“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” – Joshua 24:15
Think of someone who has done much for you in life – has helped you, blessed you, given you of their time and resources. Does someone in particular come to your mind? Think of this person and someone else who has done practically nothing for you in life. Suppose you are faced with a choice someday, about being loyal to one of these two, which one would it be? I would venture to say that anyone with even an iota of gratitude in the heart, would choose to be loyal to the one who has done good to them, rather than to someone who has done nothing good for them. And yet, the act of choosing one over the other is vested within the will of the person, and one could end up making a choice that hurts self and the one who has helped and expected loyalty in return.
Such was the case after Israel entered the Promised Land God had given them. The Lord God had brought them out of the land of Egypt, led them through the wilderness, had caused them to dispossess their enemies of the land, and finally brought them into the land. They would be inheriting what they did not deserve by merit, and yet God chose in His great kindness to give it to them. As Joshua, the successor of Moses and present leader of Israel, recounts to them all of God’s goodness in giving them the land, he sternly cautions them, presenting them with a choice. There was idolatry prevalent in the camp if the Israelites. They were serving false gods and goddesses – idols of the surrounding cultures they had imbibed into their lives along the way. These so called gods had done nothing for them, and were not worthy of any allegiance at all. They were greatly sinning against the God of heaven and earth, the true God, who had done so much good for them, and deserved their loyalty. They could not end up choosing both. That’s the nature of choosing where one’s loyalty lies. Divided loyalty is no loyalty at all. Joshua gives them an ultimatum: be loyal to your idols or be loyal to God. Their choice would determine where their loyalty lay. Then Joshua, like a true leader, not only gives them choices, but proceeds to lead by example. He had lived a life of faithful service to the God of Israel. Now, just before His death, He leaves the Israelites with a life lesson in choosing. He chooses that he and his posterity would serve God. He recognized the goodness of God in his life, and was keenly aware that there was no competition when it came to being loyal to God. In making this choice, Joshua is leading by example, setting the precedent after which his countrymen were to follow.
Where does your loyalty lie? Have you recognized all that God has done for you in life? If you are a believer, do you know that it took God the sacrificing of His Son, the Lord Jesus, to save you? We owe Him our all in choosing loyalty to Him over all the other choices the world has to offer. If you never have recognized God’s goodness to you, you will do well to drop all you are doing and think about the big questions in life. “Where did we come from? What does life mean? What is the purpose of my existence?” When you ask these big questions, they will, with God’s help, help you to realize that there is one true God who has always existed and has been very much involved in your life though you never acknowledged it. The God who created you, deserves your loyalty. Choose to seek Him, find Him, know Him, and serve Him. In the retrospective final analysis it will be Him who will have deserved your loyalty over other gods, idols, philosophies, and religions. Don’t wait for the final analysis though. The challenge is to choose Him today.