And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, “Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods… “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.” (Joshua 24:2, 14, 15 ESV)
Did you know that before Abraham was called, he worshiped other gods? It was God who rescued him, just as He did with Abraham’s descendants as he brought them out of their slavery in Egypt. As we come to Joshua, we see that they finally enter the Promised Land. As they have conquered by God’s help the nations that were there and are about to settle, Joshua puts to them this choice. Will they choose to follow and serve God who rescued them or will they choose the gods of the land? It is an important choice to make, especially when the might of the Lord is so recent in their minds.
Joshua knows that days will come when the Lord’s work will be more distant in their memory and their will be a great temptation to follow the gods of the people in the land. Will they stay faithful? Will they stay true? This is where this choice becomes important. It is a commitment; a covenantal relationship they enter with God by their promise to stay true. It is something they will remember, something that can help to hold them against the tide of temptation.
The same is true for you. When you are in the midst of your peers and they all want to live a certain way, will you go with the flow or will you stay true to God who saved you? Do you have a public commitment you can remember and a symbol of that commitment to remind you? The Israelites built stone pillars as memorials to remind them of their commitments. Husbands and wives wear rings to remind them. What is yours?
Lord, I know I will be tempted in the future in ways that will be difficult for me to resist. Be my strength and cause me to remember your love and my commitment to you in those times. Keep me faithful I ask.