Joshua's Choice

“Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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.” (Joshua 24:14-15 NKJV)

Joshua stood at the head of all Israel, and it came down to a choice – not between the nation but the family. God’s basic unit is always the family. It was the first covenant made – that of marriage. Here, Joshua was making the bold statement, one reminiscent of David Crockett’s before the U.S. House on the eve of the Texas Revolution. You can do as you wish, Joshua said, but for him, he and his house would serve the Lord.

Regardless of the morality and faithfulness of the nation, Joshua was determined to live for God. The same could be said about our families, or our congregations. Too often I find that people rely upon those around them for standards, for morality, for holiness, instead of charting the course for God themselves. How long can the high standards of morality be held if it is a contious race to the bottom? If one person is able to get away with something, then the next person will try something worse.

The choice that we must make is one that is individual, but it will effect those around us. If we stand to hold the light high, then we will loose friends and companions, but in the end, we will have God. Even if we see those around us fall, we must be willing to press forward, to that mark, to that high calling of God in Christ Jesus. It is a choice made by Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Paul, our fathers in the faith, and with the grace of God, it is a choice made by us.

Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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