Joshua 24:14 “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. 15 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.”
16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, 17 for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. 18 And the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.”
Get Rid of Those Gods
This passage reflects a covenant in which most often the higher authority would promise something and the vassals would promise something in return. In this covenant, Yahweh appealed to what he has already done, provoking loyalty from the Israelites based on the mere mentioning of his previous involvement in Israel’s history.
Israel’s proper response to this list of divine activity is unwavering allegiance.
Joshua did not appeal to Israel’s past commitment or accomplishments; instead he reminded the people of their constant idolatry and exhorted them to fear Yahweh.
To fear Yahweh was to possess a deep reverence that led to allegiance and submission.
Joshua urged the people to “throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt” (Josh 24:14, 23). Generations removed from Israel’s beginning, these people were still bent on following other gods. Regardless of how many times they had seen the superiority of Yahweh compared to other gods, Joshua revealed that these gods were still a permanent presence in the religious life of Israel.
More than just a removal from the heart, Joshua urged the people to remove the idols physically because this act would serve as a public statement concerning their declared devotion.
Choose This Day
When Joshua urged the Israelites to “choose this day” whom they would serve (Josh 24:15), he implied an ongoing action rather than simply a onetime decision.
Even though this decision had constant implications, he did call on them to make a specific decision for that moment in Israel’s history. In this pivotal moment of decision, Joshua did not include any divine threats; he simply asked them to choose.
Due to the serious nature of this choice, future generations would be affected.
Other nations followed whichever god seemed best suited for each individual crisis, but Israel had a relationship with Yahweh who had proven his mighty capabilities repeatedly.
Due to Yahweh’s jealousy, he would no longer allow his people to continue to divide their loyalties.
Because Joshua could not decide for the entire nation, he instead declared that he and his household would maintain exclusive commitment to Yahweh.
While God was normally the one choosing, he now demanded that the Israelites choose to whom they would be devoted.
Like Joshua, no follower of God can make a commitment for an entire nation. But in the same passion of Joshua, a father can and should stand up and make that decision for his household.
For so long, Joshua, in his role as Israel’s leader, had decided how the nation would respond. Settling into the new normalcy for Israel as they reached the Promised Land, he knew he could not make that decision for the entire nation anymore, but he could make it for his family. No one knows for sure what Joshua’s family’s spiritual climate was. We don’t know if he was dealing with a rebellious teenager or a selfish toddler. No one knows the spiritual devotion of his wife or his children.
All we know is that Dad decided that he would choose for his home. Since every home had a god to follow, his would set their hearts to follow Yahweh.
Even if one’s culture is choosing to follow every god but Yahweh, the leader of the household must dedicate his or her home to serving the one true God.
Joshua’s commitment serves as a steadfast example.
Children desperately need committed parents who will stand up and decide to follow God no matter what direction the culture is heading.
If parents commit their homes to God in speech and in deed, children will reap spiritual benefits. There is a god in your home. Your spouse knows it. Your children know it.
Are you content with the who receives your allegiance?
Time to take back your home.