The Choice God Put Before Israel in Deuteronomy 30:15-20
INTRODUCTION “I have a story that will make you believe in God,” states Piscine Molitor Patel in the novel “Life of Pl. ” Some individuals struggle with having a strong faith in God. Similar to the narrator in “Life of Pi,” many human beings must go through a life changing experience or have physical proof in order to fully attest to the Lord’s teachings. Storytelling and religious belief are two closely linked ideas in “Life of Pl. Each of Pi’s three religions, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam, come with its own set of tales and ables, which are used to spread the teachings and illustrate the beliefs of the faith. In this paper I will discuss the choice God put before Israel in Deuteronomy 30:15-20 influences and how it influences peoples faith along with the struggle some may have matntatntnga strong faith. STRUCTURE AND LITERAL CONTEXT The nature of the book Deuteronomy as a covenant structure indicates that the authors viewed it as a renewal of the covenant.
Compared to other passages throughout Deuteronomy, the choice before Israel has a simple and methodical structure. This structure has four parts, two that present each choice, one which explain the consequences of each choice, and one that discloses the Lord’s desired decision: obeying the commandments of the Lord (Duet 30: 15-17), disobeying the Lord (Duet 30: 17-19), the consequences (Duet 30: 19), and the choice the Lord desires (Duet 30: 20). So, why is this passage important? Ultimately, I feel that Deuteronomy 30:15-20 expresses the foundation of faith within the Lord.
Unlike other sources within the Pentateuch, Deuteronomy has been known to be independent source in a broader context. All of Deuteronomy has been known to have a repetitive style constantly recalling all the good deeds of the Lord toward Israel that involve divine care and help in the land. Its vocabulary cannot easily be correlated to those of the J, E, or P sources. In a more immediate context, the organization of Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 is written logically which may assist in the reader’s comprehension.
In Deuteronomy 30: 1- 14 the author explains specific examples of what will occur if Moses obeys God’s voice; however, in Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 the author puts God’s commands more bluntly and explain the consequences learly using life and death as an ultimatum. This leads to Deuteronomy 31 where in Deuteronomy 31: 12-13 the authors seem to go along with the theme of instilling fear in the people. Moses explains that the men, women, and children shall learn the Lord’s law and hear the fear as long as they live on the land they posses.
ORIGINAL MEANING The original meaning of Deuteronomy was centered on the new preparation for life in the land. It summarizes the Law as an introduction and looks to the land ahead. Scholars stress the covenant with Moses more than kingship and ask for total oyalty to Yahweh. Overall, Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 portrays a similar text to the almost timeless. Although the choice while crossing the Jordan solely regards to the an ancient audience, the main message stating that obeying God will result in a blessing of prosperity and abandoning God will result in punishment can be understood regardless to the time period of audience.
However, the ancient audience focused more on prosperity and expanding ways of life than we do today. Death seems more of a fear back then than it does now, so when the Lord pronounced the hoice before Israel, individuals felt that they had no other choice than to obey the Lord due to their hopes in continuing their ancestry. In ancient times, the purpose of the program of Deuteronomy was to center the ancient audience’s attention on Jerusalem rather than on the local shrines and cultic centers.
Consequently, the original meaning and purpose of this passage attempted to make the people obey the Lord as a single mind and commit in a unified way together, as people. More specifically, this describes the full commitment of heart and mind that God commands from his followers. RELEVANCE TO TODAY Today, faith towards the Lord in the Bible has deteriorated due to other fallacies and beliefs. However, even to those that continue to strengthen their faith, Deuteronomy 30:15-20 may seem unrealistic. The human mindset has changed due to life experiences over time.
Most individuals know that those who do not have faith in the Lord do not necessarily drop dead as punishment for disobeying the Lord. In some cases individuals may not necessarily be able to relate to the passages within Deuteronomy due to the fact that personal experiences play a stronger role on some han a fear Jolting passages such as Deuteronomy 30:15-20. In the story of “Life of Piscine Molitor Patel has a desire to influence the narrator to believe in God. The narrator Just needed to listen to Patel’s story.
For those who have seen “Life of Pi,” I equate Pi’s lifeboat to faith, the island he attempts to reach as religion, the sea and the sun as the questioning of your faith and harsh realities of life, the trees as clergy and priests, and the meerkats as followers of religion. One of Martel’s main messages is to not be excessively reasonable, to the extent where you reject all the wonders of he universe. He encourages the reader to suspend disbelief and skepticism in relation to the story, in order to consider its possibility.
In this same way, he encourages the reader to take a leap of faith in order to have faith in something; in particular to have faith in God. CONCLUSION In this paper I discuss the human mindset towards faith. Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 is not the first place that the Lord commands belief; however, it is the first place where two choices are laid out and an anticipated outcome for each is presented. This specific passage has a similar immediate and broader context because it is a road concept as it is.
Whether or not to have faith in the Lord continues to be a struggle of many Christians and Catholics today. Deuteronomy 30: 15-20 will always be relevant to our lives due to its foundational precept. Our Lord only asks us to strengthen our faith to become closer in our minds, hearts, and souls. After reading and analyzing Deuteronomy, I find the teachings of Patel in “Life of P'” to be an influential experience, which influences my own faith in the Lord. Patel was confident that his story would influence the narrator to believe in God, and he could not have been more accurate.