It’s Your Choice!

It’s Your Choice!

Mar 21, 2014

It’s Your Choice!

by Rev. Steven James

As we round the bend towards Conference at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota from July 27-August 2, I thought I would share with you several articles based on the memory verses for this Conference year. (How are you and your church family doing on these?)

We know from our main passage in Joshua 24:14-15 that Joshua challenges the people to choose the Lord. He tells them that 1) they have to choose; 2) they should choose the Lord; 3) not everyone will make that choice with them; 4) they should make it a “family affair” as much as they possibly can; and 5) they will be held accountable for their choice (vv. 22-27).

Joshua also conveys to the people just what they were getting into if they were to choose the Lord—much like Jesus did when he spelled out to the crowds what it meant to truly choose Him in Mark 8:34-38 and 10:44-45.

If they were going to choose God, they were choosing to:


Fear God.

There’s no way to soften this word up for our 21st century sentiments. At its core, the word means to be terrified of God—of Who He is and what He can do.

However, it is like a two-sided coin. On the one hand is the idea of terror; on the other the idea of a reverential awe towards God. On the one hand is a fear of consequences, perhaps. On the other, a loving, deep respect for God’s character.

Both motivate obedience, much like those of my generation and before me would give to our parents or others in authority. If I did something wrong, or was thinking of doing something wrong, the consequences of my Mom finding out and how she would respond would keep me in check (sometimes). My Mom would have preferred that I did what she expected simply because I honored her and respected her. I think this is what God would prefer as well.


Serve God.

The idea is to work, tend, till, or slave for. Overall the idea of being “occupied with” is conveyed. How can we serve God like that? God’s people, including pastors, can’t sit in a church building, sing songs, listen to or read the Bible, pray or do works of service 24/7!

Joshua is stressing the idea that in all that occupies us, we are to be occupied with God—doing all that we do for His glory, acknowledging Him in all of our ways, seeking first His kingdom.

Joshua also shared that we are to serve with “sincerity” or whole-heartedly, without blemish, completely or fully. Jesus held nothing back when He came to serve, “not be served and to give His life as a ransom” for us. We are also to serve in “truth” or with firmness, faithfulness and reliability. We often are counting on God. Can He count on us?


Have no other gods.

Lastly, God’s people came out of a culture that literally had a belief in and representations of other “gods.” As they were about to possess a land whose occupants were holding to beliefs in and representations of even more “gods,” Joshua had to let them know that God would accept no rival, no equal or no sub-par “god” in His relationship with Israel.

It was Him and no other.

What about us in our culture? While we may not have “gods” with names like Zeus or have physical representations of Baal on our shelves, is it possible that we have “gods” with names like “career,” “food,” and “money” or representations of other “gods” that have tires, or three beds and a bath, or a ball and bat?

What about you? Do you know what you’re getting into when you choose the Lord? Are you willing to fear Him, serve Him and have no other “gods” in your life but Him? It’s your choice!

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