Summary: What was involved when Joshua said "as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."
“But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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 24:14-15)
1, Even though the whole world may serve other gods,
Joshua and Caleb were the only two of the spies who said that with God's help they could take the promised land. Joshua was willing to stand by his faith against the greatest of odds to serve God. Consequently only he and Caleb out of 600,000 men moved into the promised land, to which Joshua moved with similar spiritual strength. Now, just before his death, summoning all the Israelites at Shechem, he again demonstrated his willing to stand by his faith in his last sermon. Having explained all that God had done from His calling Abraham to Canaan, sending his descendants to Egypt, to the Exodus and their conquering and settling in the promised land, Joshua declared “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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.”
The people of Israel in Joshua's day were serving God halfheartedly. In reality, this means they were serving other gods. Choosing the one true God means giving our total, wholehearted commitment to him alone. But, this has to start from myself and my family.
2. Even though I have just few days to live
When Joshua shared this message to the people, Joshua was about to die.
Years earlier Joshua had made choice numerous times to serve the Lord only. Yet he would continue to do so daily, choosing God over and over again throughout his life, until his last day Age factor shouldn’t be an issue in serving the Lord. Joshua set the example that we could serve the Lord till the very last day of our lives as a Hymn writer notes “This be the parting cry My heart shall raise; This is still its prayer shall be; More love, O CHrist, to Thee, More love to Thee, More love to Thee.” As yet another hymn writer says, “Praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath; And say, when the death dew lies cold on my brow; if ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ‘this now.”
3, Even though there are so many other important and urgent decisions to make, this would be Joshua's primary decision
“Choose your god.” While there were many other important decisions to make because Joshua as the leader of the nation was about to die, he emphasized “choosing your god” as primary matter. Since this could be the last reunion of the people with him, he could have talked about the next leader, how to cooperate among tribes and how to maintain national unity, or even repentance on national level. Yet, he didn’t talk about any of those, but about “Choose your god” to each one of them as individual.
Joshua knew that without them and their family serving the Lord their God, all other matters - no matter how important they may sound - such as able leader, national unity and national prosperity wouldn’t be meaningless. As concerned as Joshua was about the children of Israel, he knew that he and his family must live by their faith IN GOD, not Israel(the majority). If men do not stand up and take the spiritual lead of their house, they may face accompanying each other in Hell. It does not matter what else you, as a man, accomplish in this life if you fail as a Christian and spiritual leader to your family.
As the generation of Israelites surrounded by the gods of their day, our generation is also surrounded by many gods -everything that we are more attached to than God Himself - thus as Joshua declared to His own generation we also need to declare “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”