“Now, therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
– Joshua 24:14-15 NASB (emphasis added)
When Moses died, his assistant Joshua took over for him and led the Israelites into the promised land of Canaan. Joshua was an effective military leader for Israel. And though he and the Israelites did not completely drive out the Canaanites from the land as God had instructed them, they did succeed in claiming enough of the land to set up residence for themselves and their descendants, thus leaving behind the desert wilderness in which they had been wandering for the previous forty years. Near the end of his life, Joshua gave a charge to his fellow Israelites and the two verses above were part of his exhortation.
Joshua makes reference to the gods of Egypt and the gods of Canaan (which included “the gods of the Amorites”). In those days, every nation had its own god. And whenever two nations entered a peace treaty with each other, they shared gods – such that each nation then had two gods. Thus came polytheism. Israel stood apart from all other ancient nations because the Creator of the universe called them to represent Him only, and to take on no other gods besides Him.
Joshua was essentially saying to his contemporaries: Guys, make up your minds! You can either serve the one true God or you can serve other gods. As for me and my family, however, we’re serving the one true God!
The choice is similar for you and your family today…and every day. You can either serve the gods and idols that other people are serving or you can stay faithful to the one true God: our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Remember that prayer is more about listening than talking. Use the words below to start yourself, but then allow time to reflect more on the Scripture above before you say the “Amen.” During that time of quiet reflection, let God shape your thoughts and wait for a sense of peace to come. That’s your signal to say “Amen” and go forth to the day.)
Lord Jesus Christ, I will worship and serve You only today. When I am drawn away to serve the gods and idols of others, I will resist. To You only do I submit myself – not because You are my God but because You are the only true God…(this is where you remain quiet in order to let Him work in your thoughts)… Amen.