"If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."Joshua 24:15(NASB)
The most important life-choice anyone will ever make is their response to this fundamental question, "choose today, Who you are going to serve." God or Satan, the spirit or the flesh, light or darkness, life or death, faith or fear, the truth or the lie... for its answer has both temporal considerations and eternal consequences.
Belief in the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary's tree dictates life or death for the sinner. But for the man saved by grace, this foundational question deserves equally rigorous examination. This choice challenges the believer to examine himself to see if he is in the faith and trusting God - to see if he is walking in spirit and in truth and if Christ is all in all.
"Choose you this day whom you will serve," was a question that the aging Joshua was constrained to ask the Israelites in his farewell speech. He had just reminded the assembled company of the history of the nation, from the time God took Abraham from the region beyond the Euphrates River, led him throughout the land of Canaan, and multiplied his descendants, to their conquest in the promised land, when the Lord gave Israel a land for which they did not labour, cities which they did not build, and provision from vineyards and olive groves they did not plant.
Although Israel had not fallen into the sort of apostasy that occurred later in her history, they fluctuated between trusting the Lord and trusting in their own strength. There were times when they conquered the promised land through following the Word of the Lord, and other times when they disobeyed His instructions and failed to defeat their enemies.
There were times when they served the Lord with gladness of heart and much rejoicing and other occasions when they followed after the lifeless gods of the pagan nations, and Joshua challenged the assembled nation to make a choice, "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD," he declared boldly, "choose for yourselves today whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Joshua made it clear that there can be no compromise in our religion or spiritual affiliation. The Lord will not share His glory with another and He had already made this clear to His people in the very first command He gave to them, "I am the Lord your God, Who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the place of slavery. You shall have no other gods before Me."
Joshua was not really offering the Israelites a choice between serving God and following the lifeless gods of the Amorites, in whose land they were living. Having carefully reiterated the entire history of the nation in their ears, and having reminded them how God had brought them out of Egyptian bondage, fought for them in many battles, on both sides of the Jordan and provided all they needed to sustain life and godliness, Joshua simply stated the obvious choice, they should all make by setting an example "...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
The commitment Joshua made before the company, was designed to encourage everyone to make the right choice - to consciously reject the false gods of the Amorites and commit to obeying and trusting the true and living God of Israel. The people were obviously impacted by Joshua's impassioned plea, because they replied as one man, "We will certainly not abandon the Lord to worship other gods."
At that time the people committed to serving the Lord and renounced the false gods that were already in the land, which is the only acceptable choice for God's people. However Scripture reveals, they sometimes tried to do it in their OWN strength. Israel made the right choice, but it is only as we trust Him and rely on His sufficient grace through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, that we can become victorious.
Choosing the Lord should never be viewed as a comfortable seat in a pew nor membership to an exclusive worldwide club. Choosing the Lord should never be postponed until tomorrow, nor hidden behind a mask of compromise, with this antithetical world-system. Choosing to follow the Lord is the most important decision of the will that every man must make one day. "Take up your cross daily," Jesus told us, "and follow Me."
The far-reaching significance of this choice cannot be measured, for it requires the abandonment of myself, my personal rights, my cherished interests, and my own self-will, for His plans, His rights, His interests, and His will. We are to identify with Christ in His personal Gethsemane and plead as He did, "Father -Thy will not mine be done."
The resolve to serve the Lord will inevitably cause believers to swim against the tide of popular opinion as our heart-focusses on Christ and gazes steadily upon Him and His ultimate goal, which is that Christ is all - and all in all.
And remember, the man or woman, mother or father, boy or girl who is prepared to lead in this important life-choice, will most likely be one that will influence those in their own 'household', in this eternally significant decision, and will be able to say with Joshua, "as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
Loving Father, I begin to understand more and more that I can't be divided in my loyalty, for You alone have the words of eternal life. Today, Lord, I choose to go deeper into You, for I desire to serve You with my whole heart. Keep me and my family serving You in humility of heart and help us to keep to walking in Your light and truth every moment of the day, and looking to Jesus, in Whose name I pray, AMEN.