Brian is a Catholic Christian, who strives to uphold the Word of God and integrates it in his writing deliberately.
Joshua 24:15 says, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
How many of you are familiar with the verse above? If you have read the Book of Joshua, you would not miss this scripture that is detailed at the very end of the chapter. Some Christians will have this particular scripture adorned in their home as a proclamation of faith to God. Apart from being a statement of faith, this verse serves as an affirmation of a family’s commitment and covenant to serve the Lord.
The most significant life decision anyone will ever make is their response to the question of who they will worship and serve. You will have to choose today who you will serve. Do you choose to serve God or fake idols, and be very careful with your answer as it will have both temporal considerations and eternal consequences.
In the book of Joshua 24:15, Joshua was depicted as using his wisdom and love for God to set an example. The scripture explains that Joshua was determined to serve God no matter what anyone else thought, regardless of the opinion of others.
If you are unfamiliar with who Joshua is, perhaps understanding a little of his background would help paint a better picture. If you take a look at the Book of Exodus, Numbers, and Joshua, it explains that Joshua was Moses’ assistant. Joshua was one of the twelve spies of Israel that Moses sent to Canaan to explore the land. Upon Moses’ death, Joshua was chosen by God to lead the Israelite tribe to conquer the land of Canaan.
Why did God choose Joshua over the other spies who were sent on the same mission? The simple answer to this was because Joshua proved he has faith in the Lord. It was a long and challenging journey that Joshua had to go through before leading the Israelites to the Promise Land. Along the way to victory, Joshua and the Israelites had to wander in the wilderness for about 38 years. When the time came, Joshua who has aged a lot, still managed to successfully lead the Israelites to the holy grounds by the grace of God. Given the timeline, Joshua was estimated to have step foot into Canaan between the ages of 68 – 78, which was quite a feat for any person of that age.
As Joshua was preparing to leave the world at a ripe age of 110 after accomplishing the purpose that God had for him, he gathered the people and delivered his farewell sermon to the crowd. At that time, he was thinking about the spiritual legacy that he was going to leave for generations to come.
Right before Joshua proclaimed this line “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”, he urged the people to first know of the ways that our God have first served us. Joshua gave the people a brief walk-through of the journey that led them to this victory. Although it may seem as if Joshua was the one doing all the talking, but in actuality, it was God that was giving the people a history lesson through Joshua.
In Joshua 24:12, God says, “I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you - also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow.” Subsequently, in verse 13 read “So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.”
Joshua briefly related the history of God’s people all the way back to the time when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates. Abraham’s father, Terah, and his son by the name of Nahor worshipped false gods. God directed Abraham’s path to Canaan and gave him Isaac. God sent Moses and Aaron to deliver His people from Egypt and used plagues to cause their release. God punished the Pharaoh as he refused to set the Israelites free; He sent plagues on Egypt and one of them was called the Plague of Blood.
As Pharaoh pursued the Israelites with chariots, God clogged the chariot wheels with waves of water from the Red Sea and destroyed the Pharaoh’s soldiers. During the journey of conquering the Promised Land, God was with the Israelites when they were roaming around in the wilderness. He kept them safe and eventually gave them the Promise Land. The people of Israelite did not win the land by their own power but with the hand of God. They reaped the harvest of crops that they did not sow. Thus, the summary here is basically this; God is saying, “Look what I have done for you. You did not deserve all this. You cannot take credit for it.”
What has God done for us in His grace that we could never take credit for? In 1 John 4:19, the Bible says, “We love because He first loved us.” In this verse, John is pointing out that all humans in their sinful nature are incapable of either abiding in His presence or even offering Him works of righteousness that He will find acceptable (Isaiah 64:6). But instead, God gave His dear Son, Jesus Christ, as the once-and-for-all atoning sacrifice for our sins. How much credit can we take for the fact that Jesus willingly offered His life on the cross to go into battle for our immortal souls to redeem us?
We certainly cannot claim credit for anything as it is the Lord that did everything in His power for us, while we did nothing, but bathe in His grace. Joshua may have led the children of Israel across the Jordan river into the Promised Land of Canaan, but Jesus Christ led us across the threshold of death into the promised Land of Heaven. Because God loves us first, Heaven now awaits our inheritance, freely given by God’s grace, and bought with the precious blood of His own Son, Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice on the Cross of Calvary.
Through the holy baptism, our real citizenship is established in Heaven. Do we dismiss this fact and throw it all away because it sometimes seems too difficult, or too inconvenient, or too embarrassing to serve the Lord in this modern world that no longer has a sense of shame and offers endless substitutes for the worship of the one, true God? Therefore, Joshua called out to the people as stated in Joshua 24: 14, “Now fear the Lord and serve Him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.”
