Summary: We all need to recommit ourselves to the choice of serving God.
I heard about a husband who really enjoyed the meat his wife had served for dinner one night. He asked her, "What did you marinate this in?" Well, his wife immediately went into a long explanation about how much she loved him and how life wouldn’t be the same without him, and so on. Eventually, his puzzled expression made her interrupt her answer with a question of her own: "Why did you ask me that?" When he told her, she chuckled and said, "I thought you asked me if I would marry you again!"
As she left the room, he called out, "Well, would you marry me again?" Without hesitation, she replied, "Vinegar and barbecue sauce."
Would you marry me again? Sometimes you’ll hear about a couple who’ve been married for 30, 40, or 50 years. They’ll have another wedding ceremony and repeat their vows once again to renew the pledge they made years ago. They say to one another, "Years ago, I promised to love you, to honor you, to cherish you and to be faithful to you. And I want you to know that I meant what I said, and I am just as committed to you now as I was 50 years ago." I think that’s beautiful.
And a similar thing happens in the passage that was read this morning. In Joshua 24:15, Joshua says, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."
Joshua is trying here to get the people of Israel to renew their covenant with God, to renew their commitment to God. We live in a day and time when a lot of people want to shy away from the word "commitment". They don’t want to lock themselves in to a particular course of action; they want to keep all their options open. But the Lord says there comes a time when we need to renew our commitment with God. A time when we say, "You know, Lord, twenty years ago, I made a commitment to you. I made a decision to put you first in my life. I made a decision to forsake my sinful ways and dedicate my life to you. And I want you to know that I meant what I said, and I am just as committed to you now as I was twenty years ago." That’s exactly what’s happening here in Joshua 24.
It’s too easy for all of us to fall back, to slip back, to lose our enthusiasm, to not be as fired up for God as we once were. There’s a natural tendency for things to slow down. Therefore we need those times when we say, "This is who we are and this is what we’re about and this is what we’re going to do."
This morning, I want to take a look at this chapter in Joshua and notice six things that are involved in making any kind of spiritual commitment. There’s a sheet inside your bulletin for taking notes if you find that helpful.
I. A Reason For Confidence
It’s interesting to notice here how Joshua brings these people to the point of decision. Starting in verse 2, he reminds the people of Israel of all the wonderful things God has done for them. He talks about how God blessed Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Then he talks about Moses and Aaron. He talks about how God brought the plagues on the Egyptians. He talks about how the Lord led the Israelites through the Red Sea and how the Red Sea closed down on the Egyptians and what a great victory it was. And then he takes them to the edge of Canaan and he talks about how God gave them the promised land. Basically he gives them a quick historical account of God’s dealings with his people, and how faithful God had been through the years.
The reason Joshua did that is because whenever you’re about to make a commitment, it’s important that you have a reason for confidence. So Joshua tells them what God has done for them. He tells them about the faithfulness of God, and he says, "You guys know these stories as well as I do. Think about how God has treated you. God has been faithful. On every turn, when we have trusted God we have been victorious."
Folks, if this morning we’re willing to make a solemn covenant commitment with God, it must first of all start with this kind of confidence. Now, where do we find this kind of confidence? The key word, and Joshua uses it over and over in this book, is, "remember". Time and again, he says, "You guys need to remember." You see, God knows this -- if you’ll simply remember what he’s done, if in your mind you’ll remember his faithfulness, then you will be faithful to him.