“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 yourself 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.” (Joshua24:14–15)
Beloved, we all face ethical choices in our lives. Here in these verses, the challenge is to serve God or serve something less than God. Ethical examples like Joshua encourage and strengthen us as we choose. Choosing to serve God means eliminating certain practices from our lives.
Joshua then through out the ultimate challenge, that he and his family fully intended to embrace, was the covenant with God. Here we see the people settling the land God had given to Israel, and Joshua confronted the people with an unwavering choice of loyalty in their worship. The God who described Himself as a “jealous God” (Exodus 20:5) could have no rivals in their affection. As households in Israel, they were faced with the choice whom they would serve. The people joined Joshua in declaring their allegiance to the covenant with the Lord and committed themselves to Him. Even today, my friends, God desires families to make that commitment of home and shared life to Him.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, it is harder in today’s times to get a consensus of commitment from all in the family, partly because there are so many things pulling the family in different directions, and yet the importance is no less than it ever has been. Help us, Abba, in appealing to our family members, not just what a commitment to follow God through His Son, Jesus Christ, but just why it is important to commit to God. Give us wisdom in our appeals with family, not to force anyone to commit; rather, to reveal to them through scripture, the reasoning and seriousness and urgency to make a commit to Him. It is in our Lord and Savior’s name we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“There is no reward from God, to those who seek it from men.”
“Seek good, not evil, that you may live. Then the Lord God Almighty will be with you, just as you say he is. Hate evil, love good; maintain justice in the courts. Perhaps the Lord God Almighty will have mercy on the remnant of Joseph.” (Amos 5:14–15)
God always will be with His people when we are seeking justice—-when we are seeking good rather than evil. He holds us responsible for providing justice for all. Faithful disciples will go beyond mere actions, we will desire justice. Justice will become a controlling motive in our lives. Neighbor love will express itself in and through justice for all others and in this I mean for all races, colors, genders and backgrounds. It will never place selfish interests above the interests of others. Beloved, throughout the Bible, this decision-making principle appears: look for the good, shun evil.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—-not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance fro us to do.” (Ephesians2:8-10)
God’s intention for us has always been that we do good works helping other people. It is important to understand though that works do not earn us right standing with God. Works are not done to gain praise from people. Good works are done because faith in Christ has made us new creatures whose very nature is to do God’s works. I will say that when I have done good things for those who cannot possibly repay me in any way, that I find God’s pure joy in service. How about you?
Second Thought of the Day:
Jesus used God’s imperatives as the basis of His teaching. To gain eternal life through the law required complete, unselfish devotion to God and others. Despite the lawyers initial claim, he and all others fell short. We cannot justify ourselves. Faith in Christ’s atoning work is necessary. Salvation in Christ sharpens our obligations to devote life o God and neighbor rather than to self and ego-boosting rules. God loves to get us out of our “comfort zones,” and take action in and around what is going on with our neighbors, wherever they might be.
“On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. ‘Teacher,’ he asked, ‘what must I do to inherit eternal life?’ ‘What is written in the Law?’ he replied. ‘How do you read it?’ He answered: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your should and with all your strength and with all your mind’ and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ‘You have answered correctly,’ Jesus replied. ‘Do you and you will live.’ But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, ‘And who is my neighbor?’ In reply Jesus said: ‘A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, wen he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, e passed by one the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. Bur a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have. ‘Which of these three do yo think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?’ The expert in the law replied, ‘The one who had mercy on him.’ Jesus told him, ‘God and do likewise.’” (Luke10:25–37)
The lawyer understood what the Law required for eternal life, but he like so many of us did not understand the full significance of such love. In truth to be valid, such love must be expressed in action. The lawyer sought to limit his neighborliness. He wanted to determine whom he should help. Jesus said he must give unselfish and unlimited assistance to anyone in need, even someone who might hurt his reputation!