“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.” (Josh.24:15)
After assuming the leadership of God’s people following the death of Moses, Joshua successfully led Israel’s conquest of the Promised Land. Because of his unwavering trust in the Lord, Joshua became one of the greatest leaders Israel would ever be blessed to know and follow. As the curtain of his life was drawing to a close, he issued a great challenge to the people of God: “Now therefore fear the Lord, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve the Lord. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh.24:14-15). You will notice a few things that Joshua did not say. He did not say, “My house and I will not serve the Lord.” How sad it is that many families never determine to serve their Creator. Many fathers and mothers never see the importance of leading their families to follow the will of God. What a travesty that so many children are brought up never having been taught the truth about God and His word! Israel would be surrounded by pagan, idolatrous peoples who had no desire to worship and serve the only true and living God. Sadly many would come to be influenced to abandon God altogether, but Joshua and his family would not be among these. Joshua did not say, “My family will serve the Lord without me.” Joshua took seriously his responsibility as a leader, not just of God’s people, but also of his own family. After all, he knew that he would give an answer before God regarding the way he led (or failed to lead) his family in the way of righteousness. Go into any assembly of the Lord’s people and you will notice that there are many mothers who bring their children to Bible class and worship without any assistance from the father. Too many fathers have abdicated their God-given responsibility as spiritual leaders in the home and in the church. Joshua was not about to leave the spiritual well-being of his family in the hands of someone else. Much like Abraham, Joshua would be one who would “command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord, to do justice and judgment” (Gen.18:19). Joshua did say that he would lead his family in the way of right even if no other family in Israel (or on earth for that matter) were to choose to do the same. The decision to serve God is one that everyone must make. Our Creator has endowed us with the ability to choose. In so doing, He created us with the capacity to choose to do that which is right or that which is wrong. God will not force us to choose one or the other. However, we must choose. The Almighty has set before us life and death, blessing and cursing, and He encourages us to choose life (Deut.30:19). In spite of what others may choose, I have the responsibility and the wonderful opportunity to follow the path that will lead to eternal life in heaven. If ever we needed more fathers, more husbands, more men to stand up against the norm, it is now. Fathers, what choice will you make for the eternal destiny of your wife and children? Will you take the lead and do everything within your power to lead them to heaven, or will you leave the well-being of their souls to someone or something else? That choice is yours to make.
“Father, thank you for blessing us with a home. Help us to guide all within our home to love you supremely and to live out that love every day. Help us to realize that the home is the backbone of society and the church. May we choose to follow you even if no one else will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”