Choices are often difficult because of the myriad of options made available to us. Just today, when grabbing lunch, I noticed the machine from which you retrieved your soda had over 100 choices. It took longer to press the right buttons than it took to fill the twenty-four-ounce cup.
God makes things simpler in Scripture. For instance, for Adam and Eve He made the choice simple and clear. They could choose to eat from two different trees, with two very different outcomes. Both trees were placed in the center of the Garden. One tree called the “Tree of Life” would give them life forever; the other tree called the “Tree of Knowledge” would bring them death. Two choices made very clear. Unfortunately, they choose poorly.
Joshua takes a similar approach. He tells the people they had to make a choice to serve the false gods of their forefathers and culture around them, or they could choose to serve the one, true God in heaven. He even tries to encourage them to make the right choice by choosing publicly for himself and his family. “As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24.15). The people agreed to serve the Lord, saying, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods…. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God” (Joshua 24.16, 18). For a while it seemed the people were good to their promise, but they eventually turned away from the one true God (Judges 2.10-12).
Elijah also extends a simple choice to the people. “How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him” (1 Kings 18.21). Elijah then used a challenge with the prophets of Baal to prove to the people that God was the one-and-only when fire shot out of heaven and consumed the sacrifice. He gave them a choice and provided them with an answer. Yet the people continued to worship idols and forsake God.
How many times does God need to provide the same simple choice for us to finally get it right? Jesus presented the simple choice in His famous sermon. He tells us a wise man builds his house on the foundation of God’s Word; whereas a foolish man builds his house on a weak foundation like the world. If we want to be wise, firmly founded, and strong, we must hear His words and obey. Both hearing and obedience are vital. To choose to do anything other than obey is to make the foolish choice.
Jesus’ challenge, like those before Him, is clear and easy. Will you choose Jesus?