Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Re-examining “Choose You This Day” Joshua 24:15

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I happened to run across Joshua 24:15, that lovely scripture mastery verse that we know and love so well and I noticed something about it that I hadn’t seen before.

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. (Josua 24:15)

We often look at it as presenting a choice.  “You can choose to serve the Lord, or you can choose to serve other gods.”  But when I started thinking about the choice and the consequences of it, I started to see that the choice was supposed to be obvious. 

All they had to do was consider the result of worshipping those other gods Joshua mentioned.  If they chose to worship the gods on the other side of the flood they only needed to remember that the flood destroyed all those people, so worshipping those antediluvian gods would lead to destruction.  Those gods couldn't save the people from drowning; they didn't exist.   If the people thought of worshipping the gods of the Amorites who lived in the land before the Israelites, they only needed to remember the Amorites had been destroyed.  Did the Amorite gods save the Amorites from being destroyed?  No.  They were all alike swept off.

You can see by the context of the other verses that come before this one that this is exactly what Joshua is trying to do; he reminds the Israelites of the way the Lord delivered the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites into their hand. 

So the point Joshua was really trying to make was, “If you worship any other god besides Jehovah, you will be destroyed, but you can still choose.  I’ve made my own choice to follow Jehovah.” 

The Israelites really get it.  They say in response: “the Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord; for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:18)  It is obvious to them that God has power to deliver.

So along with the principle that we should choose who we serve, a few other important principles we can get that are implied are that our choice has real consequences, we can learn from scriptural history about the consequences of choices before we make them, and serving God is the only real path to salvation.

I know this is true.  Other ways brought some pleasure, but it would turn to ashes and emptiness and destroy my peace. Serving the Lord has always been the most productive and efficacious thing I could do, resulting in the best good for me.  

Today, let's think about how our choices to serve the Lord have influenced our growth and happiness and consider the miserable condition the Lord has saved us from.