Joshua 24:1-14 contains Joshua’s address to the Lord’s people gathered at Shechem. His words are the words of the Lord as he states in verse 2, “Thus saith the LORD God of Israel…” He reviews the history of the nation of Israel, beginning with Abraham (verse 3), Isaac, Jacob, and Esau (verse 4), Moses and Aaron (verse 5), and the delivery of Israel from Egypt and bringing them into the promised land (verses 5-13). Verses 13-14 state, “And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. Now therefore FEAR THE LORD, AND SERVE HIM in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.”

In view of the power and love of the Lord in preserving and delivering His people, they are called upon to reverence (fear) and serve the Lord in sincerity and in truth. They were to put away any idols or images of the false gods of Egypt. We have similar words of Samuel in 1 Samuel 12:24, “Only fear the LORD, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for CONSIDER HOW GREAT THINGS HE HATH DONE FOR YOU.” The heart of the true believer will be greatly impacted when he/she considers who the Lord is and what He has done on our behalf. In Mark 5, the Lord healed a demonic man. Afterwards, the Lord instructed that man, “Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.” (Mark 5:19). The Lord’s blessings and compassion on us should cause us to reverence and serve Him with true hearts and according to the truth of His Word.

Returning to Joshua chapter 24 we then read Joshua’s own words as he proclaims in verse 15, “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY WHOM YE WILL SERVE; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.”

Joshua’s call for the nation of Israel to choose to serve the Lord is reminiscent of Moses’s words in Deuteronomy 30:19-20, “I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore CHOOSE LIFE, THAT BOTH THOU AND THY SEED MAY LIVE: That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.” How could anyone consider service to the Lord to be an evil thing? If we allow our hearts to grow cold and distant from the Lord, His ways will seem contrary to us. May we keep close to the Lord so that we might say as the psalmist said in Psalms 18:21, “For I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God.”

With his call to choose the Lord, Joshua reaffirms his own stance, “AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD.” Joshua takes responsibility for himself and his household. Not only would he serve the Lord, He would lead his family in service to the Lord. There is a saying that I have heard lately. It says, “Teach your children to love the Lord before the world teaches them not to!” To my fellow Christian husbands and fathers, I encourage you to take seriously your role as the spiritual leader in your home. Reverence and serve the Lord along with your wife. Teach your children by instruction and example to do the same. We learn the value of this in Proverbs 22:6, “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” It is good for husbands and fathers to serve the Lord, but it is not enough! We must determine before the Lord to ‘train up’ our children in the Lord’s ways! (322.6)