The Day of Decision (Joshua 24)
We face many important decisions in life. This passage talks about the decision God’s people need to make.
The Lord Chose a People, vv 1-13
The Lord built a nation. God took Abraham and blessed him with many descendants. When the children of Israel were in Egypt, the Lord sent Moses and Aaron to them. The Lord sent plagues upon the Egyptians and led his people out of bondage. God then brought his people across the Jordan and gave them Canaan. Kingdoms would come and fight against the Israelites, but God would push the other kingdoms back. When God drove out the two kings of the Amorites, it was not by the Israelites sword or bow-the emphasis is on what God did. The people now lived in a land in which they did not labor, in towns they did not build, and ate the fruit of vineyards and oliveyards they did not plant.
God’s message is: “Look at what I’ve done for you.”
God has blessed us so richly. James 1:17. Not one of us knows what it’s like to be hungry. Not one of us knows what it’s like to be in poverty. The poorest people in this nation live better than the majority of the world. God has truly blessed us.
People Have a Choice, vv 14-15
Because God has been so good to them, the Israelites needed to serve the Lord. They needed to revere God, i.e., to honor him-they needed to make room for God in their lives. They were to serve him in sincerity and faithfulness, i.e., without hypocrisy-we need to give God our hearts.
But, they could choose another God. They could choose the gods their ancestors worshiped. They could choose the gods of the Amorites.
The Israelites had a choice. God was not going to force them to serve him. God will not force us to serve him.
We need to choose. Will we serve God? Will he be first in our lives? Will we put other things in God’s place? Will we honor family more than God? Will we honor careers more than God?
Regardless of what people did, Joshua was determined to do right. Joshua said, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua was willing to stand up and go against the flow.
We need people who are willing to stand up and go against the flow. We need people who will stand up to family. Jesus did (Matt 12:46-50). We need to honor God more than we honor family. We need people who will stand up at work.
The People Chose God, vv 16-28
The people said they would choose God because of all the good he had done.
Joshua told the people that they cannot serve the LORD because he is a jealous God. God is a holy and jealous God. He is a holy God in that he will not tolerate sin. He is a jealous God in that he demands to be first in our lives. The message here is that God does not want backsliders.
The people entered into a covenant. The covenant was that they would put away foreign gods and serve YHWH. Joshua wrote statutes and ordinances for the people. Joshua set up a stone to help the people remember their covenant.
Today is our day of decision. If we leave here today not a Christian, we have chosen other things over God. If we leave here today an unfaithful Christian, we have chosen not to put God back in his proper place.
Today, we need to make a covenant. We need to make a vow to God. We need to vow to serve him and only him.
This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Owingsville church of Christ in Owingsville, Kentucky.