I can’t imagine Joshua had it easy taking over for Moses.
Moses had led the nation of Israel for decades. He stood up to Pharaoh and led them through the Red Sea. Moses met with God face-to-face and gave the people the Law. When the people rebelled against God, Moses led them through the wilderness and eventually brought them back to the edge of the Promised Land.
Unfortunately Moses wasn’t allowed to enter the Promised Land. Joshua took the mantle of leadership and led the people into Canaan. He oversaw their conquest and in Joshua 24 he gave an amazing speech as they headed to their new homes.
Joshua 24 begins with Joshua recounting God’s goodness to the people of Israel. He looks back on Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Joshua reminds the Israelites of how God led them out of Egypt and provided for them in the wilderness. And he tells the people to look around at their new home, with fields they didn’t plant and houses they didn’t build.
After telling the people to remember what God had done, he then makes one of the most pointed statements in the Bible.
Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates 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 ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, 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 tells the Israelites to remember God’s goodness, to remember how he had worked in their lives, and then to choose whether or not they want to follow God.
We all have to choose whether we’re going to follow God or not. It’s the choice that Joshua had to make, it’s the choice that all of the Israelites had to make and it’s the choice that we all have to make.
When we pause and remember God’s goodness, though, and all of the ways that he has been faithful, it should be easier to choose him. The pagan gods in Canaan hadn’t done anything for the Israelites, so it should have been easier for the Israelites to choose God instead of the pagan gods. All of our sin and brokenness haven’t produced anything worthwhile in our lives, so it should be easier for us to choose God instead of them.
Unfortunately choosing God is often easier said than done. I want to be like Joshua and choose to serve the Lord every day. Sometimes, though, I choose to follow my own pagan gods.
Thankfully God’s grace is both amazing and limitless. Even if we have a bad day and don’t choose God, we can always choose God again the next day or even later that same day.
What helps you choose to follow the Lord?