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Immerse: Beginnings, Week 16

If… Then…

I remember a long, long, LOOOONG time ago when I was in Jr. High (for you younger readers, that’s what they used to call “middle school”), I took a class called Intro to Computers.  It was a highly sought after class because you got to work on the “state of the art” Radio Shack TRS-80 to learn basic computer programming skills.  One of those skills was to write simple programs in the BASIC computer language.  In that programming, there was a command called, “If/Then,” where you could ask a series of questions and then give options based on the answer. For example, you could ask, “Is your favorite color red?” and the “if/then” command would help with the next response.  If the answer was “yes,” then you could program a certain response, like, “That’s cool!” Or if the answer was anything but red, you could program the response of, “Ohh, that’s too bad! I like red.” It was really simple, but quite fun to work out some of the complications that came up with the variety of answers people could respond with to the main questions. When I think about it now in comparison to the level of technological advancement we’ve gone through, I can’t help but laugh.

As we come to the end of our journey through the Pentateuch, we can see this same simple theme of “If/then” statements.  Looking back at Genesis 2 (page 5), we see the initial “if/then” phrase uttered by God (okay, technically, there is no “then” but it’s assumed) in the Garden.  He says to Adam, regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”  Pretty simple – don’t eat fruit and live; eat fruit and die.  Except that it wasn’t so simple.  I think you know where that story goes.

Now fast forward to the end of our time in the Pentateuch, the final chapters of the book of Deuteronomy.  Moses is about to die, and he is giving all these last commands, challenges and reminders to the people of Israel.  This nation has come so far – from a dream in the sky for Abraham, to the border of the Promised Land on the verge of conquering it – and yet it still comes down to the same type of requirement – if/then.

Deuteronomy 28 contains several of the many “if/then” statements issued by Moses regarding the responsibility of the nation of Israel to obey God.  One example is this: “If you obey the commands of the Lord your God and walk in his ways, the Lord will establish you as his holy people as he swore he would do. Then all the nations of the world will see that you are a people claimed by the Lord, and they will stand in awe of you” (page 312).

Once again, it’s as easy as “if/then.”  If you do this, then God will do this. If you obey, then He will bless. If you follow, then He will protect. If you listen, then He will exalt you.  If/then… If/then… If/then….

Seems so easy, and yet we all know, too, how that story went.

Now fast forward to 2021.  We, too, have some “if/then” statements the Lord has put before us. They are all over the New Testament. The big question is, will you follow through with them? Because if you do, then it will be good for you.

Thanks for joining us on this journey. I hope your faith has been challenged and encouraged by the testimonies of God and His people from so long ago.  I am reminded of the consistency of God and His character and how He has never changed, nor will He ever! If we obey Him, then He will save us!

Pete Ramsey