Scripture Reading: Joshua 23:1-24:33 / John 3:22-36 / Psalm 55:12-23
Choices at times can be simple, other times complicated. Ask any teenager… liver and onions or pizza… dress shoes or flip-flops… homework or hanging with friends? Those are easy choices! When there are a variety of choices or serious decisions to make…then it becomes complicated. We arrive at our decisions through the process of evaluations, instinct and contemplation. We want to make rational, sensible and intelligent choices.
Here’s a choice for you… would you choose $100,000 or a penny a day, doubled every day for 30 days? You may be thinking…this is a trick question. It is not a trick question but a mathematical one… the penny would double to .02, .04, .08, .16, .32 and after 30 days it would equal $5,368,709.12! Unless you do the math, the logical/easy choice would be the $100,000 but that is not the best choice.
Joshua was nearing the end of his life and challenged Israel with this choice. “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…” (Joshua 24:15) Their choice was the Lord their God or the gods of Canaan. The definition for “choose” is “something that is acceptable or judged to be excellent after it has been tested.” Israel was to judge and choose between God and idols.
Joshua reminds them of God’s intervention and blessing. God blessed Abraham and made him the father of a great nation. Jacob (Israel) led his family to Egypt where they prospered and became a mighty nation. 400 years later, God raised up Moses to deliver oppressed Israel from Egypt, leading them to the Promised Land. There, he gave them a land where they “did not toil and cities you did not build and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.” (vs.13)
They were not to forget of God’s faithfulness, miracles and mighty hand. They were also not to forget the judgment that fell upon their fathers as they choose to rebel against God. Because of their choice to disobey God, they died in the wilderness. Joshua instructed them to “fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness.” (vs.14)
Choices are not only a mental decision we make but also a physical response to which we commit. Choosing also means, “enslave, submit, or serve.” We are in bondage to our choices. When we choose the world we will be enslaved to sin and the flesh or if we choose God we will submit to His Lordship and will. Choosing God is not just be a matter of lip service but a total surrender of heart and soul.
Choosing God would require Israel to put away all other gods. As Jesus said, we cannot serve two masters. Joshua challenged Israel 3 times to choose the Lord because God demanded a holy and committed people. Considering the faithfulness of God, and the present and eternal consequences of rebellion, may our choice be like that of Joshua…”As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!” (vs.15)
Pastor James Clark has pastored Calvary Assembly since 1985. He is blessed with his wife Yvonne, six children, two son-in-laws, a beautiful granddaughter and hopefully many more grandchildren to follow!