the results of both good and bad decisions. But still He leaves us with the freedom to make choices. But this cannot go on forever. If mankind corporately sinks downwards, ignoring God’s counsel, a time comes when there remains “no remedy” other than for Him to intervene and bring judgment. (2 Chron.36:16)
Could it be that we are fast approaching that day, “the Day of the Lord”, so frequently spoken of in Scripture? If so, then it is time for all those who have chosen to be faithful to the Lord to remain steadfast and not be moved when all around is changing, moving, sliding downwards towards an evil end.
“Take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”(Ephesians 6:13)