Directions for Living the Dream
"And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat. 14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. 19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. 23 Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. 24 And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."
Introduction: Most of us desire to achieve the dream life, but it might be more important to understand how to maintain it. Living the dream generally means that someone is living his or her best life; that he or she is achieving the goals he wants to achieve; that he has all the material comforts and/or relationships that he wants to have with no regrets. Joshua final message to Israel comes as Israel is Living the dream.
Israel seen the fulfillment of every promise of God and has experienced great changes since leaving Egypt. During the long wilderness journey, God had purged the nation, allowing many unbelieving Israelites to perish along the way. The journey had changed their mindset from a slave mentality to a ruler mentality. The nation had gone from rags to riches. Sometimes prosperity can also be a burden. How wonderful it is to have leadership that can warn us of impending dangers. Joshua peeped into their future!
No other people on earth had experienced such great victories with such an ill-prepared army. Their parents had come out of slavery with the wealth of Egypt yet died without reaching their goals. Their Children were raised in the wilderness, circumcised at Gilgal, with little military training, God and Joshua had led them to victory. Now they had successfully conquered 31 kings and kingdoms and claimed the territory for themselves. They were living the dream! Living in houses they had not built, eating from vineyards and gardens they had not planted. They were enjoying the good life!
Joshua, their leader is 110 years, well-stricken with age. Long life, years of war and constant conquest has taken its toll. As Joshua witness the young nation enjoying the fruits of their labor, the prosperity, and temporal blessings, he cautions them to remember that God is a holy God. Joshua sees potential trouble over the horizon, so he challenges Israel remember who they are, where they are and how they came to this place. Then they must remember who God is, what God has done for them, where he brought them from and why He drove the nations that were here. I wonder what it was that Joshua saw that caused him to warn the nation and say, “14 Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.” Maybe this caution from Joshua says more about what he did not see. He did not fear of the Lord, nor service in sincerity and truth. He saw evidence of their formal lifestyle creeping back in. He saw enough and it was a red flag. So, he called the nation to a decision. Joshua defines how he was living and what it means to live the dream!
1. Living the Dream Means Living Godly, Contented, and Impactfully. Jos 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Joshua is a 110-year-old saint of God, living a contented life. Living the Dream for Joshua was not a state of life, it's a state of mind. Joshua was grateful for all that God had done. He understood that you're living the dream when you believe you're living the dream and you have no regrets. Joshua makes his choice without popular opinion, without taking a poll, and without consideration of how others may feel. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” You know you are living the dream when you are at peace following your God and leading others to do the same. With his prosperity, and temporal blessings, Joshua was living godly and contented. More than that, his life has impacted his family and his nation. Paul was living his dream when he said, Php 4:12 “I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Then in 1Ti 6:6-8 “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” For Joshua living the dream meant Living Godly, Living Contented, and Living Impactfully. Is that your definition of the good life? Living the Dream? Joshua declared his firm resolution (let them take what course they pleased), together with his whole family (as far as he could oblige them), to worship the Lord alone. Men will worship something or someone. Every person must choose. Though it is your choice alone, some one is following.
2. Living the Dream Does Not Mean Living Life Your Way. Joshua 24:15-18 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.
Living the dream requires more than a house, money, material things, or momentary pleasures, it is living in obedience to God. Living the dream means staying God-centered by letting Him be Lord in your heart, home, and habits. Many are choosing money, others are choosing material things, and some are choosing moments of pleasure on the weekends. That kind of life is too small and too selfish. Each of us must choose for ourselves. Remember the words of Joshua 24:15, "choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. . . But as for me and my house we will serve the Lord."
Living the dream requires us to remember that we are a covenant people. We must be obedient to God and loyal to one another. It's maintaining covenant relationships with your family, friends, and fellowman. Instead of being self-centered, critical, and complaining, learn to encourage others to be the best they can be every day. "You shall love thy neighbor as yourself." Remember the Lord brought us, led us, preserved us, and gave us! This land is our land. Living the dream requires us to maintain covenant relationships with your God, your family, your friends, and your fellowmen.
Living the dream requires commitment. Serve the Lord with sincerity and truth. Being Committed is sometimes difficult. Being committed during storms, sorrows, and hard situations of life can be tough, but prosperity makes it hard too. During times of prosperity and plenty, there is the temptation to say eat, drink, and be merry. Just look out for number one! Jesus told a parable in Lu 12:16 “And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
I believe Joshua saw that attitude creeping into God’s covenant people. Joshua was not against eating, drinking, enjoying life, sleeping, but living that dream was too narrow. Israel must remain committed to God, committed to the ways of God, to one another, their children, and to watch over one another. Psalm 37:5 says, Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass."
3. Living the Dream Really Means Living Life God’s Way. Joshua 24:19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is a holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good.”
It would seem that Joshua was not impressed with their answer. One would think that any leader would please to the people say, “we will serve the Lord.” Joshua was afraid that Israel did not realize the God is a Holy God and serving Him is serious business. Joshua understanding the penalty of playing with God. Besides that, he is very familiar with this new generation. He has seen them grow and develop for more than forty-five years. He is not impressed. Today, the same attitude towards God can be seen in many professing Christians. They talk a good game, but there is performance of the field of life. They proclaim that God is love, God is gracious, God is faithful, and never mention that God is also holy.
Moses warned Israel on the other side of Jordan in De 4:23, 24 “Take heed unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the LORD your God, which he made with you, and make you a graven image, or the likeness of anything, which the LORD thy God hath forbidden thee. For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.”
Then again in De 8:18 “But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. 19 And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the LORD thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish. 20 As the nations which the LORD destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the LORD your God. (KJV)
Joshua knew that during time of long prosperity and peace, Israel might become lack and lax in their devotion to God. Many were still carrying idols in their baggage’s passed down through their family. Others were being mesmerized by the statues in the land. Joshua desires to convince them that their present prosperity and blessing would not last if they fail to follow God. Sin is costly. Moses warned, Nu 32:23 “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”
Ro 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Many people have a false sense of living the dream. Many have never found God or godliness, they never found contentment and they never make lasting impact. Joshua lived the dream. He desired to teach Israel and that it makes more than a big house to make a home. Anybody can have a house, but it takes a relationship with God through Christ, Love that flows from a life of contentment, and being committed to your God-given purpose that your life may have a positive and powerful impact on the world. This lesson offers direction as you strive the live the dream. Joshua shows how to enjoy the dream and leave a lasting impact!