Joshua 24:15
Now if you are unwilling to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.

Shall I make my oatmeal with milk or water? Or, shall I have eggs instead? Or, going back further, shall I get out of bed? Choices,choices. Every day, every act involves a choice. Even choosing nothing is a choice.

When the Hebrews finally settled in Canaan, the Promised Land, after 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, they were beginning to get too comfortable. Joshua worried about their assimilation into the religion and culture of their new community, fearing that they were losing their identity and their loyalty to the God who saved them from slavery in Egypt, and called them together at Shechem. They held a convention where Joshua challenged them: “All right, folks, you’ve got a choice to make. Are you going to be Amorites and worship their gods, or are you going to be the people of God? You have a choice! You can go either way; but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

The theme of these Lenten blogs is “What keeps you from following God?” It is a matter of choice. Every day challenges call for choosing between following the Lord, or your own comfort, pleasures, concern about what your friends think, pleasing someone else, or doing nothing.

When I was a senior in high school, my birthday fell on a Sunday. My folks invited me to go to Minneapolis to our favorite Chinese restaurant (and I do like to eat!), but the Methodist Youth Fellowship met on Sunday nights and I was president. I struggled with the choice, and finally chose to go to church. Our pastor picked me up and stopped to pick up two sisters who invited us to come into the living room, which was filled with decorations and kids hollering “Surprise!” What if I had missed the party?

Joshua’s challenge is still relevant—“Choose this day whom you will serve.” Will you choose the Lord? Today, how will you choose to follow the Lord?
By Rev. Doug Norris

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