Choose Joy Part 2 A Choice
But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the lord, choose for yourselves today who you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
We find at the end of the book of Joshua, a farewell message and Israel’s renewal of their covenant with God. Joshua had led God’s people into the Holy Land and recorded the victories and trials in the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel concerning the land of Canaan. God’s people had witnessed many things, slavery in Egypt, the first Passover, crossing the Red Sea, a wilderness journey, crossing the Jordon River, the miraculous fall of Jericho, defeat at Ai, and finally God’s promise fulfilled with the distribution of land to the 12 tribes. The people may not have always understood the serious obedience God required but Joshua did. He had been Moses’ assistant and was there when God gave Israel the Ten Commandments. Joshua had emerged from Moses’ teaching with knowledge of the difficulties of leading the people. But he had also emerged as a man intensely devoted to God. He had a strong desire to be in God’s presence, he was obedient, prayerful, loyal and most of all, a man of faith. Joshua’s experiences had taught him God’s faithfulness, God’s holiness, and salvation through God alone. Joshua knew what knowledge he had must be passed down to the generations and he knew that it could only be received in one way, a choice.
A choice is deliberate. A choice is intentional. A choice is the result of a plan. A choice is the desire of a heart. Ultimately, a choice is personal. It can only be made by you. Joshua knew his time as leader was ending and the personal choice of each one under the sound of his voice mattered. The people cried out that they would serve the Lord, but Joshua pressed for stronger commitment, and they cried out again that they would serve the Lord. I believe Joshua’s heart was burdened for the people and the choices they were truly making in their hearts. Finally in chapter 24 verse 22, Joshua said, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen for yourselves the Lord to serve Him.” In verse 23, Joshua admonishes, “Now then, do away with the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.”
This choice to put away anything that is not of God and turn wholly to Him is the only thing that can bring and sustain joy. The same cry is answered today in our hearts. What choice will you make?
Pastor Julia Scott