“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.” – Joshua 24:14-15
Adolph Harstad writes:
Following Joshua’s imperative call for Israel – if she decides to forsake her LORD, then to choose which worthless idols she will serve – is Joshua’s own declaration of the choice God has led him to make. … Before all Israel he sounds this clear trumpet blast that has stirred God’s people for some three and a half millennia: “But I and my house – we shall serve the LORD!” …
Joshua, of course, wants all Israel to serve the LORD. But every good example starts as a sincere singular action. Even if no one follows his lead, that will not change his stance. What the LORD said at the start of Joshua’s service is still true near the end of his life. He follows the LORD “wholeheartedly” (Numbers 32:12).
What led Joshua to his bold confession?
Yahweh Himself. His underserved love, powerful acts of rescue, fulfilled promises, and covenant faithfulness – all those evidences of the LORD’s grace just reviewed by Joshua himself in 24:2-13.
The Word of the Yahweh. The LORD promised Joshua in 1:8 that as he meditated on the Torah of Moses, he would act faithfully. The inscripturated word of the LORD is efficacious. At the same time that it presents the Gospel of the LORD, it creates the faith that believes it, then sustains that faith and a life of faithfulness. Joshua’s confession at Shechem is evidence of this power of the word.
The Spirit who has worked in his heart. The Pentateuch revealed specifically that Joshua was a Spirit-filled man: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Take for yourself Joshua the son of Nun, a man whom the Spirit is in him” (Numbers 27:18). The Spirit working through the word makes God’s people bold to confess (1 Cor 12:3).
By His Spirit, who works through His word, the LORD leads Christians to confess the same firm statement of faith as Joshua confessed: “We shall serve the LORD!” This happens as the record of God’s grace in Christ takes hold in our hearts. In love He chose us, redeemed us through the blood of Christ, called us to saving faith by the Gospel, washed us in Holy Baptism. Daily He forgives us and lavishes on us all the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:3-14).
MEMORY WORK – Shorter Catechism Q/A 66
Q. 66. What is the reason annexed to the fifth commandment?
A. The reason annexed to the fifth commandment is a promise of long life and prosperity (as far as it shall serve for God’s glory and their own good) to all such as keep this commandment.