Summary: The challenge to get rid of our gods and serve God in all faithfulness
Some decisions in life are not really that important and won’t be remembered. Let me ask you – Can you remember what you bought for everyone last Christmas? Can you remember what you had for breakfast on this day last year? Can you remember the first time you ate porridge? Other decisions are really important – the choice to get married and to whom. The career you choose to follow. For some the choice of football team you support is important. We make many decisions during our lifetime and some are inconsequential whilst others affect us, our families and a wider circle of people. But then you all know that but maybe this morning it would be good just to stop and think about the decisions you make as we begin a new year at HTW.
Turn with me to Joshua 24 verses 14-27. Joshua is now 110 years old. He has led the people of Israel for 67 years. He, along with Caleb, are the only two survivors of the generation who came out of Egypt, crossed the Red Sea and wandered in the wilderness for 40 years because of their disobedience. He and Caleb, alone out of that generation, entered the Promised Land. Joshua has come to the end of his life and he gathers the people before him to give them one last instruction from God. The people no doubt gathered to hear him as much out of respect for this long-lived, and it would seem much loved, leader.
In Africa the Christian people have a habit of saying “God is good, all the time, God is good., because that is His nature.” In verses 1-13 God speaks through Joshua and tells the people all that He has done for them. 16 times we read ‘I’ for ‘God.’ Joshua outlines all the good things that God has done for them in bringing them out of slavery into the Promised Land. I wonder if you and I took an hour this week and wrote down for 2007 alone all the good things that God had done for us – every meal, every blessing, every time He held us up when we were falling or struggling – it would be some list in my life. Joshua calls the people of God to remember what God has done for them.
Verses 14-15 then Joshua lays before them a challenge – read the verses. Look again at the first sentence – in light of verses 1-13 – all that God has done for you – here is what you are to do towards God. Note how it begins – ‘Fear the Lord’ – as the writer of Proverbs said ‘the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.’ The fear of the Lord is something we have lost in the church today and amongst God’s people. We race into worship without a thought or a care. We forget into whose presence we come. We come with hearts unprepared and minds straying all over the place let me give you a perfect example of the lack of fear of the Lord at HTW – when we sit and chit chat the whole way through HC. You know in 1953 when they televised the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II they did not televise her receiving HC because it was considered so sacred – the secular media thought it more sacred than some of you do on a Sunday morning.