Deuteronomy 11 – The Freedom to Choose

“Life would be so much better if I could just get people to do what I want them to do.” Much of our stress and frustration is due to wishing, expecting and trying to get people to do what we want them to do.

Deuteronomy chapter 11 reminds us that God is the only one in existence who has the power to make people to do what He wants them to do…and He doesn’t do it! He lets people choose (Deuteronomy 11:26) God spells out our options and the consequences for those options. He also urges and encourages us toward the better choice. But He won’t make that choice for us.

If God can save us difficulty and problems by making us do what we’re suppose to do, why doesn’t He?

I’m guessing it has something to do with God’s focus on relationship. A relationship can only exist in an environment where both parties have the freedom to choose how they will respond to the other. Because, if that freedom to choose is not there, then it’s not a relationship. It’s a dictatorship.

There are two lessons in Deuteronomy chapter 11:

  • First, we need to learn how to love people and hold out the best to them. But we also need to allow people the freedom to respond as they choose…even if we think they’re choosing poorly.
  • Second, we must choose how we will respond to God. We must make this choice day-by-day and minute-by-minute. Then we must own the consequences of our choices.

May we grasp the fact that the One person in all of existence who can make us do whatever He wants us do chooses to give us the choice. He gives us an awesome opportunity to choose well…but we must choose!

9 thoughts on “Deuteronomy 11 – The Freedom to Choose”

    • One word in that question is key…”choose.” Believing in Christ and following Christ is a choice. Many things go into making that choice: up-bringing, information, misinformation, past experiences, past examples, current examples, etc. In the end, those things are explanations behind our choice, but they are not excuses for our choice. Sometimes it’s just a matter of timing. How many people hear the message of Christ multiple times before something clicks. It is a mysterious interplay between a person and the Holy Spirit. I may not completely understand it, but I completely trust it. Thanks for reading!

  1. Thanks for your reply. Most of my Christian life I appealed to mystery here but the more I let the implications of the question sink in I realized that we know where faith comes from (Heb 12:2) and anything I point to within myself that triggered my decision had to come from either me or from God. If it is from me then my salvation is dependent upon something i did myself. This realization triggered an awakening in me that has lasted for years.

    • Scripture tells us that no one comes to the Father unless drawn by the Spirit. The Spirit gets our attention in a myriad of ways and words. So glad that God’s Spirit reached out to you.

  2. Good day, Bret

    I believe you have misquoted Scripture here “no one comes to the Father unless drawn by the Spirit” which text are you referring to? The only text that comes close would be in John 6 where Jesus says “no man can come to me unless the father draws him” he says that twice in John 6. Which does bring up a interesting question as it relates to your view of choice and the exceeding value you assign it. Can man choose that which he is unable to do namely “come to Jesus”?

    Thanks for your time

    • Hey Bill. I’m a little confused here. I went back and reread through my post on Deuteronomy 11, and don’t find the quote you’re referring to. You’re right about the John 6:44 passage referring to that, but I didn’t reference that passage directly. But in reference to your question about choice. I agree that for a person to come to Christ, He must be drawn. But the drawing is just one side of the relationship equation. A person who is drawn must choose to respond to that drawing. An example would be the man in Luke 18:18-29. So sorry if I induced any confusion here. Thanks so much for reading!

  3. I’m really not seeing your point here pastor. Like 18:18-29 emphasizes God’s sovereignty in salvation, not human autonomy (vs. 27 what is impossible with man is possible with God). To make salvation dependent upon man’s choice in John 6 defeats the context of the text. Jesus is responding to a question from His followers about what evidence He will provide so that they might believe. His response emphasizes that those who are called will believe and none will be lost. It would not make sense for him to say they could defeat His calling by disbelief, no, those who are called will be saved, that is our assurance. Verse 29 says belief is a work of God, vs 37 says everyone the Father gives me will come to me, vs 44 no one can come to me unless the Father draws him. Vs 63 The Spirit is the One who gives life, the flesh does not help at all. It’s just so clear. No where does it say that the effectiveness of the call is dependent on human will.

    • Mark, I appreciate the zeal with which you dive into and dissect the Scripture. It is certainly to your credit. But the purpose of these posts (at least these particular posts) is not a deep theological dive, a defense of Calvinism or Arminianism, or even an effort in apologetics. I’m simply trying to give the reader (and probable non-theologian type) a very simple nugget that they can take into their day…and one that hopefully will cause them to keep God in front of them, more than they might have otherwise. I hope you’ll keep reading with that in mind, and I pray that you continue to find outlets that will challenge you more theologically.


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