Everyone at some point or another has either been served or is serving. It could be anything from being an employee and serving those who come into that place of business or it could be you are an overseer of employees who are in service to you.
Another aspect of service is in the home. According to scripture husbands serve their wife’s and wives their husbands. It reminds me of the husband and wife having a discussion about who would be the one to make the coffee. Both were tired from a long day. Both wanted coffee for a great end of the day but neither one of them wanted to make the coffee, until the wife decided to take it to the bible. She said “if I can prove to you its your job will you make it?” of course the husband was on board and said “if you show me in the Bible I am suppose to make it I will make it the rest of our lives.” She opened the bible flipping through the Old Testament, past the Gospels, and finally stopping at He-brews.
What is service and what does it mean to serve.
The Word has a few definitions.
1. to be a servant
2. to do military or naval service
3. to be a server, such as in a service (i.e. Communion)
4. to be a server like one in a restaurant.
Take your Bibles and open to Joshua 24:1-15
This speech is Joshua's farewell speech. There are times in our history we have listened to farewell addresses before. In our day and age we have Presidential farewell addresses.
Here are the last words of Joshua to the people…
Joshua gathered all the tribes of Israel to Shechem and summoned the elders, the heads, the judges, and the officers of Israel. And they presented themselves before God. And Joshua said to all the people, “Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel, ‘Long ago, your fathers lived beyond the Euphrates, Terah, the father of Abraham and of Nahor; and they served other gods. Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac. And to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. And I gave Esau the hill country of Seir to possess, but Jacob and his children went down to Egypt. And I sent Moses and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt with what I did in the midst of it, and afterward I brought you out. “‘Then I brought your fathers out of Egypt, and you came to the sea. And the Egyptians pursued your fathers with chariots and horsemen to the Red Sea. And when they cried to the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians and made the sea come upon them and cover them; and your eyes saw what I did in Egypt. And you lived in the wilderness a long time. Then I brought you to the land of the Amorites, who lived on the other side of the Jordan. They fought with you, and I gave them into your hand, and you took possession of their land, and I destroyed them before you. Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand. And you went over the Jordan and came to Jericho, and the leaders of Jericho fought against you, and also the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And I gave them into your hand. And I sent the hornet before you, which drove them out before you, the two kings of the Amorites; it was not by your sword or by your bow. I gave you a land on which you had not labored and cities that you had not built, and you dwell in them. You eat the fruit of vineyards and olive orchards that you did not plant.’
“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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.”
There are many things that we can see from this passage of scripture.
In the beginning of this speech Joshua wanted to give a history lesson to the people. He wanted them to remember where they came from. He wanted them to remember how God played a role in all the places they've been. He called them to renew themselves before God.
During this time there was Agnosticism happening in the land. Though the people of Israel didn't feel this way there was outside influence from among the nations. They compromised every which way they could because they loved their sin. Those who are in the world love darkness. John 3:19
However others went a different route when it came to God. They believed in what is called Polytheism. To put it simple terms they believed in many gods. Joshua points out that in the past some still remembered the gods of Egypt. This could be seen when Moses went to meet with God and when he didn't return right away they asked Aaron to make them a god. there were also the gods of the Amorties, Hitties, Canaanites, Jebusites and others. They started to worship these false gods, before they finally got right with God.
Joshua’s passionate plea to the nation Israel involved first a challenge and choice. By reminding Israel of where they came from he got the people to think of their history. History plays a very important role in our lives. Joshua wanted the Israelite s to be faithful to God, because God requires faithfulness.
Dt 5:32, Isaiah 1:26,1st Kings 2:3-4
“You shall keep the charge of Yahweh your God, to walk in his ways, to keep his statutes, his commandments, his judgments, and his testimonies, as are written in the law of Moses, so that you may prosper in all that you do and everywhere you turn,”
When God's people are faithful to Him, God will be faithful towards us 1st Sam 2:35, Heb 4:14-16, Heb 10:23. “Let us hold fast to the confession of our hope without wavering, for the one who promised is faithful.”
Also we can see that Joshua was telling the people God wants dedication. Dedication can be seen in many places in our lives. We are to be dedicated spouses, showing love and respect to those we are married to. Some are also dedicated to those who implored them. Someone who works hard and honorable can be blessed even if not by the one who employed them. When Joshua was speaking to the people he let them know their hearts had the ability to drift if they were not careful. Not only would they be interested in what God did for them they would be far from Him.
For Joshua, it seemed like no one in Israel was following the Lord. He felt alone and it upset him because Joshua remembered the former things. He remembered what happened in Egypt and how God brought deliverance. He remembered everything that Moses taught him. Remember Joshua took over for Moses after the wondering in the desert. He wanted to people to return to God.
Looking at the present state of this Nation there are some who are sounding the alarm. Crying out to people that we have to remember our past, to remember where God brought us from and took us to. One thing about history is that its a great reminder of how to do things and how not to do things, but before we look at the nation we must first look inside ourselves.
Let's look again at what Joshua said.
“choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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.”
When someone first makes that decision to get their life right with God they do so because they see how they are living and how in the eyes of God it causes a wall of separation. In order to before God they first must confess of their sinfulness. Some of the Israelites realized what Joshua was saying and others only gave lip service not really meaning it.
We have to allow out heart to be examined before God. Not one person can be right before God by their own doing. It is only the doing of what Christ did on the cross. He was the one willing to die for the remission of our sins. His blood covered a multitude of sins and all we have to do is accept His forgiveness and live for Him.
Who do you serve in your spiritual life? Do you serve the god of pleasure? What about the god of wealth? The god of power? The god of sex? The god of selfishness.
That brings us to the end of this study.
I do not know the hearts of anyone here. I cannot say who is and who isn't following God. That is not my goal. My intention is to bring to light what God wants from each and everyone of us.
As we turn the news on and see what is happening all around us its easy to say the world is against us. That shouldn't surprise us because Jesus warned us of this when He said. “I tell you the truth, they persecuted me and likewise will persecute you.”
When the world looks to Christians and Christianity as the enemy, or when they actually see people who believe everything in the Bible and accept it as truth, we will have to make a choice.
It will be a difficult choice for many. Their are those who may risk their jobs, others may have to serve jail time.
Its time Christians stood up. Its time to make the pledge that Joshua did long ago. It is time to choose.
Who will you continue to serve. Will it be comfort and convenience. Are you afraid of what others might say to you? Will you go along to get along? Many who are professing Christians are doing just that. They have watered down God's Word, the Bible. They have chosen, those who live for themselves and all earthly gain have chosen, however I want this to be said here and now in the presence of many witnesses.
I stand here before you this day and I take the pledge.
“As for me and my house, I will serve the Lord.”