Monday, November 21

Choose This Day

Read Joshua 24:2-22

At the end of Joshua's life, he had an important message to impart to the Israelite people: choose whom you will serve. God led his people from slavery in Egypt to safety through walls of water and drowned those who pursued. After living in the wilderness for many years, they battled nation and after nation, defeating them by God's power each time. Finally they were in the promised land and Joshua tells them to remember everything they have been through and choose...

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.

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.”

 Joshua 24:14-15

Life is full of choices. Whom will you serve? We can also say, choose this day whom you will love. Choose this day how you will spend you time. Choose this day what you say. Choose this day where you will go, what you will see, what you will do. These are the weighty decisions that make up our lives here on earth.

For the Israelites in ancient times it was either God or a false god. The big "G" verses the little "g." I always wondered about those silly folks building up false gods out of gold or wood when their Deliverer was jealously waiting for their attention.

We don't have gods of wood or gold, but we do make gods. Anything we serve can be a god. Think about this today, where does your attention stray to? What do you crave? What is your obsession? Where is the majority of your time going? This is your god with a little "g."

With little contemplation, the Israelites went on to say unanimously, "We will serve the LORD!" This was the right answer and I'm sure the crowd was cheering -- the noise of the jubilant crowd was deafening. 

Joshua's face must have remained stoic, realizing they still (after all the wandering and God providing) didn't get the seriousness of this choice. It wasn't a Sunday School answer that could be spoken and then lived differently. 

I can see him shaking his head in doubt. He said,"You can't do it; you're not able to worship God. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won't put up with your fooling around and sinning. When you leave God and take up the worship of foreign gods, he'll turn right around and come down on you hard. He'll put an end to you—and after all the good he has done for you!" (The Message 24:19-20).

Again and again the people cried, "We will serve the Lord!" Joshua basically said "prove it" when he told them to throw away all their false gods and idols. They did it and something serious was needed to commemorate their choice.

Joshua read them the laws and the decrees, he wrote in the Book of the Law about their decision, and then he took a large stone placed it to symbolize this moment when they chose to serve the Lord. It was situated under an oak near the holy place of the Lord. I imagine the people passed that way daily and it was a tangible reminder.

To choose to serve the Lord with our life isn't something we should take lightly either. Our God is jealous and "He won't put up with our fooling around" (verse 19). I love the way the Message puts it bluntly. With Jesus, we live with his forgiveness, but purposeful wrong choices and worship of false gods is sin.

We are like the Israelites in many ways. God has provided, he's let us wander at times, He has defeated enemies, and He is always there waiting for our attention. Will we make the monumental decision to choose this day whom we will serve? Write it down and commemorate your choice. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!

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