“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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).
As a parent, do you struggle with trying to lead your family in the ways of the Lord? There are so many things which compete for both our and our children’s time and attention that it can make it very challenging to keep our family’s focus upon serving God. It takes great determination and commitment on the part of Christian parents to set the right example, set the right spiritual values in the home, keep straight the family’s priorities, and instill the self-discipline both within themselves and their children to keep the family moving along the path of faithfully following God.
Joshua pronounced the opening words above during his final address to the children of Israel. As he says farewell to these people with whom he had conquered the Promised Land through God’s power, he challenges them to decide whom they are going to serve. Are they going to go back to the gods of their ancestors which lived beyond the Euphrates River? Would they begin following after the gods of the people among whose land they now dwelt? Joshua urges them to COMMIT THEMSELVES FULLY to serving Jehovah God because that was exactly what he was doing.
It would be a tremendous challenge for those to whom Joshua was speaking to do this. With great eagerness we see the people’s response: “And the people said to Joshua, ‘The Lord our God we will serve, and His voice we will obey!’ " (Joshua 24:24). However, saying this was so much easier than actually doing this. This generation remained faithful to the Lord and did serve Him (Joshua 24:31; Judges 2:7). However, future generations did not commit themselves fully to serving God. A few verses later we read, “When all that generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation arose after them who did not know the Lord nor the work which He had done for Israel” (Judges 2:10). Because of their lack of commitment and focus, these Israelites had allowed the surrounding influences around them to cause them to waver in their walk with God.
As I read these words, I am reminded of the great challenge parents have raising their children. The apostle Paul challenged Christian fathers, “And you, fathers, do not provoke your children to wrath, but bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). This is such a great challenge for Christian parents today as there are so many “gods” of the land (e.g. entertainment, worldly values, etc.) in which we live that can lead our hearts and the hearts of our children astray.
I have great admiration for fellow Christian parents who have taken up Joshua challenge to lead their family in the ways of God. Although it is very challenging to keep one’s family faithfully following God, it can be done. It takes tremendous spiritual strength which God will give (Philippians 4:13). May God’s blessings be upon you as you say along with me, “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!” Today, I rejoice that God encourages me through such Christian parents as you!
“My son, if you receive my words, And treasure my commands within you, So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God” (Proverbs 2:1-5).