The statement above is so beautiful that many Christians today hang a plaque of it in their homes. But were it so easy.
At the end of the conquest of Canaan, Joshua gathered the leaders of Israel together to make one final resolution. It was to bind that generation and all subsequent generations to the LORD who had saved them and had given them a land flowing with milk and honey.
5-13 … I brought your fathers out of Egypt … I brought you into the land of the Amorites, who dwelt on the other side of the Jordan, and they fought with you. But I gave them into your hand, that you might possess their land, and I destroyed them from before you. … Then you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho. And the men of Jericho fought against you—also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. But I delivered them into your hand. … I have given you a land for which you did not labor, and cities which you did not build, and you dwell in them; you eat of the vineyards and olive groves which you did not plant.
But the sensual pull of false religion will always win over the carnal man and Joshua knowing this reminded them that their fathers had served the false gods, even the ancestors of Abraham when they were in Ur and Nahor (in modern Iraq and Syria east of the Jordan River) and the descendants of Jacob while they were in Egypt.
2 And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD God of Israel: ‘Your fathers, including Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nahor, dwelt on the other side of the River in old times; and they served other gods.”
14 Now therefore, fear the LORD, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD!
Verse 14 provides three linked solutions to remaining in the grace of God: (1) Fear the LORD; (2) serve Him in sincerity and truth; and (3) put away the false gods.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge,
But fools despise wisdom and instruction. (Proverbs 1:7)
The writer who wrote on Joshua 7 regarding God’s punishment of the sin of Achan says:
[S]o many good verses that allow us to know our God better [can be] found throughout the Bible, and the Old Testament has 39 precious books written about God, but why do many Christians choose to ignore the O.T. that makes up more than half the Bible, and only refer to the N.T.? Why do they only want to read about the positive things such as God is gracious and loving and merciful, but do not want to acknowledge that the God who executed wars and judgments is in fact the same God that never changed and will never change? Some theologians even believe that God had changed over time in history and therefore the God in the Old Testament is different from that in the New Testament. There is a terrible and erroneous belief that will make people lose identifying what God loves and what God hates, and hence fall into the trap of the Devil to sin against God.
The same is true for those who advocate only ‘loving’ God and forgetting that one ought to fear Him as well. Incidentally, this is also stated by our Lord Jesus in the New Testament:
And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28)
Always check ourselves if we are serving the Lord Jesus. Make right the motives if we find them improper. Sing in the choir because we like to sing? Attend a seminar because of a particular preacher? Serve as a preacher because we want to do something great in our life?
Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ (Matthew 7:21-23)
Putting in the good must always mean removing the evil (Zechariah 13:1-6). The false gods of today are false prophets and false Christs (Matthew 24:24). Fallen Christians nowadays are led astray by preachers that they adore above Jesus Christ. They will always deny this but their actions of rejecting the truth from the Bible, not even wanting to discuss it but only wanting to listen to the sermons of their adored preacher, speak volumes of their falling away.
Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. (I John 5:21)
And finally, there is the resolution:
15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
21 And the people said to Joshua, “No, but we will serve the LORD!”
Choose. Will. Serve.
It is so important to have this will – the will to do the will of God!
Your word I have hidden in my heart,
That I might not sin against You. (Psalms 119:11)
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things …