The challenge hit the air like a lightning strike. The old general was 110 years old. His time on this earth was almost done, and he was delivering essentially his last word to his people. After wandering with the Israelites for 40 years, leading them into the Promised Land, and shaping them into a nation, what was the most pressing thing on old Joshua’s mind? A call to commitment.
“If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve” (Joshua 24:15 NIV).
Joshua knew that his people had a sometimes-fickle relationship with God. They were easily annoyed. They got distracted. They were impatient. They made demands. They wanted God to do what they wanted God to do. So, before leaving them, Joshua knew it was time to draw a line in the sand. He was calling them to a decision: Choose whom you will serve—whether it’s God or something else.
What would that challenge sound like to us today? If serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves whom you will serve: whether career, where you sacrifice your time, or money, in which you place your trust; whether the praise of men, which fuels your ego, or possessions, through which you view your worth; whether guilt, which enslaves your mind, or pride, which hides who you really are; whether relationships or social media or fantasy football or politics. If not the Lord, whom will you serve?
We, just like the Israelites in Joshua’s time, face an endless list of things we could put in front of God. We may or may not have more false gods available to us today, but they certainly look different than they did back then. Either way, the result is the same: These distractions come between us and God, and they compete with the Creator for our time and devotion.
As a result, just like our ancient ancestors, we’re easily annoyed. We get distracted. We’re impatient. We make demands. We want God to do what we want God to do. We’re standing at the moment of decision, and Joshua is drawing a line in the sand for us, too: Choose this day whom you will serve.
Oh God, give us the strength and commitment to answer along with Joshua, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15 NIV).
Dr. Stanley talks about what motivates a person to serve God in, “A Passion to Serve Him,” available for purchase in our online store.