As for me and my house

Every person on the planet—whether they realise it or not—has made a choice about God. There are only two ways to decide, but many ways that decision can be made.

  • Ignorance—some people’s choice has been taken out of their hands. By not knowing about God, sadly, their choice is against Him.
  • Misinformation—some people make their choice about God based on hearsay. They don’t really know the truth for themselves and trust in the word of another, whether right or wrong. Again, sadly, many make a choice against God because they believed a single person’s opinion over the actual Word of God.
  • Fact—I  personally know people who have weighed all the facts and still made a choice against God. It is a conscious decision to reject the Lord.
  • Personal desires— some are under the impression that a life lived for God is boring and useless and too costly, so they reject Him.
  • Truth—there are those still, who know and understand the truth of the Word of God and accept it.

No matter what we choose or how our choice is made, we do make the choice and there are consequences either way.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.

Romans 6:23 (NIV)

At the end of his life, Joshua gathered Israel together for one final pep rally. He recounted all that God had done in bringing them out of Egypt and into the land of promise. He closed with this:

Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods you forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 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, of the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Joshua 24:14-15 (NIV)

For Israel, the consequences of rejecting God to serve other gods was dire. Along the way from Egypt to Canaan, He made it pretty clear how things would go for them if they went against Him.

If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make and end of you, after he has been good to you.

Joshua 24:20 (NIV)

Now, we are no longer under the law, but under grace (Romans 6:14). God is not going to smite us should we refuse His gift of salvation. No, we bring ruin upon ourselves.

Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slave, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?

Romans 6:16 (NIV)

No matter what choice we make, we must be prepared to live (or die) with the consequences. But, so long as there is breath in your lungs, it is never too late to make a declaration like Joshua: But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.

Read: Joshua 23-24 Luke 6:27-49

Yea or nay

Read: Deuteronomy 17-19, Mark 14:1-25

I have a nephew starting tenth grade next year. He’s already had to select his courses for the fall. He has options. Lots of options. In a course guide of over seventy pages, he is already expected to know what he wants to do with the rest of his life so that he can choose the right classes that will properly set him on his life path. But choices are good. It means that he has opportunity. He can get ahead in life. He’s smart. He can take university level classes before he’s even out of high school, gain early admission, and apply for just about any scholarship he wants.

In secondary education, choices are great. Lots of options means nearly limitless career paths. Choices are also great when it comes to things like electronic devices, insurance, clothing, and a plethora of other things in life where we want something that suits us as individuals.

But this becomes an issue when we expect to have the same infinite choices in our faith.

While they were eating, Jesus took the bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples saying, “Take it; this is my body.”

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it.

“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.

Mark 14:22-24 (NIV)

Jesus made one offer. He held the cup before his disciples and gave them the choice to drink it or leave it.

The word [covenant] refers not to an agreement between to equals but rather to an arrangement established by one party, in this case God. The other party—man—cannot alter it; he can only accept it or reject it.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary

Like checking out the list of options stuck to the window of a new car, we want to look at Christianity and pick the path that ticks most or all of the boxes on our list. But there is no list. Just two boxes. Yea or nay. Take it or leave it.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (NIV)

Whereas my nephew struggled to choose which options he would take to set him on the right path, we have no such struggle. It is simply a matter of yes or no. Will we accept the cup Jesus has offered and walk the path to the Father with him? Or will we deny the cup and stray from the path altogether?

When God set Israel on the path to the Promised Land, He set before them life and death, blessings and curses. Then he told them to choose life (Deuteronomy 30:19). How simple is that? God offers us two choices and then he tells us which one to choose—the one that leads to life.

The Devil’s fence

There is a story that describes a person sitting on a fence. On one side of the fence, there are green pastures. It is clear and peaceful. On the other side of the fence is every pleasure the person could ever desire.

A man approaches from the peaceful side and offers a hand. “I’d like for you to join me here.” The person on the fence considers the offer. The peaceful green grass is mighty appealing.

Then a man approaches from the other side and makes a similar offer. “Join me here and you’ll have everything you ever wanted.” The man on the fence also finds this offer appealing, but cannot bring himself to make a decision and tells both men so. The second man shrugs. “Have it your way.” He turns and smiles to himself. “Good thing I own the fence.”

By making no decision at all, the man on the fence unknowingly made his decision. To do anything other than choose God is to choose against Him. Sitting on the fence doesn’t absolve you of anything, because the Devil owns the fence.

I will search with lanterns in Jerusalem’s darkest corners to find and punish those who sit contented in their sins, indifferent to the Lord, thinking he will do nothing at all to them.

Zephaniah 1:12 (NLT)

There is absolutely no benefit at all in sitting on the fence, waiting to make a decision. An offer has been made from both sides. It’s time to choose. Every day you sit on the fence is a day that could have been spent in the presence of the Lord.

