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I can just hear all of the arguments that would start!!
“Of course I can!”
“No one can stop me from serving God!”
“I will keep serving Him no matter what!!”
Yet that is exactly what Joshua said to the Hebrew people after that famous challenge: “Choose you this day whom ye will serve… but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
Oh yes, they made a great claim! “God forbid that we should forsake the Lord!” I mean, if you had a choice, wouldn’t you choose to serve the true God? ...Wouldn’t we all?
But there was something else… a matter of the heart. We can claim all we want that we have given God our lives and we are following Him alone, yet our actions (inside and out) speak louder than our words. Joshua wasn’t so quick to accept their choice, but followed it up with a pretty harsh challenge. “Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins.”
God sees past our words. God sees our heart. God sees our desires and our motives. He sees our pride, our self will, our true intentions.
The people in Joshua 24 insisted that they did choose to serve God, so Joshua gives them a challenge: “Put away the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.”
It is good to honor God, to speak of God, to proclaim God’s goodness with our words, but if we have not inclined our heart towards Him, it is all in vain. God is a jealous God. He doesn’t just want us to fill our seat in the pew on Sunday. He wants our hearts towards Him alone. Jesus says the hypocrites “draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.”
When you make a choice to serve God and Him alone it is noticeable. We don’t just choose God and still keep everything else we want in this life. There are some things we must “put away” as we incline our hearts unto the Lord! God knows the difference between heartfelt repentance and alligator tears!
Next time you see the phrase “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” take a look at your life. When God looks at your heart what does He see?