Will serve
Will serve

The theme is the Farewell Message of Joshua to the people of Israel in the Book of Joshua 24:15 tagged “……We will Serve the lord.

 Joshua 24:15 states “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you

will serve, whether the gods that 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. (NIV).

Joshua was the successor of Moses, whom God appointed to lead the people of Israel to Canaan, the Promised Land. Suffice it to say,

that Joshua was one of the 12 men sent by Moses to spy the land of Canaan. While 10 out of the 12 brought a fearful report, only

Joshua and Caleb disabused the minds of the people with a report that the inhabitants of the land could not stop the Host of Israel, from occupying the entire landscape.

When Moses died, God then chose Joshua to take over the mantle of leadership, the

assignment he did with all honesty of purpose and thorough obedience to his Master, God. However, when Joshua had advanced in age, and was probably having

the premonition that the end was nigh, he called the assembly of the people of Israel for what could be termed a time for self appraisal.

Just like the church in Laodecia was x-rayed by the Spirit as neither hot nor cold, Joshua also observed with grave concern, the inconsistencies of the people, concerning

the worship of Yahweh. They may have been romancing with strange gods. They got involved in the acts of idolatry which their neighbours, the Amorites, were noted for.

They seemed to have forgotten so soon, all that God had done for them, having conquered their enemies from within and without.

They had forgotten how the Promised Land was shared to them according to their tribes, and the peace they enjoyed all around them.

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Father Joshua was afraid of the trend of events, he reminded the people, in Joshua 23:14-16, of the promises of God and how

He had kept His part of the promises. “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not

one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But just as

every good promise of the Lord your God has come true, so the Lord will bring on you all the evil he has threatened, until he has destroyed you from this good land he has

given you. If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which he commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down

to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land he has given you”.

With the above exhortation therefore, the choice was that of the people of Israel to either keep their part of the promise and

vow in order to live and continued to enjoy the largesse of God, or to follow other gods and be destroyed.

However, Joshua was quick to add that even if the people would not serve God, as for him and his household, they would serve the Lord.

Although the people of Israel were not forced, rather they were encouraged by Joshua’s exhortation to retrace their steps;

they all then chose to serve God. This was attested to, in their resolve in Joshua 24:16 – “Then the people answered, ‘Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods”.

However, Joshua went further that it was not by word of mouth alone that they could serve God.

He made them understand that God is holy and jealous and would not condone rebellion and sins. If they must serve God,

their service must be total and without reproach. They were therefore advised, to throw away the foreign gods that was among them and yield their hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.

How are we serving God today?

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Let us examine the way we serve God today, to determine if there is a difference from the time of Joshua.

a) Too much familiarity with God and things of God
Familiarity often times breeds contempt, and too much familiarity will surely bring too

much contempt. For instance, the sons of prophet Eli used their familiarity with the holy things of God to act contemptuously unto God; the entire family was killed in one day.

Many Christians today believe that they are so close to the Priests; to the extent that there is nothing the Priests can do that they

should not be able to do. However, such people may have forgotten the role Miriam played for her brother, Moses, and the attendant consequence. Miriam likened

herself to Moses and this angered God, who made her leprous – Numbers 12:2 &10. Uzzah touched the ark of God and was struck dead – 2 Sam. 6:3-8.

b) Self Esteem

Many Christians now rely on the number of years they had been baptised and confirmed rather than their new life in Christ. Many see worship and Church services as passport to heaven.

They do not joke with services and even have their designated seats in the Church! They are always Chairmen of Committees,

and nothing seems to be good and complete unless they are the reference point. Even Priests are expected to visit them for briefings before decisions are taken! May God have mercy!

c) Pride

The Christians today is full of self-seeking people. The quest for materialism has taken the centre stage. Many build houses in various towns and villages as though these

properties can guarantee eternity. Kidnapping is on the increase because of

the get-rich-quick syndrome. Everyone wants to be recognized and praised. Egoism is become the order of the day.

d) Immorality amongst Brethren

There is shocking news in the Church today. Many embrace immorality even in the open. We seem not to see anything wrong anymore in coveting the wives of others,

even co-parishioners in the church. Wealthy people use their riches to force immorality on the young and old. We do not help people of the opposite sex unless they are ready to pay back in kind.

e) Greed and Corruption

These twin-evil have really eaten deep into the fabrics of our society today to the extent that the Church is not left out. Members run for positions in the church with the ulterior

motive of amassing wealth. Church money is being spent without reasonable justification. The positions of Wardens in

our Churches have become a goldmine; hence members embark on rigorous campaign for office before vestry meetings. God will forgive us.

f) Others

There are so many other areas of our lives that we need to check properly, if we must serve the Lord, right. Many of our members

still believe in syncretism and so they visit shrines and Churches in alternate manner. Deep seated anger, unforgiving spirit,

tribalism, hypocrisy, faithlessness, sycophancy and the like, are very common features among brethren, and these are gods we need to throw away, to enable us embrace our Maker.

In many of our Churches today, the atmosphere of prosperity has led to spiritual laziness and neglects of eternity things. We

are no longer “hot enough spiritually to recognize or respond to the Holy Spirit’s guidance; and are not quite “cold” enough to realise the need for repentance and return to God.

