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 24:15 NIV)
This is probably my favorite passage in Joshua. Joshua had led Israel for a number of years during the conquest of Canaan and is now retiring. And as a final act of leadership, he gathered all the elders and officials of the people together and recounted for them all that God had done for Israel, from Abraham up until the present time. And then he challenged them. Who will you worship? The gods your ancestors worshiped? The gods of the peoples you have displaced? Or the God who has brought you up out of Egypt and into the land of Canaan? For Joshua and his household, the answer was clear. They were going to serve Yahweh, the one who had brought them out of slavery, through the wilderness, and into possession of a land of abundance.
There is not much temptation today to worship Nanna (the moon god of Ur), Ra (the Egyptian sun god), or Baal (the chief god of the Canaanite pantheon). But Joshua’s challenge to ancient Israel still speaks to me today. Who, or what, has first place in my life? Do I give the best of myself to my work, recreation, family, or other things? Or does the Lord have first place in my life?
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!