Have you ever watched a child stand gazing at a box of chocolates, a frown of concentration wrinkling that space between the eyebrows? “Only one, Jessica. Take any one you want, but you may have only one. Choose.” Shall it be the biggest one, or might that small round one be the favorite peppermint cream? Then again the long one could contain nougat, and with tiny bites that would last longer. The agony of choice.

Have you pored over pictures and maps, imagined weather conditions, and thought about the alternatives for your precious “only one” vacation? Shall it be mountains or seaside? Will you choose fresh air and exercise or travel and sightseeing? The agony of choice.

Then there are the crisis decisions—choosing between two job offers, saying yes or no to a marriage proposal, choosing to live in the country or in the city. Hours, days, weeks, months, years, or a lifetime can be affected by a single choice. This is one of the earliest lessons a child needs to learn: if you choose to go swimming, then you can’t go to the circus; if you choose to go to the playground, then you won’t be here when daddy gets home; if you choose to take that puppy home, then you’ll have to take care of it.

What the Word of God conveys about the far-reaching results of choice should have been ingrained in people from the teaching of Adam and Eve to their children on down through the grandchildren and subsequent generations. That it was not is clear from history. Isaiah speaks God’s warning to people in chapter 31:

Woe unto them that go down to Egypt for help; and stay on horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many: and in horsemen because they are very strong: but they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, neither seek the LORD!… Now the ...
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