Generally, among every culture within every family, there will be idols somehow. There are false gods that we are tempted to trust or obey or make sacrifices for because they offer us false promises of happiness, security, or an easier path through life. Let us be honest with ourselves; are there idols in our home? Are there false gods in our family that may have impacted our relationship with God? I urge you, on this very day, to choose for yourselves whom that you will serve because your choice today will have a long-term effect on your life as well as the life of your family and descendants.
There was a part in the Bible in which Jesus said that money or affluence can easily manifest as a false god that we look to for security and happiness. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus says, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
Apart from the idols or values that may affect our devotion to God, another form of distraction that may sway our focus from the Lord would be technology. Our dependence on it may even surpass our reliance on prayer and God himself. Naturally, some may object to this point and state that technology is a form of blessing from God. To verify this, will it be safe to say that our use of technology gives glory to God in any way somewhat, or is this actually the devil’s tool of destroying our relationship with Him?
Take some time to reflect on this thought; is your use of technology helping you grow closer to your family so that you have more opportunities to spend time together and communicate about the important things in life, or is it distracting you from important conversations about Jesus and driving you and your family members farther apart?
Just like the video created by NasDaily, he depicted how technology in the form of social media has corrupted the minds of the masses. In some instances, the contents uploaded on social media have successfully lowered the integrity and morality of the younger generation through the portrayal of degrading images and messages.
As such, we must define the path we so choose to follow. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Having to choose means you are going to need to draw some lines in your home and in your life - to say no to certain things, to certain people, to certain pursuits, and to certain patterns of behaviour that can become false gods if we give in to them. Giving in to these and relenting may eventually cause these factors or influences to have total control over us.
Let us take some time to reflect on the aspects of our life that are maybe causing our relationships to suffer; it could perhaps be our vertical relationship with God or the horizontal relationships with the people at home and within your social circle? Ultimately, we will need to make a conscious decision to do what is best and right by God.
Most of us are very lucky to be able to make choices in life. We are given the freedom to decide on the way to live and this is certainly a blessing. God himself does not limit us from making choices and He never forces us to do anything that is against our free will. However, it must be made known that we shall be accountable for the consequences that may arise from the choices we have made.
Every choice will have an impact in the long term and will be the determinant as to how our life will turn out. Some choices can have long-lasting spiritual ramifications and they can impact our legacy for generations. As such, this will require us to draw some lines at times. Do you choose to prioritise one activity over the other which means skipping church again? If so, what is that saying about the priority level you are giving to God? Do you choose to hang out with people that will bring you closer to God or instead mingle with influences that will make you stray, knowing that you will be tempted to give in and possibly do things that harm your body, spirit, and soul?
For parents, as head of the household, drawing the lines will be one of the primary roles you need to play, until your child is mature enough to make decisions on their own. You are definitely not going to let your kids simply choose any video games to play, read any types of books, simply browse any websites on the Internet, or watch any videos on YouTube. You may even want to keep a close eye on the friends that they make. Do you not get your kids in line by having heart-to-heart discussions and conversations about what is God-pleasing and good?
I believe that you will not allow your kids to do whatever they fancy and oblige to their whims. If you do, you are not teaching them biblical discernment. Biblical discernment is the learned skill of drawing lines on certain aspects of life, guided by God’s Word, in distinguishing right from wrong and good from evil. Children will not learn about biblical discernment from the internet, media, or even in any educational institution. Instead, it is the duty and obligation of parents to teach their children where to draw the line, and that will entail leading by example.
In light of all that God has done for us, He wants us to make a choice today - a choice to serve Him because He has given us the proof of His everlasting love. This is what God’s Word is teaching us to do. The good news is we can do it by God’s grace and because it is for our eternal good. Even if you are just about to begin today to commit to serving God, it is never too late to start. Serve the Lord with all your heart. Draw some lines and practise discernment to be able to live life to the fullest, and in a way that will please Him.
In Proverbs 21:30, the Bible says, “There is no wisdom, no insight, no plan that can succeed against the Lord.” Real success comes not by our own effort, but by Christ’s cross. Draw some lines in your home life today to serve the Lord for He has great plans for you that you would never imagine. Trust in Him as the Lord is in control of your life. He knows how to get you to where you are supposed to be in life.
Just remember this - God is going ahead of you. Quit worrying and quit losing sleep. Put down your sword and shield, God is going to give you what you seek, as long as you believe and trust in Him. He will drive out the inhabitants that are on your land and give you what is yours, as He did for the Israelites.
A Prayer for Today
Father Lord, thank You that before I even call, You answer me, and before I even pray, You already have the answers lined up. Thank You that You go before me and work in ways that I cannot even begin to imagine. I believe I will come upon the land of Your unprecedented favor.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.