Through this month's Bible readings, my mind keeps drifting back to the book of Joshua. It is a breath of fresh air that was sorely needed after what seemed a lifetime in the desert. The Israelites finally step foot in the Promised Land and take hold of their inheritance.
Although the book is filled with great battles and demonstrations of God's faithfulness and power, for me, the most significant passages are also the driest of the book. After the battles have been fought and the victories celebrated, the Promised Land is divided among the tribes of Israel. Chapter after chapter is dedicated to defining boundaries and handing out long forgotten cities.
I am filled with excitement because what I am reading is the children of slaves stepping into an inheritance that their parents couldn't fathom. An inheritance of abundant life and fruitfulness. Joshua states that the Lord gave them "...land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant." (Joshua 24:13)
What a time of celebration!
The book, however, concludes with a famous quote that has been cross-stitched by many a grandma, Joshua 24:15 "...But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
It is an amazingly profound statement by a man who has lived his life with strength and courage.
But why would Joshua need to say it at all?
Why wouldn't the Israelites serve God for all their days? Why wouldn't they dedicate themselves to God?
It is a question I have to ask myself often. I am third generation Christian. I have seen my grandparents and my parents step into their Promised Lands. I have seen God's provision and faithfulness in their lives time and time again. Their faith in Christ and their stories of His faithfulness are my inheritance.
Yet despite this blessing from God, I still find myself drifting to the idols that are so tangible. Idols of comfort and of financial security. Idols of mediocrity and laziness. Substitutes for God's growth, provision, and power.
Without constant remembrance, without constant dedication, we all so easily stray.
Before Joshua says his most cross-stitchable quote, he tells the Israelites "Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living."
Joshua knew how susceptible we are to choosing comfort or tradition or the tangible over serving God. He knew that regardless of what miracles we witness or how much God has provided, without a constant reminder, we stray.
Joshua's declaration isn't just a one off statement to be hung in the lounge room or tattooed on your arm (the modern version of a cross-stitched pillow), it needs to be a daily reminder.
It needs to be a declaration made every day that we will put aside the idols in our lives and take up the banner of the Lord.
The last speech of Joshua is a reminder of what God has done for the ancestors of Israel. Stories of God's faithfulness through the generations.
As I type this article, the Holy Spirit is reminding me of the times God has been faithful to my grandparents, to my parents, and to me.
Because of the great things God has done, it is my turn to declare that for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.
Republished from Christian Today UK.