Summary: We can sense in the strength of this one famous statement that Joshua was a man who knew who he was, who knew what he believed, and who was willing to live in such a way as to back up his words with his actions.
INTRO: Why do we admire Joshua? Why has this moment in time been immortalized, serving as an inspiration to so many people down through the years? Why does it still touch some place deep inside our hearts when we hear those famous words, "As for me & my house…?"
The reason this phrase is so well remembered is because, even though none of us have ever met the man, something resonates inside of us that makes us want to "be the man." We can sense in the strength of this one famous statement that Joshua was a man who knew who he was, who knew what he believed, and who was willing to live in such a way as to back up his words with his actions. He was a living example of godliness. Respected because he was "the real deal." When he walked into a room everyone listened. He was a man of God.
When my Grandpa Nicholson died at nearly 91 years of age, my uncle had his casket draped in the Christian flag, which was later folded and presented to my Grandma military style at the graveside service. My uncle explained that many American soldiers received the same honor when they died because they had served their country with great pride and valor. I can still remember my uncle’s words: "Dad never served in the Armed Forces of the United States but today we present my mother with the Christian Flag because Carl Nicholson was a soldier of the Cross." I wanted to stand up and salute. I left that place inspired and determined more than ever to live for Jesus.
As the preacher summed up Grandpa’s life, I couldn’t help but think, "Jesus, please let my life make a difference like Grandpa’s has! When it’s all said and done for me, I hope the preacher won’t have to work hard to find something good to say. May my children grow up to serve the Lord because they saw something in me that made them want my God. Help me to make the most out of this brief life you’ve given me. Help me not to ’lay up treasures on earth…’ Lord, please help me stand tall for you!" Godly men like Joshua and my Grandfather were respected, not so much because of what they said, but because of the way they lived.
Here we have Joshua, the anointed apprentice who took Moses’ place of leadership when the Israelites entered and conquered the Promised Land. Joshua, the veteran warrior who had so often shown great bravery on the field of battle. Joshua, whom the people had grown to love and respect because of his faith and trust in God; now old and bent and at the end of his life calling for a special meeting. Sensing that his people were wavering towards compromise, he steps up to make his last and perhaps his greatest speech. He could have never known, as that large crowd came to a hush, that his words would carry far beyond that moment and that group of people to countless thousands down through the years - including us here this morning.
It was time for a man of God to take a stand. "People, it’s decision time. You can either serve the God who blessed and brought you into this land or you can turn your back on Him and act like the pagan people around you - marrying their sons and daughters and adopting their false religions. Today you’ve got to decide. Your future - our future - the future of our sons and daughters depends on the choice you make." Then he gathered his family around him. His sons and daughters. His grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He huddled them together, reached his arms around the ones closest to him and said, "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." And in that moment with his life, his character, his courage and his convictions - this one man impacted not only his family; God used him to impact every family and to hold together a nation on the verge of compromise.