Summary: Five points to be the blessed home God desires from Joshua 24:14-15.
“A Blessed Home”
Text: Joshua 24:14-24
It is estimated that in the early 18th century, the Bald Eagle population in America was between 300,000 and a ½-million, but by the 1950s there were only 412 nesting pairs in the lower 48. Many of you will remember that much of the decline was due to DDT. The Bald Eagle was declared an endangered species by our government in 1967 and DDT was banned in 1972. I’m thankful our government has tried to protect many of these endangered animals. Due to such efforts, the bald eagle population has slowly recovered and was removed from the endangered species list in 1995 and the threatened list in 2007. But the most endangered species in our nation is the home and our government is doing very little to save it. In fact, it seems to be doing all within its power to destroy the home as God designed it. We know that a house is not a home. Yet, sometimes we put more effort into our houses than our homes. We invest more time and energy in our lawns, gardens and houses than into the homes God intends them to be. This morning I want us to spend the next few minutes talking about “A Blessed Home” – as God meant it to be. Please open your Bibles to Joshua 24 and study verses 14-15 with me for just a few minutes. Then be like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 and search your Bibles daily to make sure I’ve preached the truth of what God says.
In Joshua 24, the children of Israel have taken possession of the Promised Land and distribution of the land has been made among the tribes. Joshua has gathered all the tribes at Shechem and delivers an address from God to their leaders. I want us to take five main points from these verses this morning – convinced that God will bless our homes if we follow His advice. Point #1: “Now therefore, fear the Lord.” If we want to have blessed homes, we must fear the Lord. This doesn’t mean we need to be afraid of God but rather we must stand in awe of Him and revere Him. In the book of Proverbs, the phrase “the fear of the Lord” appears 14 of the 26 times it is found in the OT. Let me quickly cite some examples and you can infer how they apply to a blessed home. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7). “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil” (Proverbs 8:13). The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10). “The fear of the Lord prolongs days” (Proverbs 10:27). “The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life” (Proverbs 14:27). I believe Hannah in 1 Samuel 1 was a woman and wife who feared the Lord. As a result, if the Lord would bless her with a son, she was willing to give him to the Lord all the days of his life. We need mothers who are willing to do that today with their sons and daughters. We need mothers and fathers who are praying for their sons to become godly husbands and fathers, gospel preachers, song leaders, Bible teachers, deacons and elders. We need mothers and fathers praying for their daughters to be godly wives and mothers, to marry godly men who are gospel preachers, song leaders and Bible teachers and will some day become deacons and elders. Perhaps we’ve put more stress on our children getting an education to make money than to better serve God. We read in Ecclesiastes 12:13 what the wisest man concluded: Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, For this is man’s all. We’ve mentioned some of the things involved in fearing the Lord including sacrificing some of our desires for our children. Now turn with me to Genesis 22 where we find the account of God requiring Abraham to sacrifice His only begotten son Isaac. You know the story how Abraham obeyed God and was ready to slay him with his knife. But notice verse 12 as the Angel of the Lord speaks to Abraham: “Do not lay your hand on the lad, or do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.” Not only must we fear the Lord, but – point #2, we must also serve Him in sincerity. This and the third point both require serving the Lord. They are perfect follow-ons to fearing the Lord. Turn with me to Deuteronomy 10:12-13 and I think we’ll find the same is true today – “And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the LORD and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” There are at least two ways of serving God demanded of us. One is in regular worship of our Lord. Psalm 100 expresses this well: