“Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates 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 ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, 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 word that stands out in these verses is the word “choose.” I remember very clearly the day that I had to “choose for (my)self this day.”
It was January of 1977. I was a freshman at Tulane University in New Orleans, La. I had become a Christian during my junior year of high school – or at least thought I had. I played at being a Christian, especially when I was at church and around church people. But I also did some partying and participated in un-Christ like behavior. This continued on into my 1st year of college.
The first week I was at Tulane 2 things happened that epitomized this: 1) I got involved with Campus Crusade for Christ and 2) I joined a fraternity. I played at being a Christian when I was around CCC and I did some partying when I was around the fraternity. Now, to be clear, I was not a wild party animal – but I did take advantage of some frat parties and the French Quarter of New Orleans to demonstrate un-Christ like behavior. I knew that I was being double-minded.
In January, shortly after second semester had begun, I had a “choose this day” moment. I was walking across campus from my fraternity (where I had just eaten lunch) heading back to my dorm. As I passed beneath a tree not far from the frat house I was stopped in my tracks by what I can only explain as the voice of God. It was not a voice that thundered from the heavens that anybody else could hear but it was a voice that thundered in my spirit – just as if God had spoken out loud. And very clearly the voice said, “Choose! You have been straddling the fence between my kingdom and the kingdom of this world and now it is time to choose which one you will serve.”
I don’t know if you have ever had an undeniable God moment like that or not where you have heard God speak as if it were out loud. It has happened to me 3 times – at 3 significant crisis moments in my life. This was the first time. So I had a decision to make. I knew that I could not continue to play the game I had been playing. I had to choose!
So I know what the Israelites where thinking when Joshua told them to “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites” or the Lord God. Life is full of choices. But there comes a point when we have to decide one way or the other who we are going to serve. So if you have not already done so, I will echo what Joshua said…