“And if you don't see fit to serve the Lord, choose today who you want to serve, or the gods your fathers served beyond the river, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live. I and my house will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:15
It is a total commitment to follow God no matter what. It was good for Joshua and his family, but what does it mean to you? What truths do we see in these verses that apply to you and me right now? Here are four.
1. Everyone has to decide for themselves.
All of Israel experienced the things that God did. Even though the younger ones were not alive when these things happened, the Israelites faithfully continue to tell it. It wasn't the telling of the story that protected them, they still had to make a choice. It doesn't matter whether your parents were believers or whether you came from a line of believers. You still have to make a choice. You have to decide who you are going to follow and who you are going to serve. The beauty of salvation is that you are not bound by the choices of others. Even if your parents didn't believe, that doesn't stop you from believing. Joshua presented this choice to the nation and, like the Israelites, we must all decide for ourselves who we will follow.
2. Miracles don't always create change
One of the things I find amazing about this verse is that even after seeing and experiencing all that God had done, there were still those who had a desire to follow other gods. Is there a miracle greater than that of the Red Sea? If that wasn't enough, what about the water in the rock? The manna from heaven. The Jordan River. What about the walls of Jericho? And how did God cast out all their enemies? The nation of Israel has seen miracle after miracle and yet some have clung to foreign gods. What we are learning from all of this is that miracles don't always create movement. In other words, they don't always move the heart. What moves the heart is not when you see God doing something miraculous, but when God reveals your need for him in the process.
It is quite possible that some Israelites took God's miraculous leadership for granted and that it was not enough for them. Miracles did not bring them closer to a relationship with God, they were just normal. That is why we should never focus solely on God doing miracles in the body or outside, but on God doing miracles in the heart. What good is the miraculous show if it does not touch the heart? Jesus healed many people whose hearts had not changed. Those who have been transformed are those whose hearts have been changed.
3. A past blessing does not automatically mean a continuing blessing.
When Joshua made the statement, “I and my house will serve the Lord,” he recognized something. God's blessing on your life is conditional. The real secret of a continuous blessing is obedience. Joshua knew it. Much of the people of Israel basked in the blessing that flowed from the obedience of others and not their own, for many still had idols. Let me prove it to you. After we challenged the people and the people said yes, we will follow God, this is what Joshua told them.
"Take away therefore the foreign gods which are among you, and set your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel. Joshua 24:23
They were still blessed as a nation, as a whole, but there were individuals who harbored foreign gods. If this situation continued, their blessing would eventually end.
“When you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will come back to do you evil, and he will consume you after he has done you good. " Josué 24: 20
Joshua knew that in order to continue to receive God's blessing, you had to obey. Knowing this, I am convinced that this is part of what Joshua meant when he said “I and my house will serve the Lord”.
4. The decision must come from you
The decision to follow or serve God, although it begins in the heart, must ultimately come out of your mouth. That's what Joshua said. He said with his own mouth, "I and my house will serve the Lord." You must do the same. If you look at salvation, notice what Romans says:
“If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and if you believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. " 10 Romans: 9
Salvation and the choice to follow God are not just an inner decision. You must also declare it. The revelation and the truth that's going on inside has to come out. We spoke earlier of a declaration of death, but this one is alive. For the statement to be meaningful, it must be verbalized. It is not possible to plead the Fifth Amendment when it comes to choosing to follow God. If you want to follow Joshua's example, that's wonderful, but don't do it silently, let it be known.
Clarence L. Haynes Jr.
Article reproduced in part and translated from the site Crosswalk.
Info Chrétienne being an online press service recognized by the Ministry of Culture, your donation is tax deductible up to 66%.