“But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-15
I was once told, “Who you are today determines who you will be tomorrow.” While this seems rather obvious, it is much harder to actually grasp. If you want to be a better athlete, you have to decide today to fuel your body right and to get the proper amount of training. If you want to have a deeper relationship with the Lord, you have to decide today to seek Him. So when sitting back and daydreaming about new beginnings and who we want to become, keep in mind that we have much more control than we think!
The passage above comes at the end of the book of Joshua, when Joshua himself recounts the history of his people and challenges them to remain loyal to the Lord. Up to this point, Israel’s relationship with God had been somewhat of a bad teenage romance on Israel’s part. At one moment the nation was wholly devoted to the Lord and the next they were turning up their nose and running after some lesser guy.
The Lord provided for the needs of His people since day one, but He also called them to be holy. He wanted them to be devoted in relationship to Him and Him alone and to stop flirting with the false gods of other cultures and people groups. Each time He let them follow their heart, the nation wandered away, coming to complete ruin. They were trapped in captivity and ruled by pagan gods, only to cry out for deliverance from God and promptly return.
In Joshua 24, Joshua walked the people through their entire history from Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through Moses and the Red Sea to Jericho and the Promised Land. He then gave Israel a challenge, as they finally stood in possession of the land God called them into: “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshipped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord.” The decision was in their hands. God does not force Himself on anyone, but the decision was already made for Joshua. He had already determined that He would follow and serve the Lord!
The people also chose to serve and obey the Lord, and for the rest of Joshua’s lifetime and a while after, Israel did serve the Lord.
In the same way as we face new beginnings, blank slates and empty chapters, we have the power to determine who we will serve. As humans we were designed to be worshippers, so either we follow the Lord or we will end up being owned by His counter in the form of ourselves, other religions or atheism. In other words, something will own our lives no matter what so what will it be?
As for me, I will serve the Lord. He is good! He is the only one who loves you more than you love yourself, and He truly has your best interest in mind, even if it does not feel like it. So whether you are facing a new semester of school, new job or just the end of the summer, determine today who you will be tomorrow and who you will serve.
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