“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 he 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)
Beloved every person faces ethical choices in their lives. Te main choice 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, words and deeds from our lives.
Faced with settling the land God had given to Israel, Joshua confronted the people with an unwavering choice of loyalty in their worship, and their everyday lives. The God who described Himself as a “jealous God” could have no rivals in their affection. As households in Israel,, they must choose whom they would serve. Today we are more advanced those of the Israelites in this scripture, yet even today, we have to face the same God, that they did in their time, and choose whom we will serve, as the question still applies as much today as it did here. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. How about you?
PRAYER FOR THE DAY:
Precious Abba, each generation is faced with this same question, and they must choose whom they will serve. Give us wisdom, compassion, and strength to choose to follow You in our lives, and then let our decision be in every word that we speak and every action that we take, that our decision is to follow only You. This we pray. Amen
THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“God so loved the world that He did not have a need to form a committee!”
“Asa did what was good and right in the eyes of he Lord his God. He removed the foreign altars and the high places, smashed the sacred stones and cut down he Asherah poles. He commanded Judah to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, and to obey his laws and commands. He removed the high places and incense altars in every town in Judah, and the kingdom was at peace under him. He built up the fortified cities of Judah, since the lad was at peace. No one was at war with him during those years, for he Lord gave him rest.” (2nd Chronicles 14:2-6)
The military success of Asa was directly tied to his intentions of ridding the land of idolatry and to his prayerful dependence on God. These were battles to determine religious loyalty. Greater reward than victory in battle came for obedient Asa. He received peace—-rest from war and fullness of live. God honored kings who honored Him. No matter what our predecessors or contemporaries do, God calls us to choose o follow him alone. Leaders in this country and around the world should pay close attention to this, and make decisions honoring God and not their own selfish desires.
“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 for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:8-10)
God’s intention for us has always been that we do good works helping other people. Works do not earn us right standing with God. Works are not done to gain praise from people. God works are done because faith in Christ has made us new creatures whose very nature is to do God’s works. So you see, the works are not truly ours, but are God’s being accomplished in His honor and not our own.
SECOND THOUGHT OF THE DAY:
“Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, ‘There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath.’ The Lord answered him, ‘You hypocrites! Doesn’t each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on he Sabbath day from what bound her?’ When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.” (Luke 3:14-17)
Would Jesus say the treatment of animals was unimportant? Not at all beloved; rather His point was that if the humane treatment of animals falls under the shadow of moral law, ho much more does the humane treatment of fellow human beings belong? Where traditions have become so rigid and forgetful of people, those traditions need to be reexamined through the looking glass of the Gospels.