Scripture Read: Joshua 23 - 24
Title: The Death of Joshua
(H) Highlight verse: "And if it is evil in your eyes 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 24:15)
(E) Explain: The majority of Joshua is a written account of the Israelites taking possession of the promised land. There are war stories, and there are inheritance or allotment stories. But we see in Joshua 24:31 that it is also a testament to the fact that Israel served the LORD all of the days of Joshua and the elders. We also read that it is a testament of what God has done. He has fought the battles, He is the victor and He keeps His promises.
Tucked in all of this account we come across a passage that is well-known to many people in Joshua 24:15. Unfortunately, it is often taken out of context and when we read it today we can see that this passage is not some feel good declaration that makes for nice wall art. It is a decision and a commitment. Joshua implores the people of Israel to decide this very day, will they choose to follow the foreign gods of their fathers or will they choose to serve the God of Israel. The God who has been with them from Egypt, the wilderness and now the promise land. Joshua then makes the commitment that he and his household will serve the LORD. This commitment meant that Joshua would forsake anything that is considered idolatrous and commit to serving or worshiping God alone.
(A) Application: Joshua's legacy is amazing. He was a great leader, military man and man of God. God used Joshua in powerful ways. One of his greatest legacies was his commitment to God and Him alone. He declares in 24:15 that he has chosen to forsake idols and serve God wholeheartedly. This was not a cutesy quotable quote intended for memes and Hobby Lobby trinkets, it was a declaration of his commitment to God.
So, how does that apply for us? The first thing I would ask is what does it mean for you to "choose this day whom you will serve" and "As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD"? Are these inspirational scripture passages that you like to quote to let other people know that God is part of your life? OR, are they true declarations and commitments that you are making to God? Does it mean that you will forsake ALL things that have become idols in your life and serving God wholeheartedly? The only way you can fully answer that question is by acknowledging the idols that are before you in your life. What idols do you have? Are they money, power, self preservation, relationships, jobs, family, material possessions, fear, loyalty, substances, etc. Determine the idols in your life today and choose this day whom you will serve. Hopefully, after some true heart searching you will be able to publicly and truthfully declare, "As for me and my house, we will serve/worship the LORD."
(R) Respond: Lord, help me determine the idols in my life. In response I pray that I will forsake them all and choose this very day to serve you and not them.
Jeff has been in full-time ministry for thirty years. He currently serves as Executive Director at Anchor House Ministry at SeaPort Manatee in Palmetto, FL and he is a part-time Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Southside in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored A Lent Devotional (A Spiritual Journey to Lent) an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). All three are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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