Summary: Joshua #8
GET OFF THE FENCE!
Put yourself in this situation:
You’ve just learned from your Dr. that you only have a few weeks to live. Your pastor, knowing of your situation, invites you to give a farewell address to your church. What do you tell him?
What do you tell the church? What are your last words that you would like to leave with your loving church family?
The man Joshua found himself in a similar situation. He knew he would soon die, so he gives a farewell speech to the people of Israel and its leaders. You can be sure he won’t fritter away these precious moments in small talk. Every word will be loaded with importance. His words are recorded for us in Joshua 24. Let’s listen in... because his challenge to the people of Israel is our challenge as well.
(Turn there and read 24:14-31)
Joshua challenges the people of Israel to make a decision.
There’s no room for half-heartedness... no place for the lukewarm heart.
Joshua asks the people to make a decision.
And, this morning, God is asking you to make a decision.
Before describing what exactly Joshua was asking the people of Israel to do and what God is asking us to do today, let’s back up a little and see where Joshua and the people were and what kind of person was giving this
charge & challenge.
(1) Background to where the people of Israel were:
The land was now conquered for the most part, except for pockets of resistance here and there. The land had been divided up to the different tribes to finish taking the land. Joshua was dying. He was ready to pass on.
(2) The person of Joshua:
What kind of person was he? He was a man who practiced what he preached. He was telling the people, "You may be hesitant to follow God, but my mind is made up. AS FOR ME AND MY HOUSE, WE WILL SERVE THE LORD! We’re on God’s side! We’re following God!"
Was he just saying that? NO! He lived it! Like his good friend and buddy Caleb, he "followed the Lord wholeheartedly." He belonged to God lock-stock-and-barrel. He belonged to God with all his heart, mind, soul, and spirit. He wasn’t making some sort of idle boast here. He truly did serve the Lord.
Now, here you might be thinking, "Boy, you know what, that is really nice! Doesn’t Joshua show the courage of commitment? I need that kind of courage to commit myself to God in that way. I should really decide to give myself totally to God."
And, you know what? You’re right! It’s not enough to admire it in another person! You’ve got to move beyond that point to where you personally take a stand for God.
But, what specifically is God asking you to do? What is the choice that needs to be made? Let’s examine in more detail the charge given to Joshua:
I. THE CHARGE GIVEN (24:14-15)
So, what was the charge given? What was the challenge Joshua was offering the people?
Joshua was talking specifically to the FENCESITTERS.
Joshua was talking to the BETWEENITES.
He was talking specifically to the people who want the best of both worlds,
Those people who want the praise of the world, but yet want Jesus.
He was talking to those people who really haven’t given their all to God.
He was talking to those people who haven’t really made up their minds about their commitment to God.
Joshua was bringing these people to a point where they were forced to make a decision. The time is now to make up your mind! Decide now!
If it seems undesirable for you to serve the Lord,
...if you don’t want to lay your life on the line...if you don’t want to live for Him...if you don’t want to worship Him... if you don’t want to serve Him
...if you don’t want to put Him first in everything ... If that’s not what you want to do, then at least make up your mind who you are going to serve.
Who or what are you going to worship?
Make your choice! Make up your mind!
What’s involved in making up your mind? For the Israelites, it meant getting rid of some idols in their lives (see Joshua 24:14).
Isn’t that amazing and unbelievable that they still had idols after all that God had done for them? Look at all that God had done for them: (Read 24:2-13) Notice the 18 times "I" is mentioned.
Isn’t it unbelievable that they still had idols?
After the crossing of the Jordan River,
After the walls of Jericho came down,
After their victories in their new land,
In spite of all this, they still had idols!