Near the end of Joshua’s life, he gathered all the tribes of Israel together in Shechem and told them to make a choice of whom they would serve. He said, “And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15)! There are a good number of lessons that you and I can learn from this statement.

It is very apparent from this verse that God has made us creatures of choice, “choose for yourselves.” This is contrary to what some teach. These false teachers say that we are born in sin totally depraved and cannot of free will choose to serve the Lord. Evidently Joshua didn’t know this or else he wouldn’t have made such a foolish statement! The truth of the matter is this man of God knew exactly what he was teaching. There are many choices that we make each and every day of our lives. Some of these are not very important yet others have eternal consequences. Choosing whom we will serve is vital to our spiritual well-being.

We also see that it is a personal choice, “choose for yourselves.” It matters not what other family members have chosen. Their choice may be to do evil or to give themselves to the accumulation of wealth, etc. and excluded God from their plans. You don’t have to make the same kind of poor decisions. Just because mom and dad are not servants of the Lord does not mean that the child cannot love and serve Him. The flip side of this is, just because mom and dad are obedient will not justify a child’s disobedience. Obeying God is a personal choice that we all must make.

The choice obviously that Joshua wanted the people to make, was to serve the Lord. There were basically two choices placed before them, the false gods that their fathers had served or the God of heaven. The same choices are there for men today. It may be the god of worldly wisdom, the god of wealth or the god of pleasures yet all must choose between these gods and the Lord. The sad fact is that the majority of the people in the world in which we live have chosen the gods of this world. Satan has really blinded their minds to the truth.

One can’t help but notice the impact that this man of God had on his family, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Oh that every husband and father would show such interest in pleasing God and influencing his family to serve the Lord like this man did! Paul says that the husband is the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23) and that he is to love and care for her (Ephesians 5:25, 28, 29). He is the one that is placed in a leadership role and should the guide the family in spiritual matters. If there are children in the home, the apostle said, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). Is there anything greater that a man can do for his family?

In verse 14, Joshua tells them how they are to serve the Lord. “Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, (Emp. Mine) and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord!” (Joshua 24:14). The word “sincerity” is defined as “complete, perfect; whole-minded, upright, blameless” (Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies). Brown- Driver- Briggs- Gesenius Hebrew And English Lexicon define the word “truth” as, “faithfulness, reliableness: of men; faithful man; walk in faithfulness, faithfully.” This tells us that God expects us to serve Him with our whole heart in total submission. Partial obedience is not sufficient. Moreover, we must be a people on whom He can depend and are faithful in executing His will. We should love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul and mind (Matthew 22:37).

Whom will you serve the God of heaven or the gods of this world? The choice is yours to make. I certainly hope that you will obey the Lord and that you will choose to do so even this very day.

By Jim Mickells

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