Summary: Israel had seen the 10 plagues, the Red Sea open, the miracles in the wilderness, and God conquer the promised land. But 24 years later their devotion cooled off. Joshua brought them to a decision to recommit their lives. We need to make a new dedication too!
WILL YOU SERVE THE LORD?
Josh. 23:3; 24:14-15
1. Most of us make resolutions at New Year’s. One young boy asked his father what his new year’s resolution was, and his father said he was going to do everything possible in the new year to make his mother very happy.
2. The boy asked his mother what hers was, and she said, “To do everything possible to make sure your father keeps his resolution.”
B. POPULAR RESOLUTIONS
1. FUNNY RESOLUTIONS
a. “I have resolved not to do drugs anymore, because I get the same effect just standing up really fast.”
b. “I have resolved to live in my own little world, because at least they know me here.”
c. “I have resolved to stay married, because it is so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.”
d. “I have resolved to not make any resolutions, because nobody is perfect. I’m a nobody, therefore I’m perfect.”
2. SUGGESTIONS FOR RESOLUTIONS (Ann Landers)
“Call up a forgotten friend. Drop an old grudge, and replace it with some pleasant memories. . . . Free yourself of envy. . . . Resolve to stop magnifying small problems and shooting from the lip. . . . Lighten up. When you feel like blowing your top, ask yourself, ‘Will it matter a week from today?’ Be optimistic. . . . Read something uplifting. Deep-six the trash. . . . Walk tall and smile more. . . . Don’t be afraid to say, ‘I love you.’”
3. IT REALLY IS IMPORTANT TO MAKE RESOLUTIONS. 63% of people say they are keeping their resolutions after two months; 67% of people make three or more resolutions.
4. How we start the new year will probably set the tone for our entire year. Now’s the time to establish our
willpower to accomplish something for the year!
23:3 You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you. 24:14“Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
1. How might these verses be applied to our lives?
2. What did Joshua will mean by the last line -- verse 15 -- "As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord?"
I. ISRAEL HAD SEEN WHAT GOD HAD DONE
A. FROM HOT TO LUKE WARM
1. Joshua told the Israelites in 23:3, “You yourselves have seen everything the Lord your God has done to all these nations for your sake; it was the Lord your God who fought for you.”
2. ISRAEL HAD SEEN GOD:
a. Send the 10 plagues on the Land of Egypt;
b. Part the Red Sea when the Egyptians pursued them and seen the Egyptians dead on the sea shore;
c. They’d seen God provide their food, water, warmth, cool, & light – meet all their needs – during the 40 years in the wilderness;
d. They’d seen God lead them into the Promised Land where they defeated 9 nations and 31 walled cities.
e. They’d settled in the land and lived there for 24 years…
3. BUT JOSHUA SENSED A COOLING OF DEVOTION. He was getting old. A new generation was coming up, many whom hadn’t seen some of God’s greatest miracles. Joshua felt God’s direction to challenge them to make a NEW COMMITMENT!
B. SCRIPTURE WARNS OF THE PATTERN
1. Judg. 2:7 The people served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua….10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their ancestors, another generation grew up who knew neither the Lord nor what he had done for Israel. 11 Then the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord and served the Baals. 12 They aroused the Lord’s anger….” This is what Joshua was trying to avoid.
2. This is the same situation we see in America. Our country went through the Great Depression and two World Wars. That generation, for the most part, had a fear of God and enshrined God in our National institutions.
3. They made the Bible’s Laws the laws of the Nation. They put monuments to the 10 Commandments in and out of the Courthouses. They put prayer in public schools. The public morals mirrored the Bible’s morals.
4. But a new generation arose which has never needed to depend upon God for survival. They took down the 10 Commandments; they took prayer out of schools. About morals: they call good “evil,” and evil they call “good.”