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July 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“So the people answered and said . . .”—Joshua 24:16 (NKJV)
Joshua had just laid down the gauntlet! He assembled the tribes of Israel and publically declared his personal loyalty to the God who had rescued them from Egypt, led them through the wilderness, and delivered the Promised Land into their hands.
But it wasn’t enough for him to go on record about where he stood with God. He took it a step further and challenged the people of Israel to make a choice for themselves—to choose to follow the God of their forefathers or the false gods that littered the land they now inhabited. Their response was just as emphatic as his: “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for the Lord our God is He who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, who did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way that we went and among all the people through whom we passed. And the Lord drove out from before us all the people, including the Amorites who dwelt in the land. We also will serve the Lord, for He is our God” (Joshua 24:16-18 NKJV).
What a powerful expression of faith! We can imagine Israel’s zeal for the Lord here like an oceanic groundswell erupting with uncontainable force from an open geyser. But this dynamic demonstration came after Joshua called the people to make a decision. The invitation to decide resulted in the declaration of devotion. The loyalties that lay within the nation’s heart was released and revealed by the challenge to choose!
When it comes to a person’s heart towards God, we don’t possess the ability to look inside and see what’s there. Only the Lord fully knows what lies within someone’s heart (1 Kings 8:39). It’s not our place to know! However, it’s our place to challenge people to make a choice concerning Him, just as Joshua did.
As we speak to others about Jesus and all He’s done for them, there comes a point when they need to make a decision about Him. Talking about the Gospel of Jesus Christ can sound great to the ear but its effect on the heart is what truly matters. And this will only be revealed as an invitation to make a choice is issued. Will a person choose between the only God who can rescue, lead, and deliver them or the multitude of substitutes that the world has to offer?
A torrent of faith might be just beneath the surface of that person’s soul, waiting to be released. But we won’t know unless we issue the challenge to choose by sharing that there is a day to decide and that day is today.
“Behold, now is the day of salvation.”—2 Corinthians 6:2 (NKJV)
DIG: What effect did Joshua’s challenge have on Israel?
DISCOVER: What does this teach us about our responsibility with the gospel?
DO: Consider ways you can apply Joshua’s challenge in your interactions with those who don’t know Christ.
Pastor Dan Hickling serves our online community, also known as the Calvary Chapel Online Campus. He and his wife Becky have been married for 22 years and have two children, Lauren and Danny. Both Dan and Becky have been part of the CCFL church family for 22 years and have served in full time ministry for 20 of those years.