Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Choosing Wisely...

Sometimes, choices are fun and easy--choosing between two good things for instance. Would you like a banana split or a hot fudge sundae? Either way, you're in for a treat, right?

Then there are those "other" times, those occasional opportunities where we can choose between something good or right, or something bad that feels good or seems right in the moment. Those choices are not so fun or easy, are they?

In Joshua chapters 22 through 24, the children of Israel had chosen to listen to Joshua, and God had fulfilled all of his promises to them. Joshua was an old man in these chapters when he called the people together to challenge them one last time.

During his address to Israel, Joshua presented them with a choice to consider:

14 “So fear the Lord and serve him wholeheartedly. Put away forever the idols your ancestors worshiped when they lived beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord alone. 15 But if you refuse to serve the Lord, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the Lord.”

It seems that this choice would be a no brainer given all that they'd witnessed, experienced and encountered. But Joshua was wise to recognize that the people needed a reminder that they were active participants in choosing and that indeed they did have a choice to make. Notice however, the choice was not "if" they would serve, but "whom," and we are faced with the same choice today.

We all serve someone. The singer/songwriter Bob Dylan summed it up in a song, "Gotta Serve Somebody". I cannot improve on his poetic rendition, but this I know--we are all serving someone and scripture reminds us that if it isn't God--it is God's enemy. Here's how Jesus explained it:

Luke 11: 23 “Anyone who isn’t with me opposes me, and anyone who isn’t working with me is actually working against me."

Choosing to serve God means making the best choice, but it isn't the easy choice. When we choose to serve God's enemy, we are actually taking the easy route because Satan delights in deceiving us, allowing us to believe that all is well and everything is good and we can just live it up as we indulge our flesh.

The decision to choose God means that sometimes we must deny ourselves, taking up a "cross" in order to obediently follow the One who died for us. This choice offers a path that is narrow and a way that is difficult because it means that we aren't in charge. In the end,though, it's the way of wisdom. Joshua knew it--and so do we. But the choice remains.

Father, I realize that the choice to follow you means that I am choosing to forsake this world. As you clearly explained through Joshua, it is not a choice to be taken lightly. Thank you for offering this choice to me--and I pray that my loved ones will choose the narrow way and follow you with me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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