A recurring theme in the Book of Joshua is service. The people of Israel were serving God as they possessed the land of promise. In the lives of believers, service can become a burden, which thus robs the believer of enthusiasm for service.
God’s love, protection, and power had taken hold of the hearts of the Israelites. As a result, they served God out of devotion and love.
I. Service explained (v. 2)
”Joshua said to all the people, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says…”
In order to encourage and inspire the Israelites for future service, Joshua reminded them of their history and all that had happened. He credited God with the victory. He also challenged them to continue forward in service and victory.
Paul did something similar with the Ephesian church. He reminded them of the gift of their salvation: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Eph. 2:4). Paul then told the believers of the expectation of service: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10).
For the children of Israel and for Christians today, the walk into the Promised Land is accomplished by the power of God. He desires to move us out of the wilderness and into the place of blessing. As a result, we move in service to Him.
Service experienced (v. 15)
”But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served 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.”
The Israelites responded to this challenge by dedicating themselves to God. They saw God had led them and given them the victory, and they were willing to move forward in service to Him.
Likewise, we must realize that Jesus provided salvation at the cross and also provided power through the indwelling presence of His Holy Spirit. Though we live in relationship with Him, we can quench His Spirit’s power within. We must decide whom we will serve.
III. Service expected (vv. 23-24)
“”Now then,’ said Joshua, ‘throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.’ And the people said to Joshua, ‘We will serve the Lord our God and obey him.’”
If we are to accomplish the service which God expects, we must be willing to surrender our lives completely to Him. Jesus offers Himself as our source of power and strength. In our own power we try and fail. If, however, we use His power, forsake the things of the world that distract and weaken, and walk hand in hand with Jesus, then victory is ours as we accomplish our divinely appointed task.