“CHOOSE YOU THIS DAY” Josh. 24:1-15
INTRO – Charles Swindoll – “Whatever else may be said about the home, it is the bottom line of life, the anvil upon which attitudes and convictions are hammered out. It is the place where life’s bills come due, the single most influential force in our earthly existence.”
“When You Thought I Wasn’t Looking”
“When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you hang my first painting on the refrigerator, and I wanted to paint another one.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you feed a stray cat, and I thought it was good to be kind to animals.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw you make my favorite cake for me, and I knew that little things are special things.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I heard you say a prayer, and I believed there is a God that I could always talk to.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I felt you kiss me goodnight, and I felt loved.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw tears come from your eyes, and I learned that sometimes things hurt, but it’s all right to cry.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I saw that you cared and I wanted to be everything that I could be.
When you thought I wasn’t looking, I looked … and wanted to say thanks for all the things I saw … When you thought I wasn’t looking.”
Last week, Tammie & I in mtg about what to do in case of an active shooter situation in one of our local schools. So much of what we are witnessing in our society today are the lingering consequences of the breakdown of so many families & homes.
- Fatherlessness is a huge problem in our communities today. Some 24 million kids in US live in a home w/out a father. Millions more live in home where father is physically present, but emotionally absent. According to the National Center for Fathering, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens. (http://www.fathers.com/statistics-and-research/the-consequences-of-fatherlessness/)
- Child abuse affects some 6 million children every year in the US, which leads to these children experiencing tremendous difficulties in their lives, both during the abuse itself & later on in their lives, including many different physical disorders, mental/emotional disorders, addictions of all types, sexual dysfunction, & criminal activity. 4-5 children die every day in our nation due to child abuse. (https://www.childhelp.org/child-abuse-statistics/)
- The open attack on the biblical definition of marriage has brought tons of heartache, confusion, & division to families across our nation. Churches & denominations are experiencing divisiveness & destruction, rupturing relationships & families as pastors, teachers, & other leaders espouse false teachings all over our land, including here in the Bible Belt. It shouldn’t surprise us since 2 Tim. 4:3-4 tells us, “For the time is coming when [people] will not tolerate (endure) sound and wholesome instruction, but, having ears itching [for something pleasing and gratifying], they will gather to themselves one teacher after another to a considerable number, chosen to satisfy their own liking and to foster the errors they hold, and will turn aside from hearing the truth and wander off into myths and man-made fictions.” (AMP)
Sometimes all the stuff we hear makes us want to just gather up our families & go off & live on a remote desert island somewhere. It makes us want to just keep our kids & grandkids right w/ us every moment of every day, never letting them out of our sight, protecting them 24/7/365.
But we know we can’t do that, so what DO we need to do in the face of the growing difficulties & attacks against Christian homes & families? 3 important things that we can choose to do TODAY:
Teach your family all that God has done for you – v. 1-13 – We need to regularly recount & remember all that God has done for us in the past. This is what Joshua did w/ the people of Israel in this passage. He wanted the people to never forget that they owed everything to the Lord. He made sure that they remembered:
- How He faithfully promised – Joshua made sure the people remembered all that God had promised to them & how He had kept His promises. He kept His promises to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, & Moses & Aaron. He kept His promise to bring His people out of captivity & bring them into the Promised Land. He is a promise-making, promise-keeping God!
- How He faithfully provided – Over & over again, God provided for His people during their years of captivity, their years of wilderness wandering, & their years of victory. He provided for them in every way, showing them mercy & grace & forgiveness & patience & compassion. V. 13 sums it up – “So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.”
- How He faithfully protected – Egyptians, Amorites, Moabites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites, Jebusites – All enemies that God’s people had to face & fight. And all of them were defeated, NOT by the military might of the people, but by God’s power & protection – v. 12b – “You did not do it w/ your own sword & bow.” The people needed to remember that it was GOD who protected them & defeated their enemies.
Throughout his address, Joshua made sure that the people remembered all that God had done for them!
- It was GOD who gave Moses the wisdom & strength to go before Pharaoh.
- …who led the children of Israel out of bondage.
