Joshua 24 [14-22]
“So now: Fear God. Worship him in total commitment. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped on the far side of The River (the Euphrates) and in Egypt. You, worship God.
“If you decide that it’s a bad thing to worship God, then choose a god you’d rather serve—and do it today. Choose one of the gods your ancestors worshiped from the country beyond The River, or one of the gods of the Amorites, on whose land you’re now living. As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”
The people answered, “We’d never forsake God! Never! We’d never leave God to worship other gods. God is our God! He brought up our ancestors from Egypt and from slave conditions. He did all those great signs while we watched. He has kept his eye on us all along the roads we’ve traveled and among the nations we’ve passed through. Just for us he drove out all the nations, Amorites and all, who lived in the land.
“Count us in: We too are going to worship God. He’s our God.”
Then Joshua told the people: “You can’t do it; you’re not able to worship God. He is a holy God. He is a jealous God. He won’t put up with your fooling around and sinning. When you leave God and take up the worship of foreign gods, he’ll turn right around and come down on you hard. He’ll put an end to you—and after all the good he has done for you!”
But the people told Joshua: “No! No! We worship God!”
And so Joshua addressed the people: “You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen God for yourselves—to worship him.”
The hard following of god
“As for me and my family, we’ll worship God.”
Israel had a long history of ebbing and flowing in their devotion to God. Their on-again off-again commitment was pervasive throughout their generations. Love. Wander. Return. Repeat. Yet, here they are, having inherited the land God promised to them—his love for these people not deterred by their weakness of heart. Joshua, then, sets before them a choice:
“Choose whom you will serve. Make a choice. Plant your feet. Decide. Act. Commit. God or not God. Another god. Other gods. Just make a choice. As for me—I’ll worship God.”
We may fail time and again, but every time we make that choice to get back up, a choice is made to win. And with the right support, the right heart, we can do it. Failure is but one more stone down the path to growth, because it creates experience from which to build. Everything starts with a choice.
God’s grace is sufficient for us, his power made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Joshua tells the people they can’t do it—they can’t serve God. Their foolishness won’t allow it. Their history would agree. Yet they insist they can, they will. So Joshua charges them as witnesses against themselves. And we know from history they couldn’t, they didn’t. They fell away, they failed, they broke down. Again and again. Yet God was not deterred by their weakness of heart. He watched and waited for them to stand back up, to continue on the path one step further along. We are no different even today—we try, we commit, we fail. It is in the choice to not stand up, however, that we find death—death of our spirit. Weakness is good, because at the end of our self-sufficiency we are most useful. We must choose to commit.
Challenge // Self-sufficiency
How often do your find yourself fully confident in your abilities to accomplish a task or handle a problem? We, as a culture, highly value self-sufficiency. The American Dream, right? Home-ownership. Vehicle maintenance. Money management. We ought to be dependent on no one, but self-sufficient in everything.
But where did this idea come from? Certainly not from God—self-sufficiency leaves no room for God. If we are confident we have everything under control, we don’t need God. We don’t need to choose him, thus our faith becomes fake and shallow. We are taught to rely on no one, when, in fact, the Kingdom of God is about reliance on everyone. A community of one is weak and useless. You need not be so strong you cannot ask for help; likewise, in your strengths you ought to be ready to give of yourself freely and humbly.
In what ways are you strong?
What about weak?
Do you honestly view your strength as your own
accomplishment or the power of God made perfect in your weaknesses?
For what purposes do your strengths exist?
How do you use those strengths for Kingdom work?
When was the last time you intentionally chose to commit to God?
Ask, and God will do. Give Jesus Christ a chance, give Him elbow room, and no man will ever do this unless he is at his wits’ end. When a man is at his wits’ end it is not a cowardly thing to pray, it is the only way he can get into touch with Reality. Be yourself before God and present your problems, the things you know you have come to your wits’ end over. As long as you are self-sufficient, you do not need to ask God for anything.
My Utmost for his Highest
Lord, teach us to choose you in our strengths and our weaknesses. Teach us to recognize our strength is nothing more than your power made perfect in our weaknesses. We want to be dependent on you—not self-sufficient in our daily lives. We might fall down each and every day, and many times a day, but we want to learn how to get back up, how to commit to you again, how to learn from our falls and press on into you.
Jesus, teach us to use our strengths for Kingdom work. And teach us to embrace our weaknesses as opportunities to grow in you. To learn from you. To refine in us who you created us to be. We belong to you, Lord, and we choose you. We remain marveled at your love for us in our weakness—in those darkest times where we drift away. Grow our spirits, Father, to wholly and intentionally choose you this day and every day.