Life is about choices! When we were little children, one of the first things we learned was that we can choose. We could choose the toys we wanted to play with, or sometimes given the choice of a sugary treat. We also started learning about the consequences of wrong choices. As we grew up, we were given more choices. Choices that affected more than just the moment. Choices that could affect the outcome of our lives and how we spend eternity. We started to see the ripple effect of the choices in our lives. We started to learn one of the basics of our world: every action has a reaction!
This article is about the single most important choice you will ever make. The choice of whether you will follow YHVH or the world. Your action to choose, will cause a reaction in your life. Your choice determines what these reactions will be.
Before we go into this, I would like to look at the meaning of the word “choice” based on the Biblical context it was used in. According to the Dictionary of Biblical languages, to choose, is to examine and select what is best for us
1047 I. ×‘Ö¸Ö¼×—Ö·×¨ (bÄÂ·á¸¥ÇŽr): v.; â‰¡ Str 977; TWOT 231â€”1. LN 30.86â€“30.107 (qal) choose, select, desire, prefer, i.e., make a selection between two or more options (Ge 6:2); (nif) preferred, chosen, i.e., pertaining to a preference between two or more options (Jer 8:3+); 2. LN 30.86â€“30.107 (qal) choose, select, desire, prefer, i.e., choose for the purpose of showing special concern for (Dt 7:6); 3. LN 27.34â€“27.47 (qal) test try, probe, examine, assay, i.e., to try and learn the genuineness of an object by examination, and observing reaction to a standard (Isa 48:10), note: others sources translate â€œchoose.â€; 4. LN 65.20â€“65.29 (nif) choice, best, i.e., pertaining to what is the best of a kind or class, implying desirability and acceptance of the object (Pr 8:10, 19; 10:20; 16:16; 21:3; 22:1; Ecc 9:4 v.r.+), note: 2Ch 34:6 v.r., for text, BHS ftn; note: qal pass., see 10342
Choosing implies to examine, test, compare and select one thing. We cannot be given the choice of two things and choose both. That is not a choice. Choice is standing at a fork in the road, you have to make a choice in order to continue on your journey.
Spiritually, we also get to choose. We can choose the default way, the wide road, the world, or narrower, less travelled, road. Each of us is given the choice multiple times in our lives. YHVH is so patient with us, He does not force us to choose, He gently taps us on the shoulder and we can choose to ignore Him or follow Him. I was tapped many times on the shoulder before I was ready to choose. I had come to a point in my life where I just didn’t want to go on. This time, when YHVH tapped me on the shoulder, I chose Him and the change was radical.
He created us with free choice and He wants us to choose Him, but we have the freedom not to. However, if we do decide to choose YHVH, He is to be the only one, we cannot serve Him and other gods. Before Joshua died, He spoke to the people of this choice and told them what he and his house chose.
15 â€œIf it is disagreeable in your sight to serve YHVH, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve YHVH.â€
We are to choose for ourselves today whom we will serve. We cannot serve YHVH and idols. We cannot say we serve Him and continue with pagan practices. YHVH is a holy and jealous Elohim.
19 But Joshua said to the people, â€œYou are not able to serve YHVH, for he is a holy Elohim. He is a jealous Elohim; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. 20 If you forsake YHVH and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.â€
YHVH is a holy Elohim, He requires obedience from us and He is jealous, He does not want to share us if we chose to be His. We need to be sure that we live according to the choice we have made. By our choice to serve YHVH, we have become witnesses against ourselves that we have chosen Him.
22 Joshua said to the people, â€œYou are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves YHVH, to serve Him.â€ And they said, â€œWe are witnesses.â€
Also, if we choose to follow YHVH, we choose to live by His instructions. We cannot continue in our own ways doing what suits us. What kind of witness is that?
YHVH told us which day He wants us to rest and spend time with Him, the seventh day. That is an appointment we have with Him. When we, instead, choose Sunday, or we keep our feast days like Christmas or Easter, we basically tell YHVH, that we will much rather do things our way instead of His. He is the King of the universe and we have the audacity to change His appointed times to suit our theology or lifestyle.
YHVH instructed us to remember the seventh day and keep it holy. He called this a perpetual covenant, everlasting, yet we decided that we would rather follow whoever changed it to another day.
16 â€˜So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.â€™ 17 â€œIt is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever; for in six days YHVH made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased from labor, and was refreshed.â€
You can read more about who changed the Sabbath in the article: The Fourth Commandment â€“ Part 1 â€“ Who Changed It?
The Sabbath is a sign between YHVH and us, forever. Do you realize how important this is? YHVH gave us other appointed times, His feasts, written in Leviticus 23. These too are perpetual, everlasting instructions.
The law has not been done away with!
Many are teaching that the law has been done away with, YHVH’s eternal law. When we do this, we make Him a liar as He said it is everlasting.
19 Elohim is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?
6 â€œFor I, YHVH, do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.
It is said that Y’shua changed all this, yet He tells a different story. Y’shua didn’t change the Sabbath to the first day. He said He didn’t come to abolish the law. Y’shua said that not one tiny stroke shall pass from the law until heaven and earth has passed away.
17 â€œDo not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. 18 â€œFor truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 â€œWhoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
That has not happened yet, the heavens and the earth are still with us. He also said that those who teach that the law has been done away with will be least in the kingdom. Y’shua even taught a higher standard of the commandments. For example, He said that not only are we not to commit adultery, but we are not even to entertain thoughts of lust (Matt 5 :27-28). Just think about this, if Y’shua said He didn’t do away with the law and was teaching a higher standard and was keeping it Himself, did He really take it away? Also, if He abolished the law, then it means that murder, adultery, theft and all those things are acceptable behavior, because those are part of the law YHVH gave. Why are these, for the most part, still kept? This just proves again that Satan is at work here. These commandments that identifies us with YHVH were changed or are ignored.
