Josh. 24:15 “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
One of the most powerful things every human has is a decision. Decisions have changed lives, countries, and the world itself. For the believer in Christ it can literally mean the difference between victory or defeat, health or sickness, God’s provision or the thief’s destruction. Joshua knew this all too well.
If you remember when the children of Israel where brought up to Canaan land, their promise land, God told Moses to send in 12 spies, one head from each of the tribes of Israel. After the 12 spies had come back they confirmed that it was a land flowing with milk and honey just as the Lord had promised, but 10 of the 12 gave a bad report. They focused on the giants of the land and said they were better off to go back to Egypt.
This is what happens when you don’t make a decision before facing the challenges of life. You begin to waver at what God said and in doing so you are defeated before you even start. But if you remember Joshua and Caleb had a different view of the land God had given them. They did not deny the challenges they faced, but they said, “Only do not rebel against the Lord, nor fear the people of the land, for they are our bread; their protection has departed from them, and the Lord is with us. Do not fear them.”
This type of statement would have never been heard had Joshua and Caleb not made a decision long before this that what God said was so. God had told the children of Israel that He would go before them and overtake these enemies. Joshua and Caleb believed God knowing it was theirs for the taking. Even though the rebellion of the bunch kept Joshua and Caleb from entering into that promised land right then, they were the only ones from that generation that later entered into that promise God had given them. What sustained them through the wilderness? A decision. A decision to believe God and know what He had promised was theirs.
There are several key things that every born again child of God should settle once and for all in their lives by drawing a line in the sand as it were and making a decision. If you don’t do so, you are easy prey for satan to come along with things in the natural that will grab your attention and turn you away from your God and cause you to be defeated, never entering in to what God has for your life. This is powerful and something that most never think about, but when you have not settled certain things in your life that are clear for a believer, it is one of the main reasons that the devil takes advantage of us and keeps us from walking by faith.
I love this foundation verse in Joshua 24:15 where Joshua is now challenging the children of Israel talking about the fact that God had brought them into a land for which they had not labored. They had inhabited cities which they had not built, and they were partaking of the fruit of the land for which they had not planted (v.13). He tells them they should fear the Lord and put away the gods which their fathers had served in Egypt (v.14). He then tells them to choose for themselves who they would serve. No one can make that choice for you. I love the statement he makes at the end of verse 15. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
Here again we see in Joshua’s life the effect of a decision he made long ago that he would walk with, believe in, and serve his God. So many today only serve God when it is convenient for them. If they have lots of money, get to do everything they want, have everything in their life going their way, then they will serve God. But the minute things don’t go their way they no longer serve Him. They begin to drift away from the house of God, don’t pay their tithe, stop serving in the house of God, and begin to pull away from the very people that God placed in their life to help them. If the devil knows this is true of us, when will we learn that he then knows all he has to do is to disrupt our lives and in doing so he wins and we lose.
We need to realize something that many seem to forget. When things don’t go the way we planned or we face challenging situations there are a couple of reasons why. First of all not one of us has life all figured out. We all make choices in our life that can have adverse effects and cause things to go bad. That is a fact. God doesn’t cause these things to happen, we do by wrong choices. Yes God is sovereign but what that actually means is He is all-powerful. He is not making our choices for us. The other fact is we are in a fallen world and we have an enemy, and that enemy is not God. All good gifts come from the Father above in whom there is no variation nor shadow of turning (James 1:17). Let’s stop blaming God for our bad choices or satans attacks.
Now let’s talk about several key things that as a believer if you will address these in your life and make a stand, make a decision to never turn from doing these things, then you will become steadfast and immovable. Doing so like Joshua and Caleb means you will begin to have a good report, and you will stop seeing the glass as always being half empty. You will become much more stable in your walk with God and begin to develop in your walk of faith. You will also get closer to God and see your relationship with Him get closer. The end result will be like Joshua, as for you and your house, you will serve the Lord.
Matt. 9:36 But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.
1. YOU NEED A SHEPHERD
This is one of the most important and yet most misunderstood truths in the body of Christ. It is a proven biblical fact that God wants you to have a shepherd. One of the things that moved Jesus with compassion for the people is that they were weary and scattered because they had no shepherd. He is the good Shepherd, but if you take time to study the first part of John 10:1-6 you will find out in these verses that He is the door and the true shepherds that He has gifted to feed the flock must come through Him. The sheep will know when they hear the voice of their shepherd Jesus has for them.
In Ephesians 4:11 we find out that Jesus when ascending to heaven gave five gifts to the body of Christ. We need all five, and one of those was a pastor. If we don’t find the shepherd Jesus has for our life or walk away from the one He gave us, we are rejecting one of the gifts He gave to help us in our walk with God. Even other ministers need a pastor for there is nothing in scripture that exempts them from having the same gift in their life as well.
If you don’t find your shepherd and then make a decision to stick with the gift that Jesus gave you, the devil will surely succeed in robbing you of one of the gifts the Lord has for your life to help equip you and grow you up. You will remain immature as a Christian if you don’t have a pastor (EPH 4:14). So once you find your shepherd you must make a decision to receive and cleave to this gift that Jesus gave you.
Heb. 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.
2. STAY IN GOD’S HOUSE
Once you find your shepherd you need to make a decision to stay in God’s house and not allow anyone nor anything to pull you away from assembling with the body of believers God has made you a part of. The word for assembling here does not mean a few believers coming together, but actually refers to the believers and all the leadership of God’s house present. It may start out as a few believers as a new church, but this is not two or three gathering together, this is an assembly. If you don’t choose to stay in God’s house it won’t be long before your adversary has you doing all kinds of other things. Before you know it you are doing exactly what Paul warned us we should not do, and even so much more as we get closer to the return of the Lord.
John 8:31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.
John 8:32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
3. ABIDE IN THE WORD OF GOD
You need to settle once and for all that you are going to live in God’s Word for your life. If you do then you won’t allow other things to take you away from time in the Word of God. Jesus said those who abide in His Word are His disciples, and they shall know the truth and the truth shall set them free. You are not going to have freedom apart from God’s Word. God and His Word are one. The more you live in the Word the better you get to know God. It should be a time of fellowship between you and Him as you take time to draw near to God each day.
Matt. 23:23 “How terrible it will be for you teachers of religious law and you Pharisees. Hypocrites! For you are careful to tithe even the tiniest part of your income, but you ignore the important things of the law—justice, mercy, and faith. You should tithe, yes, but you should not leave undone the more important things.
4. KEEP YOUR MONEY RIGHT WITH GOD
Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. People want to argue about tithing and giving offerings because their hearts are set on other things. Jesus here clearly tells us we should tithe. Tithing is a vital way in which we honor God and put Him first in every part or our lives. Doing so helps us to stop serving mammon and to serve God. You cannot serve God and mammon.
There are many more things you could obviously talk about in making a decision. The truth is every time we see things in God’s Word that scripture reveals we should be doing, we should make a decision right then and there to do what it says. This may seem trivial but it truly is in many cases the difference between victory and defeat. Settle these things in your life and you will become steadfast in your walk with God.
See You Again Next Week For More “Weekly Wisdom”
May God’s Best Be Yours!
Pastor Darryl Baker