A radical decision
“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and do away with the gods which your fathers served beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served, which were beyond the Euphrates River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. Joshua 24:14-15 NASB
Joshua knew it would be difficult to persuade the people to choose to worship Yahweh. They were nominally serving the One true God. They were prone to worship other gods. His call to them is to worship God “in sincerity.” This means, their service to God should be without hypocrisy and “in truth” which means with honesty and integrity. They were to choose to serve Yahweh intelligently, decisively, faithfully, and willingly. Once they made the decision to choose to serve Yahweh, they have to stop worshiping other gods. Joshua was asking them to make a radical decision. He knew the consequence if they disregard God’s command. He saw what happened to the Israelites when in Kadesh-Barnea they refused to trust Yahweh. The challenged presented by Joshua is the same challenge we have to deal with in our time. The Israelites have already proven God’s love and faithfulness. The other gods demanded engaging with immoral acts to their adherents. This is why Joshua made a public declaration, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” There was no ambiguity in this declaration for he had already made this choice since the beginning and he would continue with the same commitment. It was not a once-and-for-all choice but a consistent series of choices throughout his life. The decision to trust God must be put into action. God’s offer is for us to come to Him and receive the grace of salvation. To come to the Lord in faith is costly for we have to forsake everything. “If anyone wants to come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23 NASB). But we must not forget, God’s grace is not cheap for it was bought by the blood of Christ. “...knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:18-19 NASB). Those that are resolved to serve God must not mind doing it whether alone or few. What matters to them is God’s glory and honor. “For you have been bought for a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20 NASB).