Summary: My destiny is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice
Life is full of choices. In fact, this morning all of us here have already made a number of choices today that will impact how this day turns out, haven’t we?
For many of us, the morning began with the choice of whether or not to get out of bed when the alarm clock went off. And then that choice led to a whole string of other choices:
• Am I going to take time to read my Bible and pray?
• What am I going to eat for breakfast?
• Am I going to go to church today?
• What am I going to wear?
• Which route am I going to take to get to church? That one is a particularly difficult one when almost every road between your home and the church is under construction.
So every day we have a string of those moment-by-moment choices that each impact to a large degree how my day is going to turn out.
We also all have larger life choices that also have a tremendous influence on our lives:
• Am I going to get married, and, if so, to whom?
• Am I going to have kids?
• Which job am I going to take?
• How will I handle my finances?
• How am I going to allocate my time?
• What am I going to do to maintain my health?
And every one of those choices also have a tremendous impact on what my life is going to look like, so it’s important that I make wise choices.
But this morning, we’re going to look at a choice that is far more important than any of the kinds of choices I’ve already mentioned because it the fundamental choice that will not only impact the kinds of choices that I’ve already mentioned, but which will ultimately determine my destiny. That is because…
My destiny is not a matter of chance,
it’s a matter of choice
So many times we look around at other people who seem to have things so much better or so much easier that we do and to think that the only reason they are in that position is purely a matter of chance. They were born into wealth or they got some breaks along the way or they knew the right people. And you know what, as far as their earthly destiny, that might very well be true for a season. But when it comes to their eternal destiny, that destiny, just like all of ours, is 100% dependent on one crucial choice, not just chance.
In a moment, we’ll take some time to unpack that choice in some more detail.
But before we do that, we need to do what we’ve been doing each week in this journey through the Old Testament and set the stage. But this morning, I’m going to do that in a different way. This week, I ran across a video that provides the proper context in a very interesting way. So let’s watch that video.
[Play The Bible Project video on the Book of Joshua]
The choice that we all have to make today is the same choice that the Israelites had to make there at Shechem – What are we going to do? Are we going to choose to be faithful to God and experience a destiny that is full of life and blessing or will we choose to be unfaithful to God and experience a destiny of divine justice and exile?
I’m pretty sure that all of us here this morning would immediately say that our choice is to be faithful to God, right? But before we’re too quick to do that, let’s look at how Joshua addresses the nation of Israel when they, too, are quick to voice that choice without really thinking through the consequences of that choice.
Go ahead and turn to Joshua chapter 24 and follow along. I’m actually going to begin in the middle of the chapter, in verse 14:
[Read Joshua 24:14-15]
That part of the passage is probably pretty familiar to most of us isn’t it? Some of you probably even have some kind of plaque in your house with verse 15 written on it – “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” But as we’re going to see this morning, making that choice requires a lot more than just putting a plaque with those words in your house.
Let’s continue and see how the people respond to Joshua’s challenge:
[Read Joshua 24:16-18]
The people immediately respond. “We will serve the Lord. We’ve seen what He has done on our behalf and we’re ready to serve Him.”
But Joshua is not so ready to just take their words at face value. He has seen what their hearts are like and he wants them to consider the cost of that commitment. Let’s look at his response: