Now therefore, revere the Lord and serve Him with undivided loyalty; put away the gods that your forefathers served beyond the Euphrates and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. Or, if you are loath to serve the Lord, choose this day which ones you are going to serve — the gods that your forefathers served beyond the Euphrates, or those of the Amorites in whose land you are settled; but I and my household will serve the Lord.
We all make choices . . . good, not so good, neither. There are times when the choice that one makes sets the tone for a lifetime. A choice could change everything.
There are many gods that we can serve. Everyday we make the choice, sometimes we choose to worship the gods of our ancestors, their habits, ways of life, ways of thinking. Other times we choose gods of our own making, gods that we can control, manipulate, own. These days we tend to choose gods of our own buying, gods that promise happiness, self-determination, a great future.
In some ways we are not different from the Israelites as they settled into their new home. So many new neighbors, new habits, new temptations. The choice they made would make a difference for all future generations.
The Christian faith calls us time and time again to deny the self, take up the cross, and follow Jesus. In Jesus we can find our true self, filling the longing that the image of God in us activates.
This is why Sunday after after Sunday we declare the story of our faith. We tell it in prayer, in song, in word, in gesture, in signs. We are rehearsing our story so that we remember who we are, so that we can make the choice that will guide us and future generations into the continuation of God’s mission in the world.
Today scripture spoke to me about my own loyalty. Who is it to? Is it to the Lord, creator of the universe, or to some gods of my own making?
If I am honest with myself the answer will be both. At times I am loyal to the Lord, at other times I rather put my loyalty on gods of my own making. Gods of control, of other people’s expectations, of fear, of insecurity, of ego-centrism, etc.
The amazing thing about our faith is that each day, each moment, each situation gives us a new opportunity to, like Joshua, choose the Lord, for us and for future generations.
Which god are we going to serve?