We are lukewarm like the Laodecian Church. A lukewarm Church is one that is apathetic and negligent about personal devotion to Christ.

It is half-hearted and lazy in its service to God. The world has crept into such Churches, and they easily compromise with worldly standards.

They have such a lackadaisical attitude towards their service to God, and their watchword is “If you cannot beat them; you join them”.

We hardly can see Christ in many that claimed to be Christians today. Such people have forgotten that the people of Antioch gave the name ‘Christian’ to the apostles of

old, when they saw Christ in them and their activities – Acts 11:26. However, to serve or not to serve God is a matter of choice.

In the Church today, a lot of things represent gods that are being worshipped. Many are yet to take decisions as to what to put aside for them to serve their God.

Things like malice, evil speaking (jestings), wrath and anger, bitterness, lying, abominations, iniquity, witches, guilt,

excessive social lives, drunkenness, adultery, fornication etc. are commonly found among our members. The manifestation of any of the above in our lives is an open invitation to the wrath of God.

The people of Israel acted wisely, however, on the exhortation of Joshua with the following six confessions of faith:

(i) God forbid that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods.

(ii) Jehovah is that God that has brought us up out of Egyptian bondage.

(iii) He is the One who has preserved us alive among all people from Egypt.

(iv) He is the One who did great signs in our sight.

(v) He is the One who drove out all the people from the land in which we now dwell.

(vi) Therefore, we will also serve the Lord, for He is our God.

It was this same freedom that was respected by Joshua, when he told his people to choose whom they would serve.

As Christians, we have decisions to make; to either serve God or not, to either do the will of our Maker or not. The book of Isaiah 55:6-7 says, “Seek the Lord while He may be

found; call on Him, while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts, let him turn to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him, and to our God, for He will freely pardon”.

No man can serve God unless he is ready to put away all idols/gods/sins, for God is holy and jealous. There are many gods people in

our Churches worship today, and unless we are ready to put them away, God will not be happy with our service. Many worship fleet

of cars and houses; many more worship positions; others still, power, while many have been enslaved to money and jewelry to

mention just a few. Let us therefore be ready to take wise decisions as the people of Israel did, by putting all gods aside and be ready to serve God (Yahweh).

How truly can we serve God?

Summarily brethren, we must be conscious of the following facts if we must serve God:

a) We must know Him in order to serve Him.

Many only know about Jesus, rather than knowing Him and serving Him. It is not enough to know about Jesus, but to know

Him and surrender all to Him – Phil. 3:10. To know God is to have eternal life and to serve Him is to have perfect freedom.

b) Many today are working for Jesus but are not walking in Him. It is only rewarding if you walk in Him before you work for Him. God told Abraham: “walk before me and be blameless” – Gen. 17:1

c) We must have a repentant heart to be able to serve God. In the book of Proverbs 28:13 the Bible says “He that covereth his

sins shall not prosper: but who so confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy”. Our ability to forsake our old ways

and embrace new life in Jesus will surely enhance our service unto God. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come” II Cor. 5:17.

d) We must begin to live a life of total obedience. Many in the Church embrace partial obedience. They argue with God on

why it is difficult for them to have total obedience. The book of Prophet Isaiah 1:19-20 states “If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the best from the land; but if you

resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword. For the mouth of the LORD has spoken”. Mary, Mother of Jesus at Cana of

Galilee told the disciples to do whatever Jesus commanded them to do – John 2:5. “If you love me, you will obey what I command” –John 14:15. God is looking for

Children with uncommon obedience, uninterrupted and uncompromising obedience. (e.g. Joseph, Daniel shedrack, Meshach and Abednego.

(e) Our commitment to God must be total and our will subsumed into His will. We must at all times do only what pleases Him

– John 8:29. Not all that call on the name of the Lord are His. Matt. 7:21, Jesus said “My meat is to do the will of Him that sent me,

and to finish his work”. John 4:34. We must attend Bible Study classes, Prayer meetings, Vigils and other services for us to be able to

serve Him. The Bible says “Iron sharpeneth Iron”. We cannot serve God from a distance but to draw ourselves close to Him – James 4:8.

(f) We must covet the Kingdom Agenda. God knows how to take care of us if only we are ready to depend on Him absolutely. We

must focus more on things of the Kingdom as opposed to pursuit of worldly things. The Scripture says “Therefore take no thought,

saying, what shall we eat? or what shall we drink? or, wherewithal shall we be clothed? But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and

His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” – Matt. 6:31-33. “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love” – Heb. 6:10. If we serve

God, He knows how to take proper care of us. He is not a debtor of anyone. The book of Psalm says “I have been young, and now

am old, yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging for bread” – Psalm 37:25.

(g) Finally brethren, we must be rich in good works. Paul told the Ephesians “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus

unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them” – Eph. 2:10. If the Bible says we must be rich

in every good work, it means if care is not taken, it is possible to be deficient in good work. We must be good advertisers of the

Kingdom through what we do for our brothers and sisters, especially house of faith. In St. Matthew Gospel Chapter 5 vs.

13-16, the Bible says, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how

can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. “You are the light of

the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven”.

Gracious lord,help us to serve you in all circumstances of life in Jesus name.Amen

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