“See, I have set before you today life and good, and death and evil,” Debarim 30:15 (ISR)
Set before you – The poets of Babylon understood what it was like to live in a world where the gods were silent.
“Although I am constantly looking for help, no one takes me by the hand.
When I weep, they do not come to my side.
I utter laments, but no one hears me;
I am troubled; I am overwhelmed; I cannot see.”
Babylon’s poets would have agreed with the Greek Theognis: “Not to be born is the best of all things for those who live on earth, and not to gaze on the radiance of the keen-burning sun. Once born, however, it is best to pass with all possible speed through Hades’ gates and to lie beneath a great heap of earth.”
Such is the universal fate of the man without revelation. No ritual, no program, no plan, no provision, no rationalization can tell such a man what he must do in this world to be ready for the next. And his denial of the intuitive need for redemption only exacerbates his predicament. Without revelation, life is a blind crap-shoot.
The problem, of course, is that modern man has only substituted accident for lack of direction. Modern man is no better off than his Babylonian or Greek ancestors. He is still blind in the world.
Only one ancient religion was based on a prophetic legacy of revealed, public truth. Only one ancient religion provided details about a code of conduct pleasing to God. Only one ancient religion revealed the answer to the question, “What does God demand of me?” For 6000 years men have been searching for the answer everywhere but in the place of the prophets of Israel. They continue today. Distracting affluence, perilous power and anemic endorphins cannot dismantle 6000 years of longing. But God can.
Amazingly, God answers the plaintive cry of the blind Babylonian. But since modern man has decided he can describe the entire fabric of existence, the answer God provided thousands of years ago remains unsuitable. Even modern religion has deflected God’s original answer. “Why should we listen to those ancient instructions? All those rules don’t apply to us anymore.” We don’t need God’s answer. Just look around and see how wonderfully compassionate we all are, how much we have matured, how much we have cared for this earth. Blindness is certainly a contagious disease. Moses says, “Natati le-faneha” (I have set before you). God guides those with eyes to see. The rest are poets in Greece and Babylon.
Topical Index: natati, set before you, blind, Torah, Deuteronomy 30:15
 John Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, p. 145.