So far We had studied the choices made by different characters in the bible. In this study we studied the following characters so Far
Now let us consider the choice of Joshua
The Choice Of Joshua
“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 (Jos 24:15)
That is the choice of Joshua with regards to his faith. He is sure of his choice for he said “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord”. Joshua knew that he was to depart from the world soon and he wanted to do one more thing for the Lord. One that he regarded as the most important Israel. He wanted them to confirm their choice to follow God. As he had declared on the verse above.
Today there are some Christians who thinks serving Jesus is not something good. Even though God had great power but he refuse to help them with their problem. They claimed that even though God is rich in heaven, yet he allowed many Christians to remain in poverty.
Today if we think that it is not good to serve the Lord, let us choose who we should serve today. There should not be a compulsion in faith, for God would not force us to worship him. For faith that arise from compulsion is not true faith, for true faith comes from within our hearts. We must be willing to believe in Jesus.
Perhaps we all have different experiences on how we came to believe in Jesus. God uses different ways and method to lead us to him. But regardless of what that our experiences may be, God require us to be serious in our faith since we have chosen to believe in him.
Joshua understood that the strength and might of Israel lies not in her army and wealth. but in their faith in God. Therefore he gathered everyone to reaffirm their faith once more before he dies.
The Importance Of Reaffirming our faith
These people are not gathered before the face of Joshua. Joshua wanted to lead them before the Lord so that they would make their choice. If Israel feel that it is no good to serve the Lord. They must make a choice to choose whom they will serve from now on. As far as Joshua and his house are concern, they chose to serve the Lord. That was the last deed Joshua did for the people of Israel. That is something that he regard as important.
Likewise it is important for us to reaffirm our faith. There are times we need to make our choice once again. Especially when we are faced with difficulties that make us murmur against God. . When these difficulties make us wonder whether we should continue with our faith. When these difficulties creates doubts within us and make ask ask “Have we chosen to follow God correctly? Can our faith really save us?”
There are times when everyone else is attacking the faith that we hold dearly. Are we able to continue to have faith in God? There are many things that can make us doubt, especially when we see the weakness and imperfection within the church, when we encounter troubles and set back in life, when we are maligned and slandered by others within the church.
Sometimes events like this make us feel weak and cause us to murmur against the Lord. We asked Where are you God? Why cant you see my suffering?”. Even though we sing hymns like “Thou Thinkest Lord of me” we wonder if God really saw our suffering and if he really thinks of us often.
Can we still persist in our faith and to move ahead? If we cannot do so, we will eventually stop praying and stop coming to church. Initially our conscience may compel us to come a few more time, but that pricking will eventually be quenched.
That is why there is a need to re-affirm our faith. It is important when we encounter events that sadden us and make it hard for us continue in our faith. That is when we need to re-examine ourselves to see if our faith is true. If we feel that God is unworthy of our worship, we better make that choice once again.
Joshua chose to serve the Lord always, what will our choice be?
The Need To Re-Affirm Our Faith
Today as we travel on this path to heaven, here are bound to be much troubles. These mishaps and problems robs us of our happiness, sometimes they hurt our family and sometimes they hurt the church as well.
In the face of all these troubles, the author of Hebrews encourage us.
“Therefore strengthen the
hands which hang down,
and the feeble knees,” –Author Of Hebrews (Heb 12:12)
There are many things in life that tires us, it hangs our hands down, and it makes our knees feeble. During those times, we may not have the strength to continue in faith, to worship and pray to God.
So how can we strengthen our hands and legs?
That is when we need to reaffirm our faith and make that choice to follow God once again. We need to ask ourselves “Are we willing to believe in him and continue?”
There was a Scottish evangelist called David Livingstone, he served, preached and died in Africa. He is a a missionary that won the respect of all denominations. For he had given up his life to preach the gospel of Christ.
The Africa we see today is not too different from the Africa in his days, there are wars, battle, under development. Yet he found courage to go into Africa, his love moved many to respect him.
But why was he able to be that strong? Have he ever regretted his decision to serve in Africa? Had he ever thought of returning home? Indeed there are times where he regretted, there are times he wanted to return home. But whenever he had such thoughts he wrote “My Jesus, my King, my Life, my All, I again dedicate my whole self to Thee”
David Livingstone died of Malaria in Africa and he left behind a diary. That phrase appeared many times in his diary. So whenever we feel tired, our hands droop and our knees became weak. But we need to make our choice once again.
