Bible Reference: Joshua 24:14-15
Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)
Bible Text: 14 “Now then,” Joshua continued, “honor the Lord and serve him sincerely and faithfully. Get rid of the gods which your ancestors used to worship in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve only the Lord. 15 If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshiped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord.”
OBSERVATION: In Joshua’s last discourse with the Israelite leaders, he brought them together and reminded them of where they came from (including their forefathers) and how they got to their current location in the position they were now in as land owners. He reminded them that it was only the love and power of God that brought them through the overwhelming challenges along their way. However, they still had a choice about whom they will worship/serve. We have the same choice to make, so let us meditate on the challenge given by Joshua and see how God might use it to help direct us today.
APPLICATION: About a year ago, on the anniversary of our church beginnings, we were reminded of how God moved mightily in so many ways as His people prayed, gave and worked together to build a sanctuary for worship to our King. Our hearths were stirred to consider how awesome it would be to see God do it again, now that we have run out of space at our current location. In our Scripture, Joshua reminded the Israelite leaders of all that God had brought them, and their ancestors through, in order to arrive at the current land of milk and honey. He showed them clearly that it was only because of God. Having heard about, and in many cases witnessed the miraculous hand of God, Joshua challenged them to now stop ‘riding the fence’ and make a decision today on whom they will choose to recognize as God of their lives and sincerely worship, for as long as they live. Does this remind you of a recent sermon you may have heard at your church? Or have you not heard of a good reason yet to attend church? Joshua made a few suggestions to the leaders on who they might choose as alternate gods, you know, the same types of options we still have available to us today, at least for a short while longer. Friend, perhaps you grew up in a home where your parents attended church, because it was their go-to place for worshipping corporately, the God that they served everyday, and that they promoted in your home. In your early teen years the cool kids from the neighborhood pulled you in to their group and you found satisfaction in the companionship, the fun and games and the things they were teaching you. Looking for them each day after school soon reminded you of your parents and their go-to place, for your friends became your go-to place. Until suddenly one day your precious mom became deathly sick, and your friends were way too busy to help you care for your mom, or give you any type of assurance about her recovery. Your ‘god’ seemed to be failing you. What on earth was happening to you? Friends, based on what Joshua told his leaders, I believe that we have a similar decision to make in our lives TODAY. Are we prepared to make a firm commitment to the god that we will follow/serve? If we choose the god of the ‘hood’ like our friend, we will find ourselves wanting, because they are incapable of fulfilling our needs like the God who created us and knows us intimately. But please don’t overlook the warning that Joshua gave, don’t say ‘yes’ to my God unless you are ready and serious about serving Him, because He could either bless you, or He could destroy you like the Amorites, for your pretense. Please allow me to guide you in this, by boldly repeating what Joshua said: regardless of what you decide, my family and I will serve the Lord and worship Him until He returns to take us home. Dear friends, my desire is that you would decide to do the same. If you don’t know my Lord intimately, please read my Footnote and be sure to follow the hyperlinks.
PRAYER: Precious Lord, You have been so good to us, yet we take Your blessings and Your gifts for granted. Please forgive us as we bow before you humbly today. Lord, we know that there is no one else like You, and that You deserve our faithfulness and total dedication. As encouraged by Your servant Joshua, may we become a people committed to serving and worshipping only You for ever and for ever. AMEN!