Read Joshua 24
Focus on verse 14-15
Back in 1979 Bob Dylan was a rising star in the music industry. I was never really a big fan of his back in those days, as I did not care for his style of singing. What I have come to appreciate is his work as a lyricist and in some cases as a theologian. In his song “You gotta serve somebody” he reminds us of a fact of this life that many people ignore. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what you do or don’t do for a living, in whatever it is you do, you will serve either the devil or the Lord. Far too many people go through life serving one or the other without ever realizing who it is they are serving or why they are doing it. In todays reading Joshua lays it out clearly for the people.
Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (v.14-15)
Choose who you will serve – whether it is the gods of Egypt, or the gods of the Canaanites or the Lord – but then he adds “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The best leaders lead by example as well as by word. This is Joshua’s last plea to the people to serve the Lord with their whole heart, and until the generation that knew Joshua had passed they did serve the Lord.
The reality of all this is that regardless of how faithful to God a people group or family is, we are never more than one or two generations away from forgetting who we serve and why. All it takes is for one generation to lose the hearts of their children and the cycle begins. In the book that follows this book of Joshua, the book of Judges, serves as a striking example of how this cycle works.
It is a tragic thing for a culture when the people forget why it is that they chose to serve the Lord. If current trends in America continue we may have the opportunity to witness first hand what that looks like.