Choose you this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
Isn’t it so difficult when you have to choose between 2 good things, or between 2 things when you know one is better for you, but the other one looks so much more enticing?
Kel still tells me that I scarred her for life in making decisions! When she was a little girl and we went shopping for clothes or toys, or to a restaurant, I would ask her to choose. She would make her choice, and I would say, “Now, think about it. This other one might be better because. .”
Then she would pick a different one, and again, I would tell her the benefits of the first one. I wanted her to be satisfied with her choice and not regret that she hadn’t taken the other. I thought I was trying to teach her how to make wise decisions and really balance them out and choose which would be better for her. Sometimes such consideration is wise, but in this case, I really overdid it! What child could handle such over analysis!
Sometimes in life, you just have to choose, and some decisions are much more important than others. The one in this verse is such an example. It was true in Joshua’s day and just as true for us.
Remember Joshua? He was the leader God chose to take over for Moses when the Israelites were being led into the Promised Land. God forbid Moses from doing so after all the time of leading them through the desert for 40 years, because Moses had disobeyed God. You also might remember that Joshua was in charge of the successful crossing of the Jordon River with the ark of the covenant – as the waters divided, they crossed, and landed on the banks of the Jordon. Then he led God’s people to conquer the land of Jericho as they encircled it with trumpets, and “the walls came tumbling down” (Such good stories from our childhood Sunday School classes!)
This verse above is found at the end of the book of Joshua before his death. He has been a strong leader, but he is nearing the end of his life. He gathers the people together and tells them that he’s not going to be with them much longer, and it’s up to them how they continue without him. They must make a choice – they must choose between the pagan gods they left behind in Egypt, or they must choose to continue following and serving the God who has brought them to this Promised Land.
He is asking them to choose to serve God with obedience and a worshipful heart. He is asking them to love Him as God has loved them, and to fix their hearts upon Him with gratitude and hope for their futures. Joshua in this verse reminds them that he and his family will continue to serve the one true God. The people replied, “We too will serve the Lord, because He is our God.” And Joshua made a covenant between God and the people so they would never forget.
God gave us free will to choose. He will never force Himself upon us. We all have to eventually make the choice – whether we are going to choose God, the One who loves us and gives us hope for the future, the One who can fill our hearts with His presence and grace. We must choose if we are going to believe upon His Son, and receive the gift of eternal life, and live our lives devoted to Him. We must decide if we will let His Spirit live in us to empower us to do things that we could never do on our own, such as love one another, live with joy, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control – to be the person God would have us be. A life lived for Him and with Him.
Or we can choose the darkness of this world with all the things that can take our hearts away from God – the ordinary, busy things that keep us from spending time with Him, and the pleasures that seem to lure us away from His goodness. Scripture tells us that none of these things will really bring us happiness and we will be constantly looking for something else to replace it.
This is one decision that needs to be weighed carefully and done so with all the wisdom and knowledge we can obtain. For the end result is too important! But just like the Israelites who often failed in their commitment with God, we too can fall short of our promises to Him.
Yet, He will always remain faithful to us if we seek His presence. On this day and every day may we choose Him. How grateful I am for the peace and joy His presence brings. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Our Heavenly Father, we are so thankful for your love, grace, and your presence in our lives. How humbling it is to know that the Creator of the Universe longs to know and love us. We pray for those whose hearts have not been opened to you. May they find their way to your saving grace. Amen
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