This teaching that the law has been done away with, is based on flawed theology, yet few question it. We do what we have been taught, we follow the system. This training is enforced in the 10 to 12 years that we spend in school. You are not allowed to question the teacher! That is easy and comfortable. We used to do the same, we never questioned what we have been taught. However, YHVH has opened our eyes to His truth and the time has come for YHVH to open many other people’s eyes. The question is: will you heed that call, or will you choose to do what you have always done?
Who do we serve if we do what our fathers did, worshiping on the wrong man-instituted days? Could it be pleasing to YHVH? What is our witness if we do that? Do we witness that we are children of the living God, or do we do what the world does?
When we choose to serve YHVH, our lives should change. We cannot continue to live the way we have when we were in the world. Why is that? Because we serve a holy Elohim and He said that we are to be holy as He is holy.
Be holy as I am holy
26 â€˜Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I YHVH am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.
We are to live as set apart people, meaning that everything we do should be a reflection of whom we serve. To live a set apart live is to follow YHVH’s instructions, not only choose the ones we like to follow. Many people, even atheists, follow the last six of the ten commandments, but have trouble with the first four. These four commandments are the distinguishing commandments.
The first four commandments
The first commandment, sets apart whom we serve. We serve YHVH the Elohim of Israel.
2 â€œI am YHVH your Elohim, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
The second makes it clear that we are to be pure in our worship of Him, no other gods are allowed.
3 â€œYou shall have no other gods before Me. 4 â€œYou shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. 5 â€œYou shall not worship them or serve them; for I, YHVH your Elohim, am a jealous Elohim, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me, 6 but showing lovingkindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
That means we put YHVH first, and follow His ways, not our own. To serve an idol, can also be to make anything, including ourselves, more important than YHVH. If we do things to only please ourselves, we are practicing idolatry because we put ourselves first.
The third commandment is not to take YHVH’s name in vain.
7 â€œYou shall not take the name of YHVH your Elohim in vain, for YHVH will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain.
We have been taught that this means to use YHVH’s name as a swear word, but it actually means â€œto make His name common.â€ When we do things that bring His name in disrepute, we take His name in vain. His â€œnameâ€ in a Hebriac context also means His authority. This commandment could also be read as telling us not to ignore His authority over us.
Then, the fourth commandment instructs us on which day to rest.
8 â€œRemember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 â€œSix days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of YHVH your Elohim; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. 11 â€œFor in six days YHVH made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore YHVH blessed the sabbath day and made it holy.
YHVH wants us to rest on the seventh day. It was difficult for us to do in the beginning as Saturday, is a shopping day. In the Netherlands, for example, you do not find any open shops on Sunday, so many people do their shopping on Saturday. This is a huge stumbling block for many. However, onceÂ you have made the shift in your mind, it is easy to do and a delight. We have written various articles about the Sabbath, if you want to learn more about the Sabbath, you can read the articles under the category â€œappointed times/Sabbathâ€. Here is a link to the most recent article: The Sabbath, a delight?
From the above, we can see that the first four commandments associate us with YHVH. These four are unique markers of whom we serve. You may wonder why this is so important.
How we choose to live, matters
There are four reasons for making sure that we live set apart lives
YHVH instructed us to live set apart lives, for Him. We are to be holy for He is holy (set apart.)
Obedience leads to purity in our worship of YHVH. We are not pure before YHVH if we worship other gods or live in sin. Sin causes us to be spiritually unclean. Here is more detail about this topic Spiritual uncleanness and shadowsâ€¦
We are also not pure if we incorporate pagan practices into our worship of YHVH like for example: yoga, fortune telling, some alternative healthcare practices and eastern esoteric ideas and practices. All these have become popular. Be aware, don’t just follow the crowd.
What we do, is seen by others. Our actions can glorify YHVH or do the opposite. We are to be a light and we can only be a light if we reflect YHVH’s light. We are to live our lives in such a way that we glorify YHVH’s name. When we do His commandments, we do that. Remember that your real testimony is not what you say, it is what you do! People do what they see you doing. This is why we were called to be a light to the nations. We were not called to be a shofar. They need to see, not hear.
Protects against compromise leading to sin
When we live set apart lives, thus doing what YHVH commanded, we will be less likely to compromise. Because when we compromise, we open the door for sin. If we make His waysÂ our dialy habits, we also make it easier to do and require less willpower. Stronger willpower helps us to overcome temptations in our life a lot easier. We need to ensure that His way is our default choice in everything we do.
We are to choose whom we want to serve. YHVH is holy and want us to live holy lives. He gave us the instruction manual and it is not difficult to do. On the contrary, it is a blessing to serve YHVH by being obedient to Him. We are to be obedient to YHVH out of love for Him. The King and Creator of the universe is our Father, that makes us His royal family. Best is we can make the choice to be part of His family and when we are, we will inherit eternal life through our Savior Y’shua Messiah.
2 Corinthians 7:1
1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of YHVH.
- All quoted passages are from the New American Standard Bible: 1995 Update. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. We have substituted YHVH for LORD and Yâ€™shua for Jesus.
Swanson, J. (1997). Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains : Hebrew (Old Testament) (electronic ed.). Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc.