The book of Joshua tells of the taking of the land of Canaan after the death of Moses. As Joshua was nearing the end of his life, he gathered all the tribes of Israel together to remind them of the things God had done for them and to tell them of the choice they had before them.
Perhaps the most important words Joshua said to the people were found in verse 15: “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-15). This challenge to the people by their leader was one that they planned on carrying out. Most likely at that time, it seemed to be something that they would have not considered not doing, for they had seen the power of God as he delivered them from their enemies.
Today, we must also accept the challenge of Joshua. If we want to be able to hear the words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant” (Matthew 25:21), we have to make the choice in our lives to serve God. When we make that choice, it seems so easy, but temptation comes our way and many times we fail. When we look at how the Israelites turned their backs on God when he had done so much for them, we may think how foolish for them to do so, but how soon we forget just how much he has done for us.
God’s word helps us to be able to see how to choose to live for God. “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like: Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Galatians 5:16-24). The world glories in the works of the flesh, and some Christians are enticed into joining them in their sin, just like those who forgot about God following the death of Joshua and that generation.
Parents, we have to set the example for our children and teach them to always put God first in their lives. Young people need the examples of older people to model their lives after — good role models. If the older generation fails to serve God, how can the younger generation be expected to follow God? The decisions made with our young people will help them make other decisions later. The challenge of Joshua needs to be remembered by all: “Serve the Lord.”
The world would be a better place. We must start now.