Whom Will You Serve ?

Joshua 24:1-28

Joshua 24:7b “You saw with your own eyes what I did to the Egyptians. Then you lived in the desert for a long time.”

Joshua was a young boy in Egypt. I don’t know if he remembered all of the plagues. Even I don’t remember everything that happened in my childhood.  But Joshua did remember the parting of the Red Sea and the water engulfing the Egyptian troops and GOD leading his people out into the desert.

In chapter 24, Joshua is summing up the wonderful things GOD did to him and his people Israel. Joshua says about the people of Israel in verse 12 “You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I (GOD) gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; you live in them and eat from the vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.”

My family immigrated to the United States in 1957. I don’t remember the two week boat ride on the Mas Dam, but I do remember trips into the mountains… all seven of us and a dog in a VW Beetle singing, laughing, and praying. Me and Freckles in the back cubbie hole. Mieke, Tom, and Mike in the back seat and Mom, Dad, and my baby sister Lucia in the front seats.

My parents would stop along the way and we would marvel at the views and streams and roads going through the mountains, built by those who had gone on before us. My parents were strict and worked hard to make a good life for the family, but there was always an understanding that what we had was a blessing, yes, a gift from GOD. We had sponsors that helped us immigrate into the US. We had neighbors that helped us integrate into the neighborhood and schools and churches and life in America.

We did not do it on our own! My parents knew it, they made me know it, and I know it even more now!

I may not reflect on it often enough, but everything I have is a gift from GOD - my wife, my children, my church, my friends, my job - everything is a gift from GOD. And for all of this, GOD asks for only one thing in return… LOVE!

Joshua says it so well in 24:14-15…

“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshipped beyond the 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 forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living, But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord”

It seems to me the gods were easy to spot in the Old Testament. There were Baal and Asherah, and it is easy for me to say I won’t build an altar to Baal or put up an Asherah pole.  But there were other gods in the Old Testament that stand out for me and draw me into what appears to be their comfort and satisfaction. For me there are money, sex, and stuff! Yes, just stuff! It amazes me how much I want more stuff, whatever it is!

So I thank GOD my Creator, Lord, and Savior for Joshua and his words of wisdom…

"But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living.”

It is not some decision way off in the future Joshua is talking about. It is not the meaning of life or what the neighbors are doing or what the Christian right or leftist liberals are doing!

It is the next decision you make, it is every decision you make “this day for yourself.” Whether it is to love your wife by reading or walking together or hitting the bar for a few beers. Whether it is to love your child by playing baseball or Frisbee or planting a garden or going for a round of golf or an afternoon of fishing by yourself. It is “choosing for yourselves, this day, whom you will serve!”

And I pray to GOD, my Creator, Lord, and Savior that I can choose as Joshua did over 3,000 years ago to do and to say… “But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!” Amen!

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit, I thank you this day for everything you have given me, for everything is a gift from GOD. I pray that you help me to choose you for myself this day. Help me in every decision I make to serve you my Creator, Lord, and Savior. AMEN.

Jim Dietvorst

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