DayBreaks for 9/16/14 – Joshua: Reading Between the Lines
Joshua 24:14-15 (ESV) Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
We have heard this verse many, many times, especially the part about “choose this day whom you will serve.” It is emblazoned on plaques, place settings and paintings. I have absolutely no problem with that at all.
But look more closely at the context. It is the end of Joshua’s long and distinguished career. He had huge shoes to fill…and he filled them admirably. I look forward to meeting him some day. He must have been quite a man.
But what does he say? He says, “Put away…”, not “You have put away…” Do you get it? The children of Israel that he’d led into Canaan were still carrying with them some of the gods that their fathers had worshipped in Egypt. This was a good number of years after they’d left Egypt and none of their ancestors (with the exceptions of Joshua and Caleb) who had tasted the whip and slavery in Egypt were alive any longer. So the current generation had not worshiped those gods, but neither had they gotten rid of them. They’d clung to them. And, it would appear, they were still worshiping them.
This puts Joshua’s challenge to them in a new light. These weren’t just polite, encouraging words. Joshua was scolding them. In effect, if you will, Joshua was telling them “Stop playing around with your faith! Get serious! Make a decision! If you want to keep worshiping those old gods, go ahead. If you want to worship God, do so! But whatever you do, make a decision and be done with your waffling!”
What would you have done if you’d been one of the Israelites? Does Joshua’s challenge apply to you and me today? You bet it does, perhaps more so in our country than ever before. We must decide…and we must decide this day for we may not have another one!
PRAYER: We are prone to play with our faith and dabble with false idols. May we take these words to heart, Lord, and with your help, resolve to be done playing games with our faith! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
NOTE: Galen is a missionary with Medical Ambassadors International (MAI) and must raise his own support. DayBreaks is free – but if you wish to help support his mission work, you may donate (one-time or recurring) by going to this link, then scroll down until you see SUPPORT MISSIONARIES section. Below that header, on the left, scroll and then find and click on “Galen Dalrymple” and you’ll be taken to where you can make your donation. If you prefer to donate via check, you may do so by writing your check payable to Medical Ambassadors International and put S090 in the “memo” field. Mail the check to Medical Ambassadors International, P.O. Box 1302, Salida, CA 95368. MAI is a 501.c.3 organizations so all donations are tax deductible and Medical Ambassadors takes NO administrative fees of any kind out of your donations!
Your support would be deeply appreciated!