Life or death? In Jeremiah 21:8 we read, “And to this people you shall say: ‘Thus says the Lord: Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death.’” Now, the choice seems easy to us—choose life, of course! But let’s think about this from the perspective of the Israelites to whom this verse in Jeremiah was originally given.
The Chaldeans (the Babylonians) had besieged the city of Jerusalem. These people were described by God in Habakkuk 1:6 as a “ruthless” people (NIV). So the people inside the city would be looking at these ruthless people gathered outside the city and thinking that if the Chaldeans find them, they will most definitely kill them (or worse). Then God says they have a choice before them: life or death. If they surrender, they will live, but if they try to shelter in the city, they will die.
The Israelites surely looked at the evidence. The Chaldeans, a ruthless, merciless people, were outside the city—leaving would be suicide. Instead, in a city with walls and gates, at least they were safe for a time and had hope of defense! But they needed to remember God’s Word where it had already been prophesied to them that God would bring the Chaldeans to take the city. And now God was telling the people to obey his Word and surrender by going outside the city to the Chaldeans—and if they did so, they would live. But if they sheltered in the city, they would die.
“Don’t look at the evidence and try to interpret it from your fallible, finite human perspective. Listen to the infinite Creator God and trust his Word.”
As you contemplate this from a human perspective, it all seems illogical. Looking at the evidence, it doesn’t make sense to surrender to the ruthless enemy—it makes sense to shelter in the city and be safe. However, God said something very different. Really God was saying, “Don’t look at the evidence and try to interpret it from your fallible, finite human perspective. Listen to the infinite Creator God and trust his Word.”
This reminds me of what happened in the garden of Eden 6,000 years ago. God placed Adam in the perfect garden. But as a test of obedience, he also placed two trees, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, in that garden. Then God said to the first man Adam,
You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die. (Genesis 2:16–17)
God put before Adam the way of life and the way of death. Then God showed Adam he was alone (no animal was made in God’s image), so God made the first woman (Eve) from his side. But the devil, in the form of a serpent, came to Eve (Adam was with her) and tempted them to disobey God and eat the fruit they were told not to eat. We read in Genesis 3:6,
So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.
Eve (and obviously Adam, who was there) looked at the evidence—the fruit. It looked good. They decided to listen to the devil and interpret the evidence themselves, and they determined it was good for them to eat. But they should have remembered what God said and obeyed his word, rejecting the temptation to eat. Because Adam disobeyed, death came into the world.
It’s a reminder for us that we should always listen to God first and judge what others are saying against God’s Word—not the other way around. Today, so many of our Christian leaders/academics listen to what fallible man says about the origin of life and the universe, and they trust man’s interpretation of the evidence. It looks good to them. Then they accept the lies of the devil and reinterpret God’s Word and partake of compromise that undermines Scripture and causes many to reject God’s Word, thus leading to death and the second death—eternal separation from God.
Sadly, we also see an increasing number of Christians and Christian leaders today looking at what the world says about transgenderism, homosexuality, gay “marriage,” and other issues. They’re told to comply and accept these lifestyles or they’re not loving. And, sadly, many accept this interpretation instead of judging such ideas against God’s Word so they can understand that true love is to point out what God calls sin. As a result, many choose the way of death, eternal separation from God, rather than eternal life because of salvation in Christ.
Which will you choose—life or death?
With the constant onslaught of pro-LGBTQ, pro-abortion, pro-evolution, and more anti-biblical messaging that children and young people face today, it’s imperative that we give them the tools and answers to choose truth and life over lies and death.
One way you can help your children to choose truth is with our Explore Days and Explore Camps at the Creation Museum. These days of hands-on science exploration teach kids about the wonderful world God has made and about the amazing Creator who made it all. That’s right—it’s hands-on instruction through the lens of a biblical worldview!
I encourage you to check out our Explore Camps for this summer and our Explore Days scheduled throughout the upcoming year by visiting the Creation Museum website.
Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,
This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.
Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.