At the end of his life, Joshua talks to the people of Israel. He reviews the work of God across generations. And says, “You have to make a choice to follow God or not.” And Joshua points to his life and says, “I chose following.”
Here’s the thing.
In choosing to follow God, Joshua chose not to follow idols.
There are lots of idols that we can choose to follow. Joshua identified the gods that Abraham’s father had followed and the idols that were worshipped by the people in Canaan before the Israelites came. The worship of our ancestors or someone else’s ancestors.
What came to mind as I was raking leaves Saturday is that we have these choices, too. We can follow God.
- The God who leads us day by day, who is predictable in a commitment to love, but unpredictable from our view in who he calls us to love.
- Who is predictable in a commitment to provide wisdom, but who is unpredictable from our view in what that wisdom will discern.
- Who is predictable in a commitment to be with us always, even to the end of the age, but who is unpredictable from our view in where he will be with us.
We can follow God.
Or we can follow the idols of our ancestors or those of others. We can choose the comfortable parts of our family history. The locations or the traditions or a form of patriotism. We can choose the comfortable parts of the history of where we live now. The location or the traditions or the form of patriotism.
But here’s what is true.
Following or rejecting family, following or rejecting culture, is not following God. The paths may be parallel but they are not identical. And when we are more committed to someone or something else than we are to God, we are not following God.
And Joshua wanted people to be very sure that they were committed completely to following God, no matter what.
I talked yesterday about my Advent journal: Giving a Year Meaning: A Healing Journal for Advent 2020.