And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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.” Joshua 24:15
This is one of the most famous verses in the Bible about choice. They are powerful words from a leader who is completely sure of his choice. He will serve the Lord. If you look closely at the statement you realize that Joshua is doing something very important and clever.
There are three groups that he highlights- three types of ‘gods’. The first are those from the past ‘from the other side of the river. It’s not by accident that he uses the words ‘which your fathers served’ because they truly were slaves, who served those on the other side of the river, in Egypt.
The second group that is mentioned is the here and now, the gods ‘in whose land you dwell’. Again he perfectly chooses his words. He tells them that they are the gods of the Amorites, the same people that they conquered and took their land from.
Without saying it outright, he is calling all the people there fools for their choices in gods. Why would you worship the gods of your slave owners? What did you ever gain in Egypt except broken backs and poverty? Why would you want to worship the gods of such horrible people?
Likewise, why would you want to worship the gods of a conquered people, especially if you were the ones doing the conquering? They lost and proved their gods worthless. Why choose what the losers have?
Then there is the third choice. Notice he says, ‘if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD’. What was going on at that time that Israel, the people of God would think it evil to worship him? It’s amazing how we can become so confused in what is right and wrong, good and evil.
If they truly listened to the words of Joshua, they would see that God is the one that delivered them from Egypt and he was also the one who helped them conquer the Amorites. God is not the loser or the evil one. He is the winner and the good and only God.
Joshua knew this and that is why he could stand up without wavering to his devotion to God. How about you? Are you completely sure in who your God is and what he’s done for you? If you are, stand up and proclaim it, just as Joshua did.
Pr. Steven Couto