Most commentators on the book of Deuteronomy notice that the book follows the pattern of ancient contracts and treaties between citizens, vassals, and their kings. They explain the situation that exists between the two parties, lay out the stipulations for each party. The king will provide protection and other services for his people and the people will agree to certain performances as well. The contracts would them stipulate the rewards of keeping the agreement and the consequences if one side should fail to keep their part of the covenant.

So Moses likewise sets the Mosaic Law before the people and says, “see, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse: the blessing, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God… and the curse if you do not obey the commandments…” (Deut 11:26-28) All that Moses had said so far offered two choices for Israel: obedience or rebellion. Each had its consequence, blessing and life or cursing and death. Moses exhortation throughout Deuteronomy is that they choose life.

Maxwell writes, “Israel must make a major decision. Their choice will determine whether they receive the blessing or the curse. What we do at the major crossroads of life not only reveals who we are but has a great deal to do with who we will become.”

We too, as individuals, and as a nation must make the same decision. I hope we choose life.