Summary: As we study our text today, we will see that the words of Joshua to the Israelites apply to us as well, and that we too have a choice to make.
"THE CHOICE IS YOURS"
Making choices is a part of life, we make choices everyday. Some of the choices that we make are really not that big of a deal, things like: what color socks should I wear today, what should we do for dinner or do I want to buy Crest or Colgate.
Other choices that we make are of a more important nature; where do I want to go to college, who should I marry or is this really the home that we want to buy.
And as parents, we have the responsibility of raising our children in such a way that some day when they are on their own they will be able to make the right choices. So throughout life we give them opportunities to develop decision making skills. We let them pick out their favorite candy bar (which I am sure that all of us can remember was and still is, a very difficult task), we let them choose what they are going to wear to school (within reason) and we allow them other freedom and other choices as they get older.
One of the first choices I really remember having as kid was given to me by my grandfather. I was about 6 years old and I was given the choice between having an ice cream at the corner store (without my parents knowledge right before dinner) or not having an ice cream cone. Sounds like a pretty easy choice doesn’t it? But their was one more variable to this equation, there was something that went along with the ice cream cone that made the decision not so easy. And that something was, my grandfathers spit on his handkerchief, wiping the chocolate off my mouth. Well, all I can say is, that I really like ice cream.
We spend many years with our children teaching them about life, about God, about what is right and what is wrong, and someday they will be on their own and will have to make their own choices. And we just hope and pray they make the right decisions.
Joshua I am sure in many ways felt like he was the father of these people. The bond he felt may have been stronger than even the bond Moses had with these people.
Joshua had been with these people longer, his entire life, where Moses spent the first third of his life living in Egypt, but in pharaohs household, the next forty years he spent in the wilderness and it was only the final 40 years that he lived with the Israelites. Joshua on the other hand lived with them in Egypt for about forty three years, he worked beside them building cities and making bricks. He shared with them the sorrows of slavery and the dreams of deliverance. And going through tough times like that build very strong bonds.
And for the last 67 years of his life he was a leader of these people. While Moses was alive Joshua was Moses’ right hand man. It was Joshua who led Israel in the defeat of the Amalekites, less than 3 months out of Egypt (Ex 17). And Joshua was also on Mt. Sinai with Moses, when the law of God was given.
And when Moses died, Joshua was the one God choose to be the chief leader. And Joshua had been that leader for over 20 years. And now the time had come when Joshua would send these people, his people, the people he had spent his entire life with, the people he had: worked with, dreamed with, cried with, laughed with, fought with and witnessed the Mighty Power of God with. It was time for the Israelites to be kicked out of the nest (so to speak) it was time for them to fly on their own, make their own choices, and decide their own destiny.