It's Your Choice
“If it is unacceptable in your sight 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 live; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
We make hundreds of choices each day. What to wear. What to eat. What television show to watch. We want options. We enjoy variety. For me, I want my cake and eat it, too. Literally. Weight has always been a struggle for me. I don’t want to be overweight, but I also don’t want to give up late night ice cream and butter on the popcorn at the movies. However, I had to choose between my favorite foods or being unhealthy.
I had to make a choice. I had to decide.
Well, it seems like a simple choice. Healthy or unhealthy. Don’t worry. I picked the healthy option. And that’s when the real struggle began. Each day, each hour, each minute I have to DECIDE what I want and make choices accordingly. Cake or carrots? Once I chose to lose weight and be healthy, each day I must DECIDE to maintain that choice.
The Israelites enjoyed a little variety, too. One god was not enough; they followed the One True God and the gods of the land. They made it a habit of turning from the God who delivered them to the gods of the pagan people in the land.
The pagan nations worshiped many gods, one for every need and season. While living among other nations, the Israelites would become weary and forget God’s promises and, needing something they could hold on to, began to combine their worship to God Almighty with the gods of their neighbors.
God’s people always had one eye on the world and one eye on Yahweh. They wanted their cake AND carrots, so to speak.
In the passage above, Joshua is giving them a choice. Until this point, God did all the choosing. He chose the people, the places, and the leaders. Here, the Israelites are doing the choosing. They must choose God or gods, something the pagan nations did not have to do because they could embrace all the gods. Joshua was not pressuring them; they had a choice. Proving the choice was an easy one, Joshua declares, “...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Choose God and reject the world or choose the world and reject God. We must also choose.
The world will offer you a god for every need and quickly, like the Israelites, you can find yourself with one eye on the world and one eye on God.
When you choose your comfort over helping those in need, you have a god.
When you choose to keep your resources instead of giving them away, you have a god.
When you rely on yourself and not God, you have a god.
As scripture teaches, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other.”(Matthew 6:24)
You will hate one god or the other. You can not love the world and God. You will have to make a choice.
Once you make a choice, that’s when the work begins. Once you choose, then you must DECIDE each day, each moment whom you will follow? And the enemy will not make it easy. Trials and temptations will come. Each day I decide not to eat ice cream for lunch and instead choose my health over a moment of pleasure. God has equipped us with everything we need to live holy lives. He lives in us and pours out grace and mercy. He gives us the strength to decide.
To DECIDE is to resolve, to take action and turn away from something.
God’s people chose wisely and in the scripture that follows we learn they vowed to obey God. However, Joshua told them, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” (v. 23)
In other words,
DECIDE to follow God,
take action, and turn away from pagan gods.
God is asking you, “whom will you serve?” Whom will you choose and what will you decide? Will you turn away from the world or will you worship idols that wither? Will you deny yourself or serve your desires? It’s your choice.
Will you give up unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger? Or, will you choose forgiveness, peace, and love? What are the things that you spend more time thinking about than God? That is an idol. What one thing or “idol” can you throw away today? Choose God. He is waiting.
Father God, like your chosen people, our eyes often turn to the world, and we turn away from You. We replace trust in You with idols that fade away. We want both You and the world. Forgive us. Today, Lord, we choose You. We decide to follow You.