As we continue on our series on Following Jesus, today’s Bible Journaling verse takes us to Joshua 24:15, “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.” (NASB)
Joshua is nearing the end of his life and he has gathered the children of Israel together and he begins to remind them of how God has walked with them, cared for them, and gives them a basic review of their history. He begins with how God called Abraham to go to a land he had never been to…a land that God promised Abraham and his descendants, the Promised Land!
He recounts how after Moses led them out of Egypt and God delivered them from the hand of Pharaoh, how they wandered in the desert for 40 years, and how God brought them to the Promised Land and they defeated their enemies and took the land. Now, they have become disobedient and are serving other gods, the gods of their enemies. The Lord is admonishing them to put away those gods and to serve Him only. He tells them there is a choice that must be made, chose God or false idols. Joshua makes a declaration, “…as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” He tells them, “choose for yourselves today whom you will serve.” He gives them no options, no time to think about it, choose today!
That choice is one we must make daily. Are we going to follow after our fleshly desires, after the current fad of belief of the day, making other things or people our idols, or are we going to set our hearts on Jesus, following Him and where He leads us? Following Jesus requires a commitment on our part. We must sincerely consecrate ourselves to living a life of righteousness and obedience.
Sometimes, it seems difficult to make those choices. Things may come up before us that can be stumbling blocks, leaving us with hard decisions. Do I follow a pathway that I know without a shadow of doubt goes against God and His ways, or do I turn my back on that temptation and go after God’s desire for me?
When I was two years old my father came to know Jesus as his Savior. It’s a day I remember as clearly as if it happened yesterday. We lived next door to the pastor of the Wesleyan Methodist church in our small town. My Dad and the pastor had become friends and I’m sure the pastor shared Jesus with my father. My grandparents became Believers when my Dad and uncle were teenagers, and both my Dad and my uncle rebelled against the change in my grandparents and their commitment to going to church and following Jesus. I don’t know what was going on in my Dad’s life at the time, but something about the pastor got hold of my Dad.
Daddy had gone next door to talk to the pastor and when he got home the first thing he did was open the cupboard and take out a full, never opened, bottle of wine, opened it up, and poured the whole thing down the kitchen sink. He never touched alcohol again. It took some time, but Dad quit smoking too. Another change…we began going to church, and my parents eventually became the youth leaders of the church. My Dad remained committed to serving Jesus for the rest of his life. From that time forward our home was built on God’s Word and serving Him. My Dad made sure us kids knew from where the source of his strength came. He instilled into me, from little on, the importance of living for Jesus. Both the pastor’s family and ours moved from that small town to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to work at a new church. When I was 11, I gave my heart to Jesus in front of this same pastor. I had a choice to make…ask Jesus into my heart or go my own way? I couldn’t ride into Heaven on my Dad’s coattails or claim salvation because my Dad had, that decision had to be my own.
Jesus wants us to follow Him in every area of our lives. He wants a relationship with us and for us to live for Him. Are you willing to say, like Joshua, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”?