If it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh. (WEB Joshua 24:15)
Recently I was part of a discussion on the fall of mankind. Some claim the fall was because Adam dropped the ball on his authority and leadership as a man. This doesn’t make sense to me because Adam and Eve were equals at this point in history. I know Adam was first but when Eve came along she and Adam were one. When Satan made his appearance they both had a choice to obey or not to obey what God had commanded. They were given a choice and they chose poorly.
“When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.” Genesis 3:6 (NIV) — It’s interesting to note Adam was there when Eve made a choice and picked the fruit. His presence without objection tells me he agreed with the choice even though Eve was deceived “first.” (I think deception is when someone convinces us to make the wrong choice. We still are responsible for that choice unfortunately.)
Then along comes God for an afternoon constitutional and another choice comes to our progenitors. “Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?” Genesis 3:11 — They chose poorly once more by not admitting their fault but attempting to deflect the blame for their wrong choice to others. It’s apparent this is where the blame game entered the world as each of the first pair chose to disobey and blame their disobedience on someone or something else. But they made the choice, not Satan, just like them we are responsible for our choices regardless of the deception of others.
There was also a discussion about Cain and Abel and what happened with their offerings. (Genesis 4:3-7) Some think Cain didn’t follow specific directions. But there were no directions given. We’re not told why they decided to bring offerings to God. They just did. God didn’t say Cain disobeyed. In fact God warned Cain that the choice he would make at that point was critical. The problem wasn’t that God didn’t accept his offering like Abel’s. The problem was after the offering was made and what Cain’s response would be when God showed preference to Abel’s offering. Cain had a choice to give into sin (always hanging around providing us with deceptions) or learn from the experience and move forward. He chose poorly. I’m convinced it wasn’t the offering which was so important but the player’s choices.
Not long after Cain slew Abel the first patricidal person in Scripture had another choice. Abel was dead and God came to visit once more. Cain could choose to be honest or he could avoid the question and choose deception by deflection. He chose poorly. It’s never a good idea to lie to an omniscient God.
Throughout scripture God gives us choices. It’s what we do when a choice crosses our path that determines our faithfulness and obedience. These two are almost interchangeable. If we are faithful we will obey and when we obey we demonstrate our faithfulness. Chiastic structure is wonderful. Just consider some of the choices we face.
Do we believe Jesus is God’s son or not? Do we believe the bible is God’s word or just nice literature? Did God really mean we shouldn’t do what he said don’t do or was it just a suggestion? Will all be saved or just those who believe in Christ? Is Satan real or just a theoretical concept? Do I really believe in God or am I playing the religious game?
So many questions arise every day and the only answers we have are man made or we have to trust God knows what he’s doing. When it comes to the day to day choices the problem is that the correct answer for one person is not always the correct answer for another. Yes there are black and white answers in many areas of the Christian walk but not in all areas.
Paul understood this and when writing to the Corinthians and explaining what is permissible and what is not. (1 Corinthians 10:23+) It all boils to do what is beneficial, what is constructive and what doesn’t cause stumbling in our fellow believers.
I’m not perfect in my choices. Over the years my record has improved but still that human nature can make choosing the right thing difficult at times. What amazes me is that we, at least I, usually know the right choice but struggle because sometimes the wrong choice looks so good. I’ve got choices to make today like any day and I hope I demonstrate my faithfulness in what I choose. I hope they will be beneficial, constructive and encouraging.