See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.16 If you obey the commandments of the Lord your Godt that I command you today, by loving the Lord your God, by walking in his ways, and by keeping his commandments and his statutes and his rules,t then you shall live and multiply, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are entering to take possession of it.17 But if your heart turns away, and you will not hear, but are drawn away to worship other gods and serve them,18 I declare to you today, that you shall surely perish. You shall not live long in the land that you are going over the Jordan to enter and possess.19 I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live,20 loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” (Dt 30:15-20 ESV)
There is a danger in reading the Old Testament passages like this and forget the broader context. If you forget to whom Moses is speaking and generalize it, then you will be inclined to think that the way to heaven is through your good works and obedience. But that is not the case. This is written to people whom God has already rescued from slavery and brought into relationship with himself. It was by grace they were saved, just as it is by grace we are saved.
However, to belong to the Lord is to set your heart upon the things of God and the covenant way of life He has called us to live. God does not call the sinner so that he might remain a sinner. He calls the sinner so that he might set him free from his sin. As chosen people of God, we are called now to choose life! To go your own way is to reject the Lord and choose death.
I like the way this passage begins, “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.” There is a tendency to forget that life and the obedience that it entails is good and that death and the choices that bring it are evil. May we never get to the point of calling evil good and good evil.
Chronological Reading Plan plus Psalms: Dt 30-31, Ps 80