These words can strike up all kinds of emotions and feelings and even get our defenses up! In Joshua 24, Joshua shares some final words with his fellow Israelites as he recounts how God brought them from bondage into the Promised Land. He challenges them in verse 15: “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve … But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” The people respond in verse 18: “We also will serve the LORD, for He is our God.” I believe Joshua then shocks them with his response in verse 19: “You cannot serve the LORD.” However, as you read the full passage, you get a glimpse into Joshua’s heart, which is to steer them to the LORD and away from hypocrisy. Verse 23: “Now therefore,” he said, “put away the foreign gods which are among you, and incline your heart to the LORD God of Israel.” He is calling them to integrity and action. This also applies for us today. It may be easy in church to echo, “As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” Yet in our day-to-day, are we still choosing to hold onto something (an idol) we know God has spoken to us about? Jesus says in Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” Are you trying to serve two masters, knowing that you can’t? Correction is not always the easiest thing to hear, but Proverbs has much to say about the wisdom of accepting it. (See Proverbs 9:8, 10:17, 13:1, 13:18, 15:5, 15:31-32) May we make Psalms 139:23-24 our prayer, allowing God to correct us so that we CAN serve Him in Spirit and in truth: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.“

In Christ, Pastor Dustin Linenberger