“Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness; choose this day whom you will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” (Josh 24:14-15)
It puzzles many people if a soldier engaged in killing by shooting in battles as his usual occupation can be truly a born again Christian, or more so a preacher! News headlines are made by people engaged in activities in which they are least expected. Such occurrences bring to memory the words of Dr. Ben Carson about the American nation “The pledge of allegiance to our flag says we are one nation under God. Many courtrooms in the land on the wall it says ‘In God We Trust.’ Every coin in our pocket, every bill in our wallet says ‘In God We Trust.’ So if it’s in our founding documents, it’s in our pledges, in our courts and it’s on our money, but we’re not supposed to talk about it, what in the world is that? In medicine it’s called schizophrenia. And I, for one, am simply not willing to kick God to the curb.” There are such bad contradictions – where one finds ugliness where beauty is expected, wrong where right is expected, wickedness where righteousness is expected, doubt where faith is expected, atheism where Christianity reigned for centuries.
Joshua was a good ‘contradiction’ – a valiant soldier deeply in love with God. He is first introduced in Exodus 17 as a victorious commander of the Israelite army against the Amalekites, but he immediately combines this warrior status with being a servant and disciple of Moses. ‘Thus the LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his servant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, did not depart from the tent.’ (Ex 33:11). I love this discipline of abiding in the presence of God. Joshua’s resolve to serve the Lord is deeply rooted; it does not just appear at the end of his life. Joshua’s lasting legacy are words I have seen in many languages and in living rooms: ‘… we will serve the Lord’ as a family commitment.
At his retirement, Joshua preached his final sermon and challenged the people to make the ultimate choice (Josh 24). Joshua reminded the Israelites of all the wonders of Jehovah throughout the Exodus until they conquered and possessed the Promised Land; he reminded them of the instructions God gave them to guarantee their welfare, longevity and productive stewardship. And Joshua demanded a response as he threw to them the challenge of making a choice. What follows is a rushed acceptance of the people who promised to serve Jehovah, but Joshua contested such a response. The decision must be deeply rooted and not just an emotional excited flame that dies down as soon as you go back home. The decision must be part of the fabric that holds any family and generation that will fulfill God’s purpose for our life here on earth. It is a decision which every member of the family line is welcome to reinforce in their time. It is the best decision you can make for yourself and your family. Just like it was for Joshua, this choice can and should be your greatest legacy as well.