Snapshots: Day 136
The Snapshot: “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh 24:15) Testimony to the end! Again, as we saw, Joshua calls the people to himself and he reminds them of their history (24:2-13) and challenges them to keep following the Lord (24:14) reminding them that their calling was to forsake the world around them, the idol-worshiping of their neighbours. There are always two options – do what the rest of the world are doing, or do what God calls you to, two very different lives. So he challenges them to choose which path they will follow. That is always the call of the Christian leader to his people, but with it comes the personal testimony – whatever anyone else does, we’re going to stick with the Lord. Leaders challenge, provoke and testify. Do it.
Further Consideration: Perhaps we take for granting the preaching and teaching that goes on every week in church, but it is foundational to the Christian life. The apostle Paul wrote words that many of us are so familiar with: “All Scripture is … useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (2 Tim 3:16), so familiar sometimes that we tend to forget what it is saying. The Bible is not for entertainment, it is for teaching and when we let it do that we will find that sometimes it ‘rebukes’ us, scolds us for the what we have been doing or what we have been thinking. It corrects us, shows us what should be, it trains, instructs, shows us how life can be, and in all these things it shows us there are two ways to live – God’s way found in the Bible or the way of the world, a way of self-centred godlessness – and we have to choose.
Nice, happy platitudes, nice pious thoughts, little heart-warming homilies, are not what build the Christian and the Christian community, but words which, although they may comfort, support and encourage, will always have a slight edge to them as they call us to action, to bring change, to bring commitment, to reaffirm our faithfulness.
And that is what Joshua was now doing: “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.” (v.15) “Really,” he is saying, “really, is that what you want, you want to be like our ancestors and the people that used to live here who had no knowledge of the Living God, the Maker of the Universe who miraculously delivered us from Egypt, and so instead made little wooden or metal idols and pretended that these inanimate objects were alive and, even more, had the power to change this world of ours? Really, you think God set us free and has provided for us this Land, so you want to follow idols? Are you out of your minds (implied)? You can do that if you want but me and my family, we’re going to stick with the living God!
(As we have come near the end of Joshua we will pause up for a while and return here later)