Sunday, August 23, 2009

As For Me and My House…

The rest of the sentence is, of course, “we will serve the LORD” –Joshua 24:15. I recall joining my current church nearly six years ago now and meeting a woman, and serving with her, who had an email address using the title of this article. Not being as knowledgeable about the Bible as I am now I wondered what it meant.

Putting the whole sentence together is quite a graphic statement of sincerity and faithfulness (v. 14). It is a solemn undertaking to follow after only one deity; the only living God. And it’s at this fresh juncture that Joshua recounts the covenant relationship with Yahweh by commanding the people before him to choose this day which god they’ll serve. He chooses to serve the LORD because, it is said, he is holy.[1]

I think there’s a key quality missing in our modern worship just as in Joshua’s day. We have this unbending propensity to wander from the safety of God into the destruction of our destinies warrant from our clinging desires.

We serve the thing or one we have allegiance to. For some it’s a football team, for others it’s a particular game or activity, for yet others it’s a career. All these might be good, but to the exclusion of God these are not good.

We serve a jealous God and Joshua’s charge, like a pastor’s in our contemporary day, is to give the people a choice easy to make. Jealousy is a “strong desire to possess something,” and that is how it is for God with us, particularly… most particularly, regarding his redeemed.[2] Backslider beware!

When God’s good and perfect gifts become contorted to the things they are alone without recourse to God we run a dangerous game. On the positive side of the ledger, serving God loyally and solely is the best thing for us—it is a choice for blessing.
[1] John R. Franke (Ed) & Thomas C. Oden, Joshua, Judges, Ruth, 1-2 Samuel – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture – Vol. IV (Downers Grove, Illinois: Institution of Classical Christian Studies/IVP, 2005), p. 95. The extra words, “because he is holy” appear in the Septuagint, the Greek Old Testament.
[2] Steven D. Matheson, Joshua and Judges (Oxford, UK: Bible Reading Fellowship, 2003), p. 115.

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