God has always set before man a choice.
Joshua 24 records the last message that Joshua (the Israelites’ leader after Moses) delivers to the Israelite people. In the midst of that message Joshua issues this challenge, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15). Those words still have a challenge for us today if we want to be the people of God.
Choose. There is a choice to be made. God has always set before man a choice. Adam and Eve had a choice in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2-3) and they made the wrong choice. A good overall statement about the choices God gives us is found in Jeremiah 21:8, “Furthermore, tell the people, ‘This is what the Lord says: See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death.” Jesus described our choice this way, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Choose for yourselves. No one can make this choice for you. You must make the choice for yourself. Notice the use of the word “whoever” in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life,” and Mark 16:16, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” You can’t ride the “spiritual coattails” of someone else’s choice. A person reaps what they sow (Galatians 6:7-8). Each person will be judged (2 Corinthians 5:10) and rewarded based on what they have done (Ephesian 6:8).
Choose for yourselves this day. There is urgency to the choice. It is a matter of life and death – spiritual life and death (Romans 6:23). One never knows when their physical life might end (James 4:14) or when the Lord might return (Luke 12:40). Today is the only day we are assured of to make our choice (Hebrews 3:7-8; 2 Corinthians 6:2).
Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. It’s not a matter of if you will serve, but whom you will serve. Everyone serves someone or something; and if you think you don’t, you’re just fooling yourself (Romans 6:16; 2 Peter 2:19). The choice of life in Christ is a choice to serve Him instead of sin that leads to death (Hebrews 9:14; Romans 6:17-18).
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. No matter what anyone else did or didn’t do, Joshua and his household were going to serve the Lord. Joshua not only proclaimed that, but he lived it. Remember the twelve spies that were sent to spy out the land of Canaan? Only Joshua and Caleb stood for the Lord upon their return (Numbers 13-14). The narrow road to life is chosen by the few, not the many (Matthew 7:13-14). To choose the Lord is to stand with the minority or even alone. But we can take heart for we are told “… the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4).
The same challenge Joshua presented to the Israelites long ago is still before us today. Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. But no matter what anyone else does, we need to serve the Lord!