Summary: Like Joshua I believe it is time for Pastors to make it clear to Christians in America that it’s time to choose whom they are going to serve!
Title: Choose For Yourself
Text: Joshua 24:14-15
Location: Sulphur Spring Baptist Church
Introduction: Today is the last Sunday in our month long emphasis of “Praying 4 America,” but I hope you will continue to pray for our nation. We have a Presidential Election in 9 days that is very important and whoever is elected will have a difficult job ahead of them. Not only are we in one of the most critical economic downturns since the Great Depression but as a nation we a more divided now than we’ve been since the Civil War. You may find that hard to believe that but let me give you something to think about.
It may not be 1860 but social issues like abortion and gay marriage have divided us in the same way that slavery divided America back in the 19th Century.
It may not be the 1960’s but like it or not we are still divided in many respects along racial lines. Only now it’s not just white and black, it’s white, black, and Hispanic.
It may not be 1970 but we are just as divided today over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as we were about the war in Vietnam then.
As bad as it was during all three of these periods in American History there was something that united us, something that held us together. I believe that something was our faith in God, and our understanding that He had something to do with making this country into the greatest nation on the face of the earth.
Today, however I’m convinced that we are no longer “One Nation Under God” but instead are a polytheistic nation that serves and worships many gods.
A growing number of people in America want to take the words “In God we Trust” off of our currency and I’m afraid it’s only a matter of time before they succeed in doing it.
So I personally believe that one of the most difficult tasks our new President will have during his first 4 years in office is not just trying to unite our nation but keeping it from falling apart.
That’s one of the things that Politicians and Pastors have in common. Dr. Glenn Armstrong the former Pastor of Beaver Dam Baptist church, in Beaver Dam where my wife Mary Anne grew up is a good example. Some of you may remember that Brother Armstrong came and did a revival for us about 8 years ago. Anyway Bro. Armstrong was the pastor of that church for 40 years, before retiring a couple of years ago. I believe one of the reasons that he didn’t retire sooner was he was afraid of what might happen to the church after he retired and I guess I can kind of understand that. When you put that much of your life and energy into something you certainly don’t want it to fall apart or split after you’re gone.
It wouldn’t surprise me if that wasn’t how Joshua felt after leading the nation of Israel for so long. Joshua had been a young man when Moses came back to Egypt and led the Israelites out of slavery. Moses quickly saw that there was something special about Joshua and put him in charge of military. In time it became evident that God had his hand on Joshua and Moses made him his right hand man.
From that day forward everywhere Moses went Joshua went. He was even on Mt. Sinai when God gave Moses the 10 Commandments.
Joshua loved the people of Israel and since becoming their leader after Moses died he had done his best to be a godly leader. God had promised him that He would be with him, just as He had been with Moses and God had kept His word. Under Joshua’s leadership God had enabled the Israelites to conquer the Promise Land.
But now, Joshua was no longer a young man, in fact he was somewhere between 100-110 years of age. Like Moses before him Joshua realized that his time on earth was drawing to a close so He called the nation of Israel together one last time. He called all of the elders, the leaders of the people from the greatest to the smallest to meet him at the foot of Mt. Ebal near the city of Schehem. The same place where 20 years earlier he had stood before them and led them in thanking God for defeating their enemies and giving them the Land of Caanan. The same place where he encouraged the Israelites to renew their covenant with the Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
Twenty years had passed each tribe and each family had been given a portion of the Land. The Lord had kept His promise to them and the nation of Israel had enjoyed an extended period of peace in their new Homeland. But Joshua had an uneasy feeling in his stomach. He remembered how quickly the Israelites had turned their backs on God when they first came out of the Land of Egypt. He remembered walking down Mt. Sinai with Moses and seeing the Israelites bowing down and worshipping a golden calf.