A Challenge to Choose

Dan S. Shipley

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 Armorites, in whose land ye dwell; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Josh. 24:15).

Those who claim to be Christians need confronting with this choice encouraged by Joshua in the long ago. Not, of course, that allegiance to these same false gods is the problem, but there are other kinds of “masters” that are equally effective in stealing the affections of God’s people. In fact, these modern masters may be even more dangerous because men serve them while thinking themselves to be serving the true God. Does it seem strange that professed believers should be challenged to make a choice about serving God? It shouldn’t. When have the ranks of God’s followers NOT been infected with a Laodicean-like lethargy? (except, perhaps, in the earliest days of the church) — and, when more than NOW? Those who say and do not, the lukewarm, the vacillating, the unfaithful and undependable who call themselves Christians need to be challenged to MAKE UP THEIR MINDS ABOUT SERVING THE LORD!

No doubt, however, many would be insulted with such a challenge. Some have not understood the difference between being religious and serving the Lord. That’s why it is not unusual to hear of “Christians” who become incensed at the suggestion that they have become unfaithful or “quit the church” just because they have not been in attendance for several months or even years. Like Joshua’s audience they need to make a decision — about serving the Lord. None will ever decide a more important issue — and it’s a decision in which every man must stand alone.

Accordingly, Joshua says, “as for me”. He was not concerned about which way the majority may go, nor was he interested in public opinion. His was not a “second-hand” faith standing on borrowed convictions. He had made up his own mind about serving God and expected the people to do likewise. The Joshua spirit is sorely needed among God’s people today! For too long, too many have allowed others to do their thinking and make their decisions, even in matters of faith. No elder, no preacher and no parent can decide a matter of faith for any man. In the lamentable division that has come between God’s people, many have learned to parrot certain prejudicial and derogatory phrases with which to “answer” the other side, but have no real personal convictions based on Bible truth. Me is the only one I can decide for about anything. Therefore, me needs to be informed, me must weigh the evidence, and me must take a stand independent of all else and all others. Only then can we say with meaning, “As for me….”. But the decision to serve the Lord is not only personal, it is urgent.

For that reason, Joshua says, “choose you this day.” This day is not enhanced by yesterday’s victories nor tomorrow’s good intentions, but only by redeeming its precious hours for the Lord.

Plain Talk, Vol.XVII No.I Pg.3

March, 1980