- …who parted the Red Sea & then brought it back down upon the Egyptians.
- …who took care of them during their wilderness wanderings.
- …who defeated all of the enemies who opposed them.
- …who gave them the Promised Land.
- It was God! It was God! It was God!
We need to do the same thing in our families! We need to constantly remember & teach our families all that God has done for us!
- When He put your marriage back together
- When He kept your child from destroying his/her life in a time of rebellion
- When He provided that job for you
- When He healed you of an illness that could have taken your life
- When He finally set you free from that addiction that had plagued your life for years
- When He protected you in a great storm, whether that storm was a literal storm, a storm of trials & troubles, or a storm of temptation & sin
- When He forgave you & restored you after a season of sin & disobedience
- When He saved you, saved your spouse, saved your kids, saved your parents
- When He gave you clear direction about your career choice, your education, your spouse, your service & ministry in the church
Friends, we need to step back, look back, & bring back the glory to God that He alone deserves! We need to remember all that God has done & give Him His rightful credit, His rightful glory, His rightful honor, His rightful place in our lives. And we need to teach this to our families! Like the song says, “We will remember. We will remember. We will remember the works of your hands. And we will stop & give you praise, for great is your faithfulness.”
Take care of anything that hinders your walk w/ God – v. 14 – What is there in your life that is holding you back in your walk w/ God? What is there in your life that is keeping your family from being as strong as it could be? What is there in your life that is displeasing to God? TAKE CARE OF IT TODAY!
Joshua 7 – Achan – Get rid of YOUR Achan today! How do we do this? How do we get rid of those things that hinder our walk w/ God?
- Do not take God lightly – “Fear the Lord & serve Him w/ all faithfulness” – To fear God doesn’t mean that we cringe in terror. It means that we have such a deep respect for God that we want to please Him in all we do. It means that we aren’t flippant & nonchalant about our relationship w/ Him. We need to be serious about our walk w/ God & trust & serve Him w/ a deep reverential awe of who He is. “With all faithfulness” means that there are no hidden rooms that we reserve for ourselves. We need to get serious about our relationship w/ God!
- Destroy any idols – “Throw away the gods…” – There’s no telling what kind of false pagan religions the Israelites had been exposed to. They had definitely been touched in some ways by idolatry, or Joshua wouldn’t have told them this. We, too, are infected w/ all sorts of idols in our world, only ours aren’t the kind that you put on a shelf & bow down to. Ours are more in self than on the shelf. Anything that competes for the allegiance that we should give to God alone is an idol & must be destroyed. Matthew Henry calls them “dunghill deities” b/c they have no power to save, only power to corrupt & contaminate our lives.
- Deal w/ stuff from your past – “…your forefathers…” – Joshua didn’t want the people to keep bringing the past sins of their forefathers forward into their lives. Many times, the wounds of our past experiences in our families can lead to our downfall in the present. If we are going to truly get rid of all the stuff that hinders our lives, we need to deal w/ our wounds. May need to talk to someone about these wounds.
Totally sell out to serving God – v. 15 – Joshua laid it down straight for them. It was time for them to draw a line in the sand of their spiritual lives & totally sell out to serving God. And it’s time for us to do the same.
- There can be no double-mindedness – “But IF…” – That’s a big word w/ only 2 letters. If you don’t want to do this, then don’t try to fake it. Don’t try to fool God & your family b/c it won’t last. James said a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (James 1:8). If there’s still an “IF” in your mind – some doubt – some double-mindedness of wanting to serve God, but also keep your foot in the world, then you’re not ready to totally sell out.
- There can be no one else to make this decision for you – “…choose for yourselves…” – This is YOUR decision! What’s it going to be? God’s way? Or the world’s way?
- There can be no looking back – “…But as for me & my house, we will serve the Lord!” – Joshua was making his commitment public & calling out the rest of the people of God to do the same.
So here goes. Going to intentionally kick you out of your comfort zones, but it’s too important to fool around w/ this. Vicki, Russ – please stand up. I want to say to you that TODAY, as a family, we are choosing to serve the Lord, & we’re not looking back.