“Choose today whom you will serve”
As his last recorded discourse, Joshua recounts once more all that God has done for their people, starting all the way back with Abraham and ending with the present day situation. After many years of conflict, slavery, war, exile, and wandering – during which God did not fail to deliver, I might add – they are now comfortably settled in towns they did not build, eating from fields they did not sow, drinking from vineyards they did not plant. All because of our Lord’s faithfulness and love for our welfare.
Take a moment to look back over the journey God has brought you so far – over victory, difficulty, danger, illness – whatever it may be. Acknowledge the distance you have come and recall His provision among the events of your life. He loves us so much that he will stop at nothing to provide deliverance.
The Israelites had come to a point in their journey where things seemed to be going very well for them. They have just come out of success after success and were now slaves to no one and free. Joshua challenges them next.
“So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped on the far side of The River (the Euphrates) and in Egypt. You, worship God.
“If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.” (Joshua 24:14-15).
Make the decision today about who you choose to serve. God has already proved that he is trustworthy. But just like the Israelites, we live in a place where not everyone worships the same God. Our friends, neighbors, colleagues worship and live for different things. We are not exempt from the temptation of turning our trust towards what is around us.
Our culture upholds ambition, success, pride, fame, money. Our friends who do not believe the same way, live their lives in search of these things. But as followers of Jesus we are called to a different lifestyle.
We are to seek God and imitate His ways, in order to become more holy like Him. Our goals are different. And our focus becomes diluted when we allow our hearts to wander over to the world’s view of success. This is why there are so many self-proclaimed Christians whose actions and attitudes have no resemblance whatsoever to the Gospel.
However, there is hope. Jesus chose only imperfect people to be his disciples. That includes you and me. We are ALL subject to abandon love and take advantage of others. We are ALL able to be seduced and misled by the sparkly promises of YouTube stardom and loads of cash.
Joshua’s warning here is timeless – make your choice. If you want the world’s way of living, chose that and commit. If you would rather worship the Lord, chose that with all your heart and do not waver from it.
Jesus says in Revelation that he would rather we be “hot” or “cold” in regards to our faith, not lukewarm. And take heart – there is time while your heart still beats:
Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me. (Revelation 3:19-20)
Only choose something and stick to it. Otherwise, what’s the point?