“But maybe you don’t want to serve the LORD. You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve. Will you serve the gods that your ancestors worshiped when they lived on the other side of the Euphrates River? Or will you serve the gods of the Amorites who lived in this land? You must choose for yourselves. But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15 (ETRV)
The choices you make today matter. They can determine your destiny. Joshua understood that when he challenged Israel in his farewell address to the nation. He had been Moses’ assistant during the 40 years that he led Israel out of Egypt to the borders of Canaan. When Moses had completed his assignment, Joshua was commissioned with the task to lead the nation into the promise land. He led them faithfully claiming the territory God had given them through one victory after another! The conquest of Canaan was nothing short of God’s Divine intervention. As they trusted Him, He gave them victory to claim this new territory as their own. It was not by their own strength or military strategy.
After conquering Canaan and dividing up the territory among the tribes, Joshua summons everyone to hear his final words in Joshua 24. I’m struck by the emphasis Joshua puts on “today.” In verse 15 he says, “… You must choose for yourselves today. Today you must decide who you will serve.” Many translations will translate that verse as, “… choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. …”
Joshua understood the significance of today for the choice he was challenging them to make. He knew they would be tempted by the culture and idols of the Canaanites living in the land. So, he called them to make a decision for this day, a decision they would affirm each and every day, a decision that only has value and power for today. If they blew it yesterday, they could make their choice today! It was a choice to serve the Lord exclusively. There could be no compromise in their decision. If they were to be blessed as a nation, they could not serve both God and the idols in the land where they were living. It could not be God plus but God alone. That kind of decision for God could only be motivated by their devotion to God. In verse 14, he told them, “So fear the LORD and serve Him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD alone.”
Have you made that decision in your life? I’m not talking about deciding someday. You can no more control your future than you can change your past. This is a choice to be made today. Making that choice today can save you from a lot of bad decisions. When the people of Israel made their decision that day, they recorded their decision in the book of God’s Instructions and set up a stone of remembrance so they would never forget the choice they had made that day. I love that. It reminds me of what I’ve seen thousands of people do when they are baptized after they make their decision to receive Christ in their lives and put God first. Like that stone of remembrance that Israel rolled beside the Tabernacle, baptism is an outward symbol of the choice you’ve made in your heart to serve God. This weekend at Woodlands Church we are celebrating that choice at our Winter Baptism following each service on all our campuses. If you have made the decision to choose Jesus and follow Him, the first step of obedience is baptism. We invite you to take that step this weekend. You can register online today and experience the blessing of obedience.