Derek Smith, Lead Pastor LHBC
“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. 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.”
A lot has happened since we left Jericho. Israel has essentially conquered the Promised Land. There is still land to be conquered, but for years now they have occupied the land in peace and prosperity because of the faithful and powerful hand of God and their obedient faith in Him. Joshua has divided up the inheritance for each tribe by the leadership of God, the land is settled, and the war is over. Now we come to the end of Joshua’s life, and Joshua gathers all the people together and gives them one final charge, one final exhortation to serve the Lord.
At the end of my life what will be my final words to those I love? What do I want to be known for, and what do I want to see God accomplish through me before I die? These are the kinds of questions that give a proper sense of perspective to life, because at the end of the day there’s a whole lot of stuff we chase after now that just won’t matter when death knocks on our door. Joshua gives the people four words to help them focus on what really matters at the end of life: Remember, Respond, Remove, and Resolve.
Joshua says remember your inheritance. They were dwelling in cities they didn’t build and eating from fields they didn’t plant. Salvation is not of us, it’s of the Lord, and every day we exist only by the grace and provision that the Lord gives. Then he says respond in obedience. At the end of life what will matter is our actions not our intentions. Thirdly Joshua says to remove idols. Money, possessions, sports, hobbies, pleasure, other people; all these and more can become gods in our lives that steal the time, money, and worship that is only due to the Lord Jesus. Here’s a good question: what needs to be removed from your life today that will remove some regret from your life tomorrow? Lastly, he says resolve to serve the Lord. Joshua said his house was going to serve God whether the culture did or not. How much of our life is determined by the culture or the demands of others around us rather than our choice to serve the Lord? We must resolve not to give in to the pressure of this culture or the fear of man instead of serving God.
When the final draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was taken to Abraham Lincoln at noon on January 1, 1863, President Lincoln picked up his pen to sign it and twice he laid it down. He then turned to Secretary of State William Seward and said, “I have been shaking hands since 9:00 this morning, and my right arm is almost paralyzed. If my name ever goes into history, it will be for this act, and my whole soul is in it. If my hand trembles when I sign the proclamation, all who examine the document hereafter will say, ‘He hesitated.'” The president then took a breath, picked up the pen again, and slowly but confidently wrote, “Abraham Lincoln.”
Today, don’t hesitate. Don’t be shaken in your service to the Lord. Resolve today that, for you and your house, you are going to serve the Lord. At the end of your life, I promise that you will never regret one second of that decision.
PRAYER FOR TODAY:
Oh Lord, help me not to waver between pleasing man and pleasing You. I resolve today to serve You and You alone. All the time, money, and attention You’ve given me I give back to You in total worship. In Jesus name I pray, amen!
MEMORY VERSE OF THE WEEK:
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.