ODJ: if you choose . . .

December 12, 2013 

READ: Joshua 24:1-16 

If you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve (v.15). 

My oldest son is 10 and I still kiss him on the cheek. Unfortunately, cultural forces have conspired upon my son so that he believes he’s too old for such signs of affection. That’s okay. I’ll keep giving him bear hugs and kissing his cheek and perhaps when he’s much older and has sons of his own, he’ll surprise me with a kiss in return. The worst thing I could do is shame him for his boundaries or attempt to force him to show affection. If affection is not given freely, it isn’t true.

Sometimes we believe God operates differently, that He wants sheer obedience with little care for the authentic textures of our heart and our soul. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As Joshua led Israel into their homeland, he recounted their history and the miraculous ways God had provided for them and protected them. And now they had, in some measure, arrived (Joshua 24:1-13). They had a land and were beginning to build a life. Yet Joshua knew that a solemn choice remained. Would they serve the God who had brought them there, the God who had made and named them or would they return to the false gods they had left behind? (vv.14-15).

Remarkably Joshua didn’t persuade the people or attempt to force them. There was a choice to be made and the people had to make it. One of the more famous passages of Scripture from Joshua’s life is the one quoted here: “As for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (v.15). Equally provocative, however, is the first line of that verse: “But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve.”

God desires more than mere compliance. He wants us to “serve him wholeheartedly” (v.14). And for this, we must choose. —Winn Collier

Read Deuteronomy 30:19-20 to see the choice Moses wanted the Israelites to make. 
What does a “wholehearted” faith mean to you? Where is God offering you a choice? What will you choose to do?