“You Choose”

1/16/19 – Pastor Brian’s Blog

Choices. We all make them. Last week Judy and I chose to go to Washington D.C. to attend a memorial service at Arlington National Cemetery for Naval Lt. Christopher Short. Lt. Short was killed during a training flight in New Mexico. He was 32-years-old. Chris Short made a choice to attend the U. S. Naval Academy and then chose to go into the service of his country, and it cost him his life.

Each one of us make choices daily that affect our life. Sometimes we see the results of those choices immediately while other times we see the results many months or a few years later. Some of us may not see the results of our decisions until our children and / or grandchildren grow up. Then there are those choices we make that we won’t see the results of this side of eternity.

Joshua had many choices to make as the leader of the Israelites. He could have chosen to follow pagan gods as his forefathers had done. He could have chosen to allow the influence of the countries around him to compromise his faith. Joshua could have chosen to follow the majority, when they said that the Canaanites were too big a force to conquer, and not go into the land that God had promised them.

Joshua was a big deal; he succeeded Moses in leading the Israelites. Joshua could have chosen to allow his pride, his influence, his prestige, and his money, as well as his power to corrupt him, but he did not. Joshua chose to fear and serve God…. “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to 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.” Joshua 24:14-15

As we see in the prior verses, Joshua not only chose to serve the Lord, he had chosen to teach his children and grandchildren to honor and serve the Lord as well. Joshua had seen the faithfulness of God, he had seen God defeat the “giants” in the land, he had experienced the victories on the battlefield, so Joshua knew that God could also give him spiritual victory in his home.

Another man made a different kind of choice… Then one of the Twelve (disciples)–the one called Judas Iscariot–went to the chief priests and asked, “What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?” So they counted out for him thirty silver coins. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him (Jesus) over. Matthew 26:14-16

It would be only a matter of hours before Judas would realize the results of that decision… When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself. Matthew 27:3-5

Choices made by 3 different men with 3 different outcomes. Christopher Short made a choice and he died doing what he loved to do. Judas chose to reject the best pastor, the best leader, the best teacher, the best friend in Jesus Christ, and he ended up taking his own life. Joshua chose God, and not only did it affect his life, but it also affects the life of his children and grandchildren that followed.

We all must choose for ourselves this day whom we will serve. We can make poor choices like Judas, or make good choices like Joshua. Judas choices were so poor that even to this day, no one will name their child ‘Judas.’ Joshua’s choices were so good that even to this day, the military still use him as an example in their leadership classes.

But more importantly, the choices Joshua made affected his family: “But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve. You choose, but be careful, because not only does it affect you, it will affect those that follow you.