Read: Deuteronomy 30:15-20; Matthew 21:33-45
I often run into roadblocks when filling out forms on the computer. Usually, I forget to fill in a starred space, fail to have the required number of characters in a password or sometimes, I neglect to check the "I Agree" box. Just wondering? Does anyone really understand what we are agreeing to when we do check those boxes? In any case when the form doesn't submit because of any of these oversights, the fault is mine. Yet now and again, the form can't be submitted for a different reason that is out of my control. The other day, I ran into the requirement that I prove that I am not a robot. That should be easy. At least on most days. However, proving it to a Website often presents a problem for me. That was the case this time too since to submit the form, I needed to answer the ReCAPTCHA question. Since my reading program couldn't read the question aloud to me, I was unable to prove that I am indeed not a robot, and I couldn't submit the form.
Whether or not any of us is a robot has never been a question in the heart of God. No matter what sets us apart from one another, we have this in common. Each of us was knit together in our mother's womb, Psalm 139:13-16 and each of us has been made in God's image, Genesis 1:26-28. That is a lovely thing to ponder. God has made us, His precious workmanship, and He has given us a wondrous gift. The right to choose. That is a beautiful privilege, but its consequences are staggering.
From the time that the Lord placed Adam in the Garden of Eden, the man was given free will. He was not a robot, forced to submit to His Creator out of fear. Instead, he was given the right to say yes or no concerning his obedience to God, Genesis 215-17. We know what Adam and Eve chose and the consequences that continue to affect our lives thousands of years later, Genesis 3. What a reminder that they were not robots.
In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, we are reminded again that God freely offered His people a choice. Would they wish to love and serve Him or would they choose to turn away from Him? The sad truth is that often, the people chose other gods to their peril. God warned and reached out to His people through the prophets, but ultimately, He allowed them to reject His love and suffer the pain of their choices. The book of Hosea reminds us that when His children rebelled against Him, God's heart was broken like the heart of a husband who had been betrayed by an unfaithful wife.
In Matthew 21:33-45, we watch as people exercised their free will in a shocking way. Jesus had already entered Jerusalem, having humbly ridden into the city on a donkey in fulfillment of prophecy, Zechariah 9:9. Now those in authority were trying to trap Him by asking questions. The scripture in Matthew paints a vivid picture from Israel's history, Isaiah 5:1-7. They were His precious vine that had been planted and tended for His Glory. They were to be fruitful for Him. Yet, instead of sweet fruit and love for God, Jesus spoke about their rejection of the many prophets who had been sent to them. In addition to all of that, the One Who now spoke the parable to them was also being spurned. We are clearly told that the leaders knew that Jesus was speaking about them and their on-going rejection in the past and now, in the present. It was crunch time. It was their time to choose. They said no to their Messiah. The Bible never says whether any of them eventually receive Jesus into their lives, but in the instance spoken about in these verses, they chose to reject the Savior. Once again, it is noteworthy to see Jesus' reaction that we read about in Matthew 23, after the Lord confronted the leaders because of their hypocrisy. Though His words were strong, Jesus' heart cried out for the repentance of His people, Matthew 23:37-39.
Each day, we exercise our free will. Those of us who already belong to Jesus choose to listen to the Holy Spirit or ignore His promptings, Galatians 5:16-26. We are free to say yes to the Lord, and when we fall short, we can begin to say yes again. If anyone reads this who has not yet chosen to receive Jesus as Savior, His arms are open to you, Romans 10:20-21. The choice is yours, and God freely has given it to you. It is our prayer that you choose life and that you call out to Jesus, the only One Who can save you, Acts 4:12.