But As For Me and My Household, We Will Serve the LORD (Joshua 24:14-24) March 20, 2011
The entire world prayed nervously because of the explosion at the Japanese nuclear power plant following the earthquake and tsunami. It reminded us of the fact that man’s wisdom, power, and scientific creations can all be destroyed at once. The Bible clearly warns us of the signs in the end of days. It records that we will hear news of wars and disasters from all parts of the world and that people would suffer in the end times. But that is not exactly the end. The Bible says the end will come when the Gospel has been proclaimed to the ends of the earth. That is why evangelists are important. There is nowhere else mankind can seek refuge other than in God. That is why we must proclaim that in the Lord is the only salvation and eternal refuge. God will take care of those evangelists’ whole life and their future. It says in Dan.12:3, “Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever.” In verse 15 of today’s passage, Joshua makes an important confession of faith in front of all Israel during the last hours of his life. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Even though we have been saved, we may live like unbelievers and rely on something other than God when we go back to the world. It may give you comfort, strength, and joy momentarily. But that is an idol. It will eventually become “empty and meaningless”. “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” I hope you make the greatest confession of faith before God as you give worship today. The word “worship” is composed of “worth” and “ship” that are combined to mean “to acknowledge God as most precious and worthy”. Enjoying God in your life like that is how you should live your Christian life. Within that are happiness, answers, blessings, victory, and future that we all desire.
1. Why do you have to serve “only the Lord”?
1) He is the one and only Creator who created all things and all lives. The word “Lord” that we use to replace “Jehovah” is not just an Old-Testament term, but it means “the One who exists by Oneself” and “Creator”. It contains the explanation for God’s existence and essence. Because God is the Creator, He can give you life and fix all your life problems or solve them.
2) From the time of Creation, God began with the greatest love, plan, and power for human life. That is why He created us in “His image” (Gen.1:26-28).
a. God’s love for mankind that He could not give up is within the term “His image”. You have His image. Not just on the outside, but He has planted you His spirit within you (only humans are spiritual – lord of creation).
b. God has the greatest plan for your life. God made you to “be fruitful, multiply in numbers, fill the earth and subdue it, and rule over all the earth.” (Gen.1:28) That is who “you originally are”. Enjoying that is “life”.
c. God gave you enough power to enjoy all those blessings. It says in Gen.1:28 that God sent the man and He blessed them to conquer and rule over the world.
3) Unfortunately, we had lost all of this love, blessing, and power. That is the Genesis Chapter 3 Incident in which Adam and Even fell (Original Sin).
a. The first man lost hold of God’s promise and failed. That failure still continues today. That is why endless suffering and curses are continuing. Behind those suffering and curses is a spirit that makes you fail. That is Satan. He is the “serpent” that first appeared in Gen.3. That failure continues over generations (inheritance, fate, and destiny). Your ancestors all have passed, but Satan who worked in their times never did and never will.
b. To redeem us from those failure, suffering, and curses, God has sent Christ (in Hebrew, “Messiah”). As He died on the cross, He redeemed us from the eternal curses of the Original Sin and our family (Priest). He crushed the serpent’s head as He resurrected (King). That Christ is now within us through the Holy Spirit and makes us victorious in all problems and incidents (Prophet). He proclaimed on the cross, “It is finished” (Jn.19:30).
c. God did not only solve our failure, suffering, and curses. He made us His children. Just as it is revealed in Eph.1:3-5, He made us “in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ”, and in Ro.8:15-17, “heirs of God” who will enjoy all of God’s blessings.
d. All of these blessings began the moment we accepted Christ. Joshua’s message in today’s passage is the same. God chose Abraham who would have fallen into idolatry (Jos.24:2-3). That is love (Jn.15:16). God prepared the land of blessing called Canaan for Abraham and all of his descendants and made them conquer it (Jos.24:12-13). That is God’s plan (Mt.28:18-20). God Himself fought against their enemy and made them victorious (Jos.24:17-18). That is God’s power.
2. God wants you to confess, experience, and enjoy the fact that He is the “one and only God for you and your household”. That is what we call “faith”. Faith is not doing something diligently. It is experiencing and enjoying the blessings that have been already given. “I practice diligently.” It is understandable, but it is still wrong. How do you experience and enjoy?
1) Confess with your tongue (Ro.10:10). This is not limited only to the confession you make when you first accept Christ. Even Joshua in today’s passage made that confession. Confess just like David in Ps.18:1 and 62:1-2. Confess that “No problem is a problem before Christ”.
2) Enjoy within your thoughts as you live your daily life (1The.5:16-18). It says in Deu.33:29, “Blessed are you, Israel! Who is like you, a people saved by the LORD?” You must enjoy to the extent you become grateful, happy, and bold whenever you think about the fact that you are God’s child, a saved person. Many believers’ thoughts have crumbled.
3) There must be a time in which you quietly meditate upon the Word and pray. That is when the Holy Spirit takes charge of your mind and thoughts. That is what we call “filling of the Holy Spirit” and “filling of the Word”. When the Holy Spirit takes charge, your road will be smooth. That is why it says in Jos.1:1-8, “Meditate on Book of the Law day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.”
4) The Devil will undoubtedly deceive you. He will try to make you look upon things other than God through circumstances, reality, your hidden scars, and conflicts with others. That is why in verse 23 of today’s passage it says, “Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD” and furthermore, fight against the elements that hinder your relationship with God. Those elements are what the battles in the Book of Joshua portray (four battles – circumstance, Satan, self, and as an evangelist). If you do not chase them away and decide to negotiate with them, they will become snares on your way, whips on your side, and thorns in your eyes.
“But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua first proclaimed that the Lord is his “one and only God” and second, he confessed that the Lord is his household’s “one and only God”. All we need in a family, church, and the entire nation is just one leader like Joshua. When we make that confession, God gives us the answers and blessings of “uniqueness” in everything we do. He will let us meet those who must hear our secrets and testimonies. That is what we call “evangelism of uniqueness”. All remnants must pray concerning this. “Help me to enjoy the evangelism of uniqueness in my life, studies, today and tomorrow.” I bless and hope that your whole family, your descendants, and the entire age may live through your confession of faith and resolution.