Joshua 24: Who Will You Serve?
Read: Joshua 24
Read: Joshua 24: Joshua is old, and is about to die in chapter 24. He had spent his life witnessing the wonders of God in Egypt, Sinai, and the conquest of Israel – the fulfillment of the promises of God that he had given to the forefathers of the Israelites. Joshua recounts the promises and providences of God in the first 13 verses, then he launches in to an ultimatum for Israel: “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15). They had the option to either serve the God that brought them out of Egypt and had given them the land of Canaan, or choose to serve a foreign god. The people of Israel affirm in solemnly in Joshua 24:24 that they will serve God.
While Israel is affirming a commitment to follow God, Joshua reckons that they cannot serve God because he is holy and jealous. In other words, God does not tolerate sin nor does he tolerate the worship of other gods. Joshua makes a stone tablet to remind them of this day so that they will testify against themselves whenever they do turn away from God. The book of Joshua does note that Israel did serve God while Joshua lived, despite a few occasions where they did mess up (Joshua 24:31).
The book of Joshua is the story of a courageous and obedient group of people following a courageous and obedient man, and is packed with timeless truths about obedience and the blessings of obedience, and these timeless truths are reflected in the New Testament as well, even the reckoning to choose what one will serve. Jesus says that man cannot serve two masters, and in particular mentions God and wealth (Matthew 6:19-24). The issue here had to do with where one’s heart was focused. Jesus encouraged people to store up treasure in heaven rather than on earth and to indulge one’s eyes on things that corrupt the body, rather that which fills the body with “light”, that is good things. Christians today have to choose for themselves whom they will serve: the Lord or something else. God hasn’t changed. He’s still a jealous and holy. And the choice is still clear because of what the Lord has done for those who believe and received the blessings of salvation and have become joint heirs with Christ in the Kingdom of God (Romans 8:17)!
Lord, I choose to serve you!