We need to choose if we will still believe in Jesus and to follow him to the end. By choosing again, we will find the courage to continue walking. We will not focus on the suffering before us, for we know t
By making that choice once again , we will find the courage to continue walking. We will not just focus on the suffering that is before us. For we know that Christ had suffered for our sake. Indeed he was afraid of the death on the cross and he did not want to drink that bitter cup. But Jesus did it for the sake of all of us. The salvation which we received is the result of that sacrifice. That salvation allow us to be reconciled with God today.
Re-Affirm Faith By Counting Our Blessing
Is there other ways to re-affirm our faith with Christ? Joshua had left us a great example. Before he made Israel choose, he reminded them to take a look at their history. He told them to consider how the Lord have love and protected them.
Jos 24:3-14 records of Joshua talking about the grace of God. If we can count our blessing, it can help us reaffirm our faith. These blessings remind us of the love of God. Sadly, we often count our troubles and not our blessing, that is why we ask God “Why did you not grant us peace?”
So are we counting our blessings or listing our troubles? Often we murmur against God because we did not get our request from the Lord. Other times we choose to focus our sights on what other receives
Lets consider these two scenarios
If one were to receive an apple, he would be happy, but if he were to focus on the bag of apples from the giver. He would find it hard to be thankful. He may even think to himself “Why is he so stingy to give me one apple only?”
There was a man who was too poor to buy shoes and he came before God murmuring “Why am i not blessed with shoes?” There was another man who was a distance away and he said “Lord I thank you for all that you have done.”
Initially the first man thought that the second man was thanking God for the shoes he had, but as he look towards him, he saw a man on a wheel chair, he had lost both his legs in an accident.
At that point, the man on the wheelchair was praying “Lord I thank you for allowing me to live. Even though I lost both my legs, but I thank God for the wheelchair as well as for those men who had came to help me.
Many a times we lose our hearts of thanksgiving when we fail to see what we received from the Lord. We tend to think of only the things we do not have. We received an apple but we are jealous when others had a bag of apple.
If we want a heart of thanksgiving, we need to change our mind-sets. We need to rely on God and praise him with all our hearts. That is why Joshua reminded the people of the grace they receive from God.
Let us examine the sermon of Joshua in greater details.
Pt 1: It Is a Blessing To Be Able To Know and Worship God
“Your fathers, including Terah, the father
of Abraham and the father of Nahor,
dwelt on the other side of the River
in old times; and they served other gods.
Then I took your father Abraham from
the other side of the River, led him
throughout all the land of Canaan, and
multiplied his descendants and gave him
Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau.
To Esau I gave the mountains of Seir to
possess, but Jacob and his children went
down to Egypt.” –YHWH (Jos 24:2-4)
If Abraham had not crossed the river Euphrates, Israel would not have existed. Abraham and his families were idol worshippers in the land Of Ur Of the Chaldeans. Over here God told Israel that it was he who had took Abraham and allowed him to know God.
Why did God chose Abraham?
There was some old Jewish tradition talking about the life of Abraham in Ur. Even though no one can confirm the authenticity of the source. but these stories gave an insight to why God had chosen Abraham.
One such story tells us that Abraham and his father are idol worshippers who made idols for a living. Once when Abraham and Terah were cutting a tree, Abraham remarked
“Isn’t it strange that half the wood were used to make idols and the half of it was used for our chair? If these idols are God then we should not be doing this”
Terah rebuked him for making such remarks.
One day when Terah left the house for a journey, he placed the shop under the care of Abraham. When Terah returns it looks as if war had broken out and all the idols were smashed. The largest Idol was holding a stick in his hand.
When Terah asked about what happened, Abraham replied
“There was a fight among the Idols, the biggest idol destroyed the rest of the idols. I was afraid so I hid myself while they are fighting”
Terah replied “I am sure you are the one responsible, how could wooden idols fight?”
Abraham said “Now you said it yourself, you know that they are not Gods. These idols are not God and they were made by man, they are false gods. For the True God is one who created man, why then do we deceive others? We must worship the true God who created man. Even though I do not know him now, but i must seek him for he had created our world.”
Therefore God was pleased with Abraham and he chose to appear to him.
