Message summary: Today we will consider changes, challenges and choices. Listen to this message on your audio player.
“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 Which of course elicits a number of responses. Bunny then says,
“Today is the day God has given me the opportunity to tell you that Jesus loves you!”Yesterday he went along with us for our chaplain visits, especially looking for opportunities to minister to truck drivers. Our first company yesterday receives many containers from a port and Bunny is seeking ways to share God’s love with these drivers.At this company we have the opportunity to share a brief devotional message early each Tuesday morning so yesterday I asked Bunny to share. He shared that we all have changes, challenges and choices in life which prompted today’s study.Some 3,400 years ago Joshua gave his final challenge to the children of Israel. He had lived his life in steadfast commitment to God. He’s first mentioned in Scripture as the trusted commander of Moses’ army shortly after they crossed the Red Sea during the Exodus. He, along with Caleb, was one of only two spies to bring back a faith-filled report that essentially said, “With God’s help we can do it!”Joshua had faithfully served under Moses during the 40-year period in the wilderness and had led God’s people in the conquest for some 25 years. He’s now 110 years old and musters enough strength for a final challenge to faith and commitment that rings through the ages.The people were experiencing three C’s that people all though the ages have dealt with.
1) Changes – The Israelites had entered the promised land under Joshua’s leadership but now were about to experience a change. Things weren’t going to stay the same; there would soon be new leadership. We go through many changes throughout the course of our lives; some major, even life-transforming, others smaller. Most of us really don’t know what change we will encounter today, but great assurance can fill our hearts when we remember that God said “I the Lord do not change” (Malachi 3:6). He is a steady presence in our life, the anchor for our faith when all other ground is sinking sand. Thomas Chisolm reminds us that we can rely on our unchanging God in the hymn classic, Great Is Thy Faithfulness: “Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not. As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.”
2) Challenges – Changes often bring on challenges. Although the people had entered the promised land many challenges lay ahead for them. Just keep reading and you’ll see one challenge after the other! In our lives changes usually bring challenges as well and just like the Israelites we will receive blessing when we obey God.
Choices – Usually there are choices we must make as a result of changes and challenges, and that makes life hard. Today we will all make many, many choices. Life is just full of choices and decision-making, from tiny daily choices such as what brand of soap to purchase or what to eat for dinner to major, life altering decisions such as our choice for a mate or career. Many choices do not have moral consequences but many others are a choice between right and wrong. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death” (Proverbs 14:12). However there is one fundamental choice we all share, based upon today’s portion of Scripture in the Old Testament. Joshua set the fundamental choice clearly before the people with these words, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve”. In the context of Joshua’s challenge their fundamental choice was between serving the one true God and “the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living.”In a broader sense the choice now and for every generation is whether we serve the one true God or “the god of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4). Even those who practice the faith of atheism are essentially serving the god of this world. People then and now have this fundamental choice, for the one true God does not force people to love and serve Him.Joshua sets a great example for the people of his time and through all subsequent ages, including our own. Let us proclaim this day, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord!”
Be encouraged today,
Daily prayer: Father, You have drawn us with an everlasting love; You show us Your loving kindness day after day. Your bountiful provision gives to us material, physical and spiritual blessings that only a caring heavenly Father can give. But even though our cup overflows with Your goodness we face changes and challenges amidst our blessing. As we deal with the inevitable changes and the subsequent challenges that follow help us to make the life defining choice, like Joshua, and declare to all who will hear,