Joshua has come to the end of his days and he wants to give one last speech to the Children of Israel before he dies. He calls the tribes up to Shechem along with their elders, priests and judges and reminds them of all that God has done for them since He brought them out of Egypt. When he finishes sketching out the big picture of God’s victories over their enemies and giving the Promised Land to them, he turns to a more personal call to the people to serve God.
“Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness; put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River, and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if you be willing to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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 24:14,15
We are to serve the Lord in sincerity and faithfulness. Israel, unfortunately, would go on to forget these words of Joshua and before very many years were up they would be worshipping the idols and gods of the nations they had conquered. They were neither sincere nor faithful. We also can easily fall into insincerity and lack faithfulness in our relationship with God.
It is easy to drift away from God and put our own desires and wants in front of God’s directive. Notice Joshua made it clear that the Children of Israel were to put away the gods they served while in captivity and instead worship the one true God who delivered them out of captivity. Many of us are still held in captivity by gods that rob our heart of loving God.
Paul tells us in the book of Galatians, “For you were called to freedom, brethren, only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.” Galatians 5:13 He goes on to inform us what some of those traits are that keep us enslaved to sin. ”Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” Galatians 5:19-21
How many people have given up their freedom in Christ by becoming bewitched through greed, selfishness and dissension? Our prisons are full with men and women who couldn’t control their drinking, carousing, jealousy, and anger. As Christians, just like the Children of Israel, there is no place for these works of the flesh in our lives.
Each of us has to make a decision whether we will walk with God or follow the false gods of this world. There is no setting on the fence. We are either for God or we are against Him; there is no neutrality. However, Joshua makes it clear where he stands, “but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” This is one of the classic verses of Scripture. There is no wavering after a long life in service to God and the tribes of Israel. He is still firmly on the side of the Lord and he and his entire household stands firm in their faith and trust in God. How do you and your house stand in regards to God? The Lord is going to return to this world soon and when He does, where will you and I be standing? Regardless of all that we have gone through in life, will our faith still be strong or will we have gone back to the gods of Egypt? May each of us be able to say, “but for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”