Gather together and pray, you shameless nation. Gather while there is still time, before judgement begins and your opportunity is blown away like chaff.

Zephaniah 2:1 (NLT)

Even if you have already made a decision to follow Jesus, you must still make every moment count. There is no better time to deepen and strengthen your relationship with him than right now.

Daily Bible reading: Zephaniah 1-3, Revelation 15

The choice

You make thousands of choices every day. Whether big or small, every choice has a consequence. If I choose to hit the snooze button one more time, the consequence it that I will have to rush to get ready to leave the house. If I choose to skip breakfast, the consequence is that my stomach will be growling long before lunch. If I choose to push through a yellow light, the consequences could be dire for myself or others. Every choice we make has the potential to alter the direction of our lives.

But there is one choice that Someone has already offered us a decision for.

Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, that you and your descendants might live!

Deuteronomy 30:19 (NLT)

Oh, that you would choose life! When given the choice between blessings and curses, I don’t know why anyone would ever opt for the latter. It should be an easy decision to make. Yet there are those who believe there is a third choice—that neither the blessings or the curses really exist and that they are exempt from the truth of these words and therefore no choice must me made at all.

Let none of those who hear the warnings of this curse consider themselves immune, thinking, “I am safe, even though I am walking in my own stubborn way.” This would lead to utter ruin!

Deuteronomy 29:19 (NLT)

Yes, I know that theses are Old Covenant verses—that God was speaking to Israel, but Jesus backs up the same idea.

Jesus told them, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”

John 14:6 (NLT)

There is one way. Life or death. Once you have heard the Gospel, even not making a choice is really making a choice. The concept is not difficult and the message is simple.

This command I am giving you today is not too difficult for you to understand or perform. It is not up in heaven, so distant that you must ask, “Who will go to heaven and bring it down so we can hear and obey it?” It is not beyond the sea, so far away that you must ask, “Who will cross the sea to bring it to us so we can hear and obey it?” The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart so that you can obey it.

Deuteronomy 30:11-14 (NLT)

If you have not already made the choice, oh, that you would choose life! You don’t have to understand it all to accept it. I doubt that anyone ever has. Make the choice for life and then you can spend the rest of yours seeking after the heart of God, discovering the blessings that wait for you there.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 29-30, Mark 16

Give up

So often, I hear the story of Jesus’ crucifixion and see it as the world taking Jesus’ life away. He was flogged and beaten. Mocked and scorned. Yet as he hung on the cross, his life was not taken from him. He gave it up.

When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

John 19:30 (ESV)

Remember that as you go through your day today. Even at the very end, Jesus had a choice. Through all the pain and suffering he still chose to give up his life for the very people who had put him on the cross.

Daily Bible reading: Ezra 1-2; John 19:23-42

Choose

We make choices every day. Really, that’s about all we do. When do I get up? What do I eat for breakfast? Which route should I take to work? Does this sound familiar? We talked about this a couple of weeks ago when God was offering up some choices regarding life and death. A similar moment takes place when Joshua, near the end of his life is offering a few last pointers to the Israelites.

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.

Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

Choose. Choose now. Choose life or death. Choose Christ or choose another God.Even by delaying your choice, you are making a choice. Joshua doesn’t give a direct answer like we saw in Deuteronomy, he just stated what his choice would be.

What is your choice today? In this moment, do you choose to follow Christ? If you’re waiting to answer, you’ve already made the choice not to follow Christ. Think about that. Every choice that you don’t make is a choice in itself.

Is this the moment when you declare that you and your house will serve the Lord? Or will you serve something or someone else while you wait to make the decision?

Daily Bible reading: Joshua 23-24, Luke 6:27-49

Worry

Do you every worry about anything? Of course not! Christians never worry about a thing, do they? We go through life believing everything is perfect because it is!

If that’s you, I need to talk to you. I worry. I worry a lot. Not a day goes by that I don’t worry about something. And, on days like today, it takes a couple of verses from the Old Testament to give me a bit of a spiritual kick in the pants.

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 (ESV)

There aren’t many days I wake up feeling strong and courageous or even in dread of the day to come. And I forget that God is with me. Always. No matter what.

And in  case Israel missed it the first time, God said it again two verses later:

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.

Deuteronomy 31:8 (ESV)

A while back, we read in Numbers about the spies that were sent into the promised land. Two came out ready to go back in and take it, while the other ten decided it wasn’t for them. What they failed to see was how God had already gone before them to prepare the way. Was it going to be easy? No. Would they have to work for it? Yes.Was God on their side? Of course?

Fear and dismay come when we fail to see God for who He is and what He’s already done to prepare the way for us. The way becomes more difficult when we choose to walk a different path. God isn’t on the path we make for ourselves. He’s with us and for us on the way He’s made for us.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 31-32, Luke 1:1-23