Committed to God
By: Ysrael De la Cruz
At the beginning of each year people tend to make resolutions, pledges, or promises of what they would like to achieve. 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for most of us, sickness, deaths, lost jobs and business, isolation from family and friends. Business and so forth. 2020 has certainly been depressing to many of in the world. It brought many unwanted changes to our lives. Every year brings its own challenges, we hope and certainly pray 2021 will be a lot better than 2020. Every year stores take inventory, they evaluate their products; what worked, what didn’t. They do these things in order to improve their quality; to give customers their best, compared to their competition. Have you taken an inventory of your life lately? Examine your goals, failures and successes, family, friendships, etc. When I think about evaluating or assessing my life, I am reminded of the time Joshua did this for the people of Israel. Right when they were about to enter the Promised Land. It was necessary that people understood how they got there.
Joshua reviewed Israel’s history. (Jos.24:1-13) The LORD had Joshua review their ancestral history: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the patriarchs,
–Moses and Aaron. (vv.5-7)
-Wilderness wandering (v.7-12)
-The possession of the land (v.13)
There are two things that were constant in the history of Israel as a nation: God’s presence in their midst and God’s faithfulness in fulfilling his promise.
God’s presence was what distinguished the nation from the other nations in the world. I took your father Abraham…(v.3) sent…..I brought…I delivered you… I blessed you……gave your enemies into your hands. God had promised to be with them; and Joshua reminded the people all those years in which God’s presence was evident among them. God was faithful to them to bring them to the land he swore. They were about to go and enjoy a new land; their inheritance and the LORD did not want them to forget how they got there. This is why Joshua took inventory of their history.
Joshua 24:14-27 Joshua’s challenge to the people
–Commit yourself to fear God.
Joshua noticed a lack of commitment from the people during those years they traveled to the land of the promise. Now therefore, fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness.
Scriptures teaches us that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. To fear God and revere him through the year is to make the right decisions. It is the fear of God that would keep us from sinful behavior. Exodus 20:20 that the fear of God would keep them from sinning.
If we truly feared God, we would not do certain things. A God-fearing person operates by God’s agenda. Joshua challenged the people to be God-fearing in their going and enjoying the land. Since they were lacking in their reverence of the past. fear God and serve him faithfully.
-Commit yourself to serve God in sincerity and in faithfulness.
The people were lacking in their zeal to serve the LORD; they were struggling being faithful to God.
The word for serve is work, labor. This is a way of honoring or worshiping God.
In order to serve God with sincerity (Authenticity) and in faithfulness you must make sure God is not competing with other “gods” in your life.
Get rid of the gods (idols) you have been worshiping. God’s people were not just devoted to Yahweh, they were also devoted to other gods since they were influenced by the nations surrounding them. Polytheistic nations that worship many gods.
Joshua challenged the people to just worship God and get rid of those man-made gods.
We too must examine our lives to make sure the LORD is not competing for our heart. We cannot serve or worship God with sincerity and faithfully if we are also serving or worshiping other things in this world.
What is competing with God in our hearts? What are you worshipping beside God? Self, money, fame, job, family, espouse, etc. Commit to faithfully serve God this year and get rid of those idols in your life.
The choice is yours. This is how Joshua spoke to the people. (v.15) Joshua couldn’t make that decision for the people. I can’t make it for you either.
Choose this day whom you will serve. Those gods your ancestors worshiped or the gods of the land. (Cultural gods: Canaanites deities, etc.) For us, new age thinking, political correctness, relativism, humanism, etc.).
It is simple, you either worship God or someone or something else. Joshua challenged the people to choose. He knew what choice he would make.
Joshua made the choice to only worship the LORD: But as for me and my house we will serve the LORD. I do not know what you are going to do, but I know what choice I am making; me and my family, we will serve the LORD.
The people made a pledge to serve God faithfully (v.16-18)
After they were challenged by Joshua, and they reviewed their history it was Yahweh who has always been there: protecting them, providing, and fighting for them. “We too will serve the LORD because he is our God.” (v.18,)
Joshua reminded the people of the kind of commitment they were making. (v.19) You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God, He is a jealous God, he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins. If you forsake the LORD, he will turn against you.
God will hold you accountable to the commitment you make.
People committed themselves to serve only God (v.21, we will serve the LORD.
(v.23) Throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the LORD the God of Israel.
The nation committed to serve the LORD.
This was the covenant, the pact, the new agreement Joshua made with the people that day.
What do you need to throw away this year in order to fully surrender your heart to the LORD?
If you are one of those who make year resolutions, what kind of commitment will you make to God? Will you faithfully serve him this year? His presence and faithfulness have been evident in the past years and God will continue to be with us and be faithful to us. God’s faithfulness is never the matter in question. What you and I need to ponder and challenge ourselves this year is how faithful are you going to be to the God you claim to worship? This is a decision you must make. As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.