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May 16, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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 (NKJV)
Back in the early 1980’s popular songwriter Bob Dylan had a hit titled “Gotta Serve Somebody.” The lyrics were, “Yes indeed, you’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
One of the greatest gifts God gives mankind is choice. Each and every choice you and I make affect our daily lives and ultimately our destiny, legacy, and eternity. John Maxwell said, “Life is a matter of choices, and every choice you make makes you.” David Guzik states, “We really are not left the option of not serving anyone.”
Joshua, the great leader of Israel, was over 100 years old and preparing to die and enter glory. As a faithful leader who served the Lord all his life, this passage shows us Joshua giving a farewell message to the people of Israel, whom he had led for close to 60 years. In this message, he made a very clear challenge to the people of Israel, stating they must decide who they will follow. There was no way around it. They couldn’t avoid the decision of who they would follow because no one can be neutral.
So, in his final instructions, he lays out important and timeless truths in order to make proper choices and have a right relationship with God. These are relevant for us today:
Fear the Lord: To fear the Lord is to have deep reverence and love for Him. Solomon writes in Ecclesiastes 12:13–14 (NKJV), “Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”
Serve the Lord in sincerity and in truth: The Life Application Study Bible summarizes this by describing it as “the way we live shows others the strength of our commitment to God.” Are you known as a servant of the Lord? Are sincerity and truth your real motives?
Put away idols: Is there any tendency in your life toward idols such as greed, life-altering substances, jealousy, prejudice, or wrong priorities?
Choose this day whom you will serve: 1 John 5:3 (NKJV) says, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.” When you choose to love and obey the Lord, you are serving Him.
Is your life so ordered that you can truly say you are serving the Lord? Remember, you are serving something. Let’s serve the Lord with all of our heart.
DIG: Like Joshua, how would you state your life/family vision?
DISCOVER: What are some changes you need to make so your life honors the Lord?
DO: If you were to write out a farewell message to your family and friends, what would you say?