The God we worship today is the creator who had chosen Abraham. He had likewise chosen us and allow us to know him. As the result we are now blessed. That God came to us as man, even though we did not see him with our eyes, but we know him through the bible.
He had given us his Holy Spirit and that is a proof that he is alive.
Isn’t this a great blessing from God? Isn’t this faith something we should spend our time pursuing?
Pt 2: It is a Blessing To Be Free From Bondage
“Also I sent Moses and Aaron, and
I plagued Egypt, according to what
I did among them. Afterward I
brought you out.
Then I brought your fathers out of
Egypt, and you came to the sea; and
the Egyptians pursued your fathers
with chariots and horsemen to the
Red Sea. So they cried out to the Lord;
and He put darkness between you and
the Egyptians, brought the sea upon
them, and covered them. And your
eyes saw what I did in Egypt. Then you
dwelt in the wilderness a long time.” – YHWH (Jos 24:5-7)
For a while the Israelites moved into Egypt by the grace of God. God had made Joseph premier of Egypt in order to save his family. There was a famine in the land for 7 years, and God sent Joseph into Egypt to save them.
After the death of Joseph, a new King arose and who did not know the Lord as well as Joseph. The Israelites became slaves in Egypt, under the bondage of the Egyptians. God saved them through Moses and Israel left Egypt as free people. They journeyed in the wilderness and they worshipped God. These people are no longer slaves and it is their God who saved them.
When the Pharaoh did not let Israel go, God sent 10 plagues into Egypt. Eventually as they cross the red sea, they cheer and praised God. For they are no longer slaves in Egypt.
Today we have freedom to become the child of God and to worship him. For Jesus had died for our sins and have forgiven them. As the result we are reconciled with God and we can face the judgement of God with no fear.
This is indeed a blessing to be the child of God. Even though we cannot see God but we know he will come and judge us one day. We may or may not see the last days, but we will definitely face death.
But Jesus had prepared a place for us where we can have eternal peace. He had given us the Holy Spirit as a proof and all believers will know it is true. Whenever we partake of the Holy Communion we are reminded of his death and his salvation. For we know that he died for our sins.
That is why we need to re-affirm this faith , and we need to be truthful before the Lord. We need to know if we would still continue to follow him.
Our Response To Blessings And Grace From God
“Now therefore, fear the Lord,
serve Him in sincerity and in truth,
and put away the gods which your
fathers served on the other side of
the River and in Egypt. Serve the
Lord! “ – Joshua (Jos 24:14)
We need to fear God and serve him with sincerity and in truth. Since we had chosen to serve him, we need to do it with sincerity and truth. In another words our faith must be true and that is important.
For there are many who are not true in their faith, and there are many who claims to follow Jesus. But people are unable to see his faith through his action. It appears as if their faith is mere speech. A faith that is mere speech cannot save a person.
Jesus once told us that a time will come when believers ought to worship God in spirit and in truth. We need to worship God with our true self. Our faith should not be a show for others to watch. For Jesus once rebuke the Pharisees
“These people draw near
to Me with their mouth,
And honor Me with their lips,
But their heart is far from Me.
And in vain they worship Me,
Teaching as doctrines the
commandments of men.” – Jesus (Matt 15:8-9)
Jesus called them hypocrites who honour God only with their lips, but their hearts were far away from God. These men knew the teaching of God but they followed the instruction of man.Jesus said that they worshiped in vain.
It will be pity if our worship of God is in vain. Therefore we need to re-examine our faith to see if we truly worship God with a true heart. We are the children of God but do we have the same heart of God?
Will our actions bring anxiety to God and make him indignant? Are we glorifying God or are we bringing shame to his name?
Jesus can see the heart of the people when they come to worship. Therefore he reminds us to worship God in spirit and in truth. For it is the worship that God loves. God does not look at external appearances, but he looks into our heart.
Since we have made our resolve to follow him, let us worship him fully. Let us repent and be serious as we listen to his words. Let us not allow our faith and our worship to be in vain.
Let us constantly re-affirm our faith , by asking ourselves
1. “Do we truly believe Jesus as our saviour?”
2. “If we believe, How Should I Be worshipping him?”
3. “How should I follow and Obey The Words Of Jesus?”
May God help us and may we reaffirm our faith always