“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 he Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Joshua said to the people, ‘You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins.’” (Joshua24:15, 19)
In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, God had given His people a choice, to serve Him and enter he Promised Land and live a blessed existence there, or to serve other gods. Here in Joshua, once again, the offer to the people is extended, for God’s people cannot serve Him and worship idols at the same time. Serving God is a conscious choice and an absolute commitment.
Anyone who wavers in choosing cannot serve the holy, jealous God. Insincere commitments separate us from His forgiveness. Forgiveness always rests on God’s grace, not on what we deserve.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, You are not nor have you ever been vague in letting us know what being committed to You means, or how you must keep Your commitment. Abba, we are to keep our service to You alone; thus, our service to and for You is blessed in every way. We cannot serve You and worship idols, whether they be rock or metal or any other form. We are committed to the Living God, through His Son, Jesus Christ, and it is in this commitment, that we both serve and worship. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Every crisis in life makes us bitter or better—-It’s our choice which one!”
“Elijah went before the people and said, ‘How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.’” (1st Kings 18:21)
This was the precursor to an outright show of power between the god of Baal and the Lord our God. There were 450 prophets of Baal and 400 prophets of Asherah that were challenged by Elijah to go to the Mount of Carmel, prepare for a fire with wood sacrifice a bull and cut it up to place on the wood, but not to set it ablaze. Then all of those prophets danced and implored the god of Baal and Asherah to set it on fire. This went on for a few hours and Elijah implored them to yell louder, for the god might be busy or asleep or away, and they increased their volume to no avail. Finally, Elijah called upon the people to pour four large jars of water on the wood and the meat, three times so that it was soaked, and then stepped up and prayed; “O Lord, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, Let it be known today that You are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your request. Answer me, O Lord, answer me, so that these people will know that you, O Lord, are God, and that that you are turning their hearts back again.” Then the fire of he Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil and also licked up the water in the trench. Human freedom calls us to choose not to remain, indecisive.
God takes the initiative to provide salvation, here symbolized by lightning and rain. We are expected to accept actively salvation and commit our lives to the saving God.
“Therefore this is what the Lord God Almighty, the God of Israel, says: ‘Listen! I am going to bring on Judah and on everyone living in Jerusalem every disaster I pronounced against them. I spoke to them, but they did not listen; I called to them, but they did not answer.’” (Jeremiah35:17)
Obedience is possible. People do not have to sin. The Recabites had been obedient to their forefathers’ command to abstain from wine. How much easier should it be for God’s children to keep his commands, especially when He sent prophets to help. Sin is refusing to do the possible. Israel’s captivity was caused by her own choice. If we do not listen to God and answer His call, disaster will befall us, beloved.
Second Thought of the Day:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill he prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her sings, but you were not willing!” (Luke 13:34)
Facing death, Jesus maintained control of His destiny. The Pharisees were aware of Jesus’ danger and the possibility of His death. Jesus had known His peril and His destiny for some time. In this passage He described His sacrificial death in line with the fate of Israel’s prophets.
Israel’s religious leaders in Jerusalem caused the death of he prophets and would cause His own. He tenderly lamented over the city He loved and had tried to minister to. Jesus wept over those who were unwilling to let Him gather them under His saving wings, not for Himself. This is even more poignant, as we just celebrated Easter.