Joshua 24:14-28 (ESV)
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.” But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD.” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the LORD, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” He said, “Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD, the God of Israel.” And the people said to Joshua, “The LORD our God we will serve, and his voice we will obey.” So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and put in place statutes and rules for them at Shechem. And Joshua wrote these words in the Book of the Law of God. And he took a large stone and set it up there under the terebinth that was by the sanctuary of the LORD. And Joshua said to all the people, “Behold, this stone shall be a witness against us, for it has heard all the words of the LORD that he spoke to us. Therefore it shall be a witness against you, lest you deal falsely with your God.” So Joshua sent the people away, every man to his inheritance.
Joshua, one of only two men that survived the entire 40 years of wandering in the desert to go in and take possession of the Promised Land, knew the hearts of the people. So he challenged them to remain faithful, knowing that most likely they would not. But they did, for a time. At least for a generation or so, they remained faithful.
We too, must choose whom we will serve. Will we worship God, or follow our straying hearts after the gods of this world: pleasure; money; self; etc.
When the Israelites were first in the desert, Moses sent twelve spies in to look at the Promised Land and see what it would be like, and to encourage them. Ten of the twelve came back scared because there were giants in the land. The fruit that grew there was huge, and they liked that, but only Joshua and Caleb believed that the Israelites could go in there and take the land as God promised. Joshua and Caleb believed that if God said they would take it, they would take it. All twelve had seen the miracles that God wrought bringing them out of Egypt, but ten of them were now scared.
How quickly we humans forget the wonders that God works for us. If we are His, He will care for us. He does so many things for us, we begin to think that they just happen. The Scriptures remind us that, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:17 (ESV)
So Choose today whom you will serve. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
by Virgil Stripes
photo: Valley of Armageddon from Mt. Tabor (Mount of Transfiguration)