You know what I’m talking about, right? The positive cases for COVID-19 is spiking again nationwide. This post-election have people in all kind of emotional roller coaster. We don’t know the outcome of this election just yet, but also the state of election integrity, or if there has been any unrest in the aftermath.
Christians after Christian fervently and passionately proclaim their ‘party’s’ agenda, from both sides of the ‘aisle’, and judge and crucify other Christians that don’t agree with them. When Jesus stated that “a kingdom divided against itself will not stand”, he wasn’t talking about America, he was talking about us, his followers. We should not let the ways of the world divide us. Regardless of who ends up being the president, Jesus is still King. And if we want real change, it comes from the word of God. No party’s agenda has the power to create real, long lasting change. If we, as Christians, were bold, courageous, unashamed, and passionate about Jesus as we are about all these issues at hand, don’t you think we would see revival now more than just change?
So where to from here? Well, God’s mission goes on and we still have a lot of work to do. We are the church together. We need every one of us to engage and stay involved. Joshua said it well in our reading: choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region 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.
Regardless of what’s going in our world right now, I think God wants us to renew our commitment to him again. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” That’s a line from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. We’ve gone through this year complaining about how it screwed up all our plans and how this year is the worst and so forth that here we are now a month away to the end of the year and we’re like “where has the time gone?” Have we spent the whole year having a pity party that we’ve missed God’s presence among us and what he’s doing and been doing? “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Joshua is pulling the breaks with the Israelites here. He is making them pause for a bit and to think seriously about their commitment to God. He invites the people to slow down and he retells them of their history and to reflect on what they’ve all lived through. Otherwise they might miss the significance of what it all means.
Joshua tells the Israelites the story of what God has done for them, and what God expects. He recounts God's first call to the patriarchs. He retells the salvation history, including the exodus from Egypt and continues through the conquest of Canaan. He concludes with this challenge -if they are unwilling to serve this living God who brought them to this moment, “choose this day whom you will serve…but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
And the Israelites are all like “yes, we will serve the Lord!” “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods; for it is the Lord our God who brought us and our ancestors up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight. He protected us along all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed; and the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore, we also will serve the Lord, for he is our God.”
We, the readers, know how the story will end. They, back then, didn’t know. But we know that God’s people will stray as individuals and as a nation, until at last some are scattered by the Assyrians and others exiled later to Babylon. We the readers we want to shout at them from wherever we’re reading the story. This moment is rushing at them, ready or not, and while their response, that they will serve the Lord, is wonderful, we know they won’t do it. Except it’s not just about them. Hearing these words reminds us the moment for our choice is rushing right at us as well! Who will we choose to serve this day? How will we act when there is a crisis? Life comes at us pretty fast. Don’t blink. Think it through ahead of time.
Where to from here? Maybe it’s time to take a trip down memory lane as Joshua did with the Israelites. There comes a time to take inventory of our life. Where have you been? What is your present status? What will you do about the future? To inform his people of these things, Joshua called his people together and asked them to decide about their future in the Promised Land. Every person and people face a day of decision. It is a frightful one: life or death.
Look at your blessed past. Through the ups and downs of your life, how has God led you? How has God come through for you? Did you see the times when he was your Provider? Do you remember the times when he was your healer? Or those times when the storms of life assail, he was your peace, your shelter, your shield?
Look at your affluent present. The abundance in your life. Do you see how blessed you are?
Look at your dangerous future. A future without Jesus as Lord and Savior doesn’t look good and doesn’t look promising at all. It’s dangerous. Thus, Joshua’s inquiry: Choose this day whom you will serve but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.
The decision is yours. Do you have enough oil in your lamp for the journey?
Sentinel Rural News is the leading source of news for Central Wisconsin. We utilize local writers as our content creators while including contributors of expertise from across the country.