“'Now therefore, put away the foreign gods which are in your midst, and incline your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.' The people said to Joshua, 'We will serve the Lord our God and we will obey His voice.'” Joshua 24:23-24
At the O'Fallon Church of Christ, we have decided on the theme "Commitment" as our goal and guide in 2013. The inspiration and launching pad for our journey (in part) is the following:
Joshua, in the midst of his farewell speech to the people of Israel, took time to remind first the elders, then the people themselves of their history and all that God had done for them. He reminded them that God had done miraculous things for them and among them despite their proclivity towards serving other Gods. He famously offered, "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Josh 24:15). In response to this, the people committed themselves to the Lord.
Beloved commitment is an interesting thing. Most simply put, it involves heartfelt belief, a decision to act or behave based on that belief and the action itself. As it relates to our spiritual lives, we have a professed belief in God. Most who know us know this about us. It easy to believe but what is belief without the proper decision? James famously said in 2:19, "You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that-and shudder." Any decision to follow God based on our belief, must be backed up by action, otherwise it is just talk. Herein lies commitment.
Joshua issued a challenge to the people of his time to make good their claims by putting away the idols that were even then in their midst and living their lives according to His commands. The people did indeed keep their commitment and "served the Lord throughout the lifetime of Joshua and of the elders who out lived him and who had experienced everything the Lord had done for Israel" Josh 24:31. Let us do as they did. Let us commit ourselves to our heavenly Father and let it be seen in our words, thoughts and deeds.