As I write ballot papers are continuing to be counted for many of Thursday’s elections. I hope, if you were able, you exercised your responsibility and privilege to vote.
The Bible contains several references to the choices you and I have before us. Perhaps the one that comes immediately to mind is in Joshua 24v15. Joshua is drawing near to the end of his life and challenges the Israelites as to who they will serve – either false gods or the LORD. He declares that “as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD”. As I looked again at Joshua’s challenge, the starkness of the choice we must make became even clearer – he basically says that if serving the LORD seems undesirable – i.e. unpleasant, unpopular, unwanted – then choose which false god you want to serve. Joshua seems to be saying – don’t continue with some form of half-hearted, misconstrued view of God mixed with an actual desire for the apparent attractions of the world’s idols – go all out for such idols. Jesus, of course, repeated this stark choice in the Sermon on the Mount: “No one can serve two masters …. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6v24).
How we foolishly kid ourselves that we can somehow be the exception! And the tragedy is that the choice between God and idols is infinitely unlike what you might be tempted to think when marking your X on an election ballot paper – “which is the best out of an entirely bad bunch?” Moses describes the choice before us as between life and death, blessings and curses (Deuteronomy 30v19). Jesus also said that Mary had “chosen what is better …. [which would] not be taken away from her” when she sat at His feet, listening to His Word (Luke 10v42).
In the great film ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ the aged knight expresses at one point the awesome words “He chose poorly”. May God help us all, instead, to choose wisely – not just ‘once-off’, but every day, and throughout every day.
Peace and Grace