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Choose Whom You Will Serve

Joshua’s Final Speech

This is Joshua’s final speech before he died. He stood before the people of Israel and told them to make a decision this day. He said: “choose whom you will serve.” He then declared that he had made his own decision. As for him and his household, they will 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 24:15

Joshua Recounts Israel’s History

Just prior to Joshua telling the people to choose whom you should serve, he summarized their history to that point. Here’s this summary:

Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. 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. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac. And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it, and afterward I brought you out. “‘Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. And the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. And when they cried to the Lord , he put darkness between you and the Egyptians and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand. And you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the leaders of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’ ‘

Joshua 24:1-13

It’s incredible to see God’s promises fulfilled throughout Israel’s history thus far. You can see some other specific promises fulfilled here.

Israel is unable to serve the Lord

Joshua knew that Israel is unable to serve the Lord.

‘But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. ‘

Joshua 24:19

The people responded saying that they will serve the Lord

‘If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the Lord .” Then Joshua said to the people, “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen the Lord, to serve him.” And they said, “We are witnesses.” ‘

Joshua 24:20-22

The people did serve the Lord in the days of Joshua and for a generation later.

‘ Israel served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua and had known all the work that the Lord did for Israel. ‘

Joshua 24:31

However, It didn’t take long until Israel broke faith and started worshipping other gods. This is the heart of man. It is prone to wander, just as the lyrics from the wonderful hymn says:

Oh, to grace how great a debtor

Daily I’m constrained to be

Let that goodness like a fetter

Bind my wandering heart to Thee

Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it

Prone to leave the God I love

Here’s my heart, oh, take and seal it

Seal it for Thy courts above

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – by Robert Robinson

Jesus Fulfills the Law

God knew that Israel won’t be able to keep the law and this is why Jesus came to fulfill the law (Matthew 5:17-18). He lived a perfect life, died, and rose again. Thereby, creating a new covenant that doesn’t depend on man’s doing but depends on what the Lord has already done! Here is a good article by John Piper talking about how Christ fulfilled and ended the old testament regime.

Choose Whom You Will Serve Today based on what Christ has already done.

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