We Will Serve The Lord.
The last half of the book of Joshua is not as exciting as the first half.
Nevertheless, it holds some very important information on the boundary lines of the ‘promised land’, the tribes that possessed each section and some important dialogue on the nation’s future.
The most famous piece of dialogue found in Joshua is our topic of conversation today.
From Joshua 24, “…as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.“
Over the years, many Christian companies have placed Joshua’s statement on welcome mats, door knockers, mail boxes, etc.
Unfortunately, many people are left believing that this is an entire verse and an all-encompassing statement. Many will never read the entire chapter, the paragraph, or even the verse that holds this bold statement.
Prior to the paragraph that holds this verse, we read a re-cap of all the great things that God has done to bring Israel back into their homeland. After all of this is explained, we read the following:
“‘Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 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 24:14-15)
Joshua 24 is a great passage for any and all leaders to study and follow.
It’s almost like a formula to follow when speaking to one’s followers:
- Remind the people of all the great things God has done – 24:1-13.
- State what action should be followed; to fear and serve God, throwing away the practice and worship of other icons – 24:14.
- Give the option to walk away and fully embrace the other desired icons – 24:15a.
- State which path you and your household will follow – 24:15b.
So how do these people respond to this speech?
Well, this challenge matched with the character that Joshua had shown the people throughout the experience, had very positive results!
“Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the LORD to serve other gods! It was the LORD our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. And the LORD drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the LORD, because he is our God.’” (Joshua 24:16-18)
What an amazing passage of dialogue between Joshua and the people of Israel?
It’s a shame that all those welcome mats, door knockers and mail boxes couldn’t hold more text. It’s important to note that stating one’s choice to follow God is powerful.
However, how much more powerful is that statement, when matched with a historical re-cap of what God has done, and giving the option to openly walk away, which could solidify that one be following God by themselves.
I’d like to end with a statement from the closing of Joshua 24:
“Israel served the LORD throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who outlived him and who had experienced everything the LORD had done for Israel.” (24:31)