Summary: First in series. Choosing our identity.
"Choose You This Day"
Intro: Who is in control of your life?
Simple question. Easy answer.
"We’re in control"
nobody forced us to be here
nobody told us when to wake up
nobody told us what to wear
nobody told us what to eat for breakfast
We are in control of our own lives.
To even ask the question presupposes the anser- "Your life". Obviously "we" should be in control of "our" life.
Self Sufficiency– hallmark of the American entrepreneurial spirit
The pinnacle of this ideal is to be fully in control of one’s life
-employment: self employed
free to choose hours
free to choose wages
-income: financial freedom (commercial)
-now and in retirement
-family: when to marry
when to have kids
-self: faculties of mind
We are taught to admire such people: The Rockefellers, the Carnegies, the Sam Waltons, the Bill Gates of America. Forever we strive to emulate their success. Their success is analyzed and critiqued. If we follow steps a, b, & c as prescribed under the conditions of d, e, & f, then we will inevitably arrive at the desired result of g. Game Over. We are successful.
Religiosity and Control
Israelites faced the same dilemma of self sufficiency. They had witnessed God’s power of deliverance. They "saw the Egyptians dead upon the seashore." (Exodus 14:30) They knew God was a God of redemptive ability, but they faced a new battle in the wilderness.
God had great power to redeem Israel out of Egypt, but could He provide for the everyday.
While in Egypt they knew the formula for success- work hard, please Pharaoh.
Now, new area, new rules for living. If they were going to survive, the knew they had to learn the latest, local formula for success.
Inhabitants were quick to teach Ba’alism, Idolatry.
God was great for defeating Pharaohs, crossing Red Seas. But, when it came to the needs of daily life the formula for success was Ba’alism.
Manipulate the gods, you get what you want. The quintessential of that most unbiblical of proverbs: "The Lord helps those who help themselves."
Success and the Success Giver
Joshua reminds the people who is really in control, and whose they are.
Look with me at the way in which Joshua’s challenge to the people begins in the opening 13 verses of chapter 24. Speaking on behalf of the Lord, Joshua declares: "I took your father Abraham . . . I gave him Isaac . . . I gave Jacob and Esau . . . I sent Moses and Aaron . . . I plagued Egypt . . . I brought you out . . . I brought your ancestors from Egypt . . . your eyes saw what I did to Egypt . . . I brought you to the land of the Amorites . . . I handed them over to you . . . I destroyed them before you . . . I rescued you out of Balaam’s hand . . . I handed the Amorites, Perizites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, and Jebusites over to you . . . I gave you a land on which you had not labored and towns that you had not built." Repeatedly Joshua reminds the people of their unique identity. Over and over again, we hear God say through Joshua, "I . . . I . . . I!"
They did not earn it.
"Israel, you are the chosen people of the Lord your God. There are many nations on this earth, but he chose only Israel to be his very own. You were the weakest of all nations, but the Lord chose you because he loves you.." Deuteronomy 7:6-8 (CEV)
It was freely given.
Choose You This Day
To be the people of God we must make the choice.
1. Self-Sufficient or God-Sufficient (vss 13,16)
"Jesus told his disciples, "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Matthew 16:24 (RSV)
"Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. "Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self." Matthew 16:24-25 (TM)
"But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
2. Religiosity or Religion (vs14)
"Doing something for you, bringing something to you– that’s not what you’re after. Being religious, acting pious– that’s not what you’re asking for." Psalm 40:6 (TM)
"You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings." Psalm 51:16 (NIV)