“But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to
you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods
your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose
land you are living. But as for me and my household,
we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
The passage “But as for me
and my household, we will serve the LORD” is popular. It’s printed on plaques, found on old
reclaimed pallet wood, printed on the front of Bibles, and even hand-painted on
walls of homes. It adorns Christian
homes in many aspects because it is a statement of faith, an affirmation of a
family’s commitment and covenant to serve the Lord.
These were the concluding remarks given by Joshua, one of the two
spies who encouraged the Israelites to proceed into Canaan, despite the giants
that lived there, and who was appointed the Israelites’ new leader after
Moses’s death. It’s a bold proclamation that
many Christians, even today, seek to follow in their daily lives.
This verse comes as Joshua tells the Israelites about what God has
done for them since the beginning, bringing Abraham into a new land and sending
the Jewish people out of Egyptian bondage, through Moses and Aaron, to where
they were presently, following Joshua to God’s Promised Land.
Joshua had witnessed several shameful behaviors exhibited by the
Israelites as they wandered the wilderness with Moses, from the creation of the
Gold Calf to what he had seen prior to his statements from the Lord in Joshua
24. He pleads with his people to turn
away from the gods their fathers worshiped while in Egypt and while traveling
in the wilderness. (See Joshua 24:14)
His hope was to show them as he re-visited history about God’s love
and provision in their lives and in their ancestors’ lives, and that it was
better to serve the Lord who took care of them than false gods who “demanded”
unholy sacrifices but did little to help.
His concluding statements to the Israelites are to mark who will be
following God in service and who will continue the treacherous path of serving
false gods, boldly claiming his family would be serving the Lord.
The people choose the path of righteousness by telling Joshua they
would serve the Lord and forsake their former gods, re-dedicating themselves to
the covenant with the Lord. This prompts
Joshua to call them all to testify to their allegiance to the Holy God. (See Joshua
So, we learn from this revolutionary speech that Joshua brought awareness
to the Israelites, reminding them that all their provision and survival in the
wilderness over the past several years was from a loving God who had done the
same, generations before them, and would continue for generations to come. That declaration from Joshua and the
Israelites centuries ago is still relevant today, as we examine and honestly evaluate
whether we are living lives in service to God.
For the Israelites, the Law was what governed them, the
proclamations made to Moses from God at Mount Sinai that brought forth the Ten
Commandments, the Tabernacle, and laws appointing the proper attire and actions
of the priests and demeanor of the people.
Through the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus, we, as
Christians, no longer need to go to a holy priesthood to interact with the
Lord, as we have direct access to God through Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Instead, we can go to God at anytime,
anywhere, and share with Him our hearts’ desires, our pains, our questions, and
our praises to the Lord who loves us. (See Hebrews 10:19-22)
Yet, just as Joshua admonished the Israelites for continuing to
embrace their fathers’ gods, we are still at fault for following false gods who
promise us comfort, understanding, and love, social media, other religions,
careers, even our family and friends. Truthfully, many of us have chosen to go to
others who know less about our situation than the Father who created the
heavens and the earth.
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love
the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot
serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)
This speech from Joshua calls for us to be witnesses just as he
calls the Israelites, that we have to not just speak these words so we “look”
like Christians, but proclaim them boldly to ourselves that, from this day
forth, our houses, our families, and ourselves will serve only the one, true God.
When parents or couples hang this verse on the wall in their home
today, they are proclaiming what Joshua was proclaiming. Parents have a responsibility to make sure
what goes on in their home honors God and excludes activities that do not honor
or serve him. Just as the people of
Israel re-dedicate their lives to the Lord, this also prompts followers of
Christ to do the same today. It is a
reminder to check your heart, the activities that go on in your home, the
example you set for your family, and to what your family is watching or
listening. It’s a chance to check
behaviors, actions, and attitudes to ensure all of what we say, think and do,
align with Jesus.
The bottom line is that we, as Christians, need to know serving the
Lord isn’t to receive glory from man for our “good deeds,” it is serving in
thankfulness for all the Lord has done, is doing, and will do when we leave
these earthly homes for an eternal one. It is also for the pleasure of
serving Him and following His will, in that we can help others draw closer to
God and make the choice to allow Him into their lives through the acceptance of
You are the witness to this proclamation to serve the Lord, as
Joshua said to the Israelites long ago, so make the choice to put your service
to God before everything else, and know He will be greatly pleased with His
good and faithful servants!
Reproduced with permission from Russ Sharrock.