In Bible times, foreign gods where a major issue. The first of the ten commandments God gave Moses on mount Sinai was, “you shall have no other gods before me.” But this seemed to be a continual thorn in the side of the Israelites. It didn’t seem to matter how faithful God was to them, how many miracles he performed, or how many prayers he answered, foreign gods were always an area of temptation for them. Though we may not struggle with this same temptation, there are others that can just as easily draw us away from God. And if we were ever hot for him, if we are not careful, our dedication can grow lukewarm and we can drift further and further away from him; so far, in fact, that we may no longer “serve” him. The world may begin to look so enticing that God becomes an afterthought. Joshua challenged the Israelites with these words; words that I think we should take to heart as well. In Joshua chapter 24, verse 15, it says:
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable for you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served 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.”
Our culture, our media, and our environment may never shine a light on the goodness and the faithfulness of our God. That means that we will have to keep the fire hot through effort. We need to continually seek God. We need to continually love him. And we must continually serve him. Worldly enticements, and our apathy as a culture, has take the place of foreign gods. Without realizing it many of us have turned to technology and entertainment media to occupy our time and our attention. We may need to wake up and turn our eyes back to God. We may need to address what Joshua said to the Israelites: “If serving the Lord seems undesirable for you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” I pray that you and I will make that same declaration.
Following Christ in our culture takes effort. We need to actively seek him, and we need to seek him first. We need to fill our minds with heavenly things; things that make us think about him, worship him and serve him. Because if we are left to our own devices, we are prone to wander. Like a pot of boiling water removed from the burner, we are liable to grow lukewarm. We must purpose in our hearts to pursue God with all that is within is. We must decide today whom we will serve. And as we do, I hope and pray that we come to the same conclusion Joshua did. I pray that we will say with our mouths, as well as with our hearts and our actions, “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”