“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.”
Before this verse, Joshua has challenged the people of Israel to “fear the Lord”. The very first commandment of God given in Deuteronomy 5:7 is “You shall have no other gods before me.” Even though this command was given to Israel, we see here Joshua repeating it and commanding the people to throw away the gods of their ancestors.
What this shows is that some people of Israel were still worshipping idols despite the Lord’s great miracles and victories. Ezekiel 20:7 says “And I said to them, Cast away the detestable things your eyes feast on, every one of you, and do not defile yourselves with the idols of Egypt; I am the Lord your God.”
Joshua was using this opportunity requesting the people to give their undivided loyalty to God, and this was the only way to experience His presence and blessing in the future. When Joshua said “choose” whom you will serve, his intention was not to encourage idolatry. Instead that it would cause such an abhorrence among them that they would take a stand against all such worship. Joshua goes on to proclaim what he and his household will be doing, and that is to serve Yahweh, the only one and true living God.
Likewise, friends do you have remnants of your sinful past that you are hiding and carrying with you? Like Joshua, you need to ask yourself this question. Choose today whom you will serve? You have been delivered from captivity to sin, yet you are hiding some idols that can impact your walk with the Lord.
So what are some forms of idolatry in our modern age? It could be materialism, pride, ego, self-indulgence, alcohol, drugs, food, the lust of the flesh, lust of the eye and the pride of life. If you love the Lord, then there will be no room in our hearts for such idolatry.
In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah approaches the people and says “How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.” And the people did not answer him a word.” Are you in a similar predicament and limping between two opinions. Do you want to idolise part of the world and at the same time have some of Christ in you?
No matter the cost of doing so, if Jesus Christ is your treasure, then you must be willing to sacrifice everything, even your very life. We must have the same attitude as those in Daniel 3:18, declaring whatever the outcome yet, it will not cause them to serve the true and living God. Daniel 3:18 says “But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Likewise, friends choose whom you will serve today, even if it means to suffer temporarily in this world. Just like it was said about Moses in Hebrews 11:25 “By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.”
In closing, I urge you to choose life and to choose whom you will serve. Choose the Lord Jesus Christ, rather than enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin, which is idolatry even if this means that you may be mistreated for it or to suffer in it. The outcome of doing so is having a relationship with Christ and receiving the crown of eternal life.