“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 Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve…”
Do you remember bargaining with your mom/dad/teacher or grandparent as a kid? (Or maybe you are still in the habit of doing this.) “Yes. I will eat my vegetables IF I can get dessert AND go to bed an hour later, tonight. OK. I will do my homework right now IF I can go to a movie with my friends after.” My mom always came back with this answer, “No. You have a choice, here. Either do what I said or you’re grounded.” Amazingly, my vegetables disappeared and my homework was done in record time.
Now, let’s talk a little about what is going on in these verses. Joshua was a leader God had appointed to guide His people- known as the Israelites. They had been through a lot together, and in Joshua 24:1-13 he reminds them of all the ways God had come through for them when things seemed difficult or impossible. And so, with that in mind, he makes a challenge to them. There were a lot of other gods that had made their way into the lives of the Israelites. There were things that they had chosen to serve IN ADDITION TO God. Joshua is charging them to make a choice. Either serve the God who has been faithful to you all of these years, or don’t. It is not God AND…it is God OR. There is no in between. There is no bargaining. There is one or the other.
Just like my mom, Joshua knew what was best for the people. He knew that they would never be truly satisfied in anything other than God the Father. Even further than that, serving anything other than God would only end in punishment (Joshua 24:20). Numerous times, the people had tried to satisfy themselves with other things, and it never worked. Back then it was idols of gold, stone, or wood. Today it takes the form of relationships, TV shows, friends, or bad habits. You can make anything an idol. It is as easy as asking yourself this, ‘What do I love more than Jesus?”
Starting today, why not choose something different? CHOOSE THIS DAY whom you will serve. Set the tone for the rest of your week. And tomorrow when you wake up, choose again. Every day you have a choice to make. Only Jesus will satisfy you. And, may I make a suggestion? Don’t just do as the “most” do. Don’t just do what you see everyone else around you doing. Decide for yourself. Choose.
“Then put away the foreign gods that are among you, and incline your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.”