"Choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond 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."
As I read this passage, it reminds me of the Bob Dylan song, Gotta Serve Somebody. Dylan understood Joshua's instruction. In seven verses, Dylan covers a full gamut of people with the chorus being:
But you're gonna have to serve somebody, yes
You're gonna have to serve somebody
Well, it may be the devil, or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.
In 1 Kings 18:21, Elijah places the same decision before the people of Israel, "Elijah came near to all the people and said, 'How long will you go limping between two different opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal, then follow him.'" If you don't remember the event, God displays His power by sending fire from heaven while Baal does nothing.
Similarly, in John 6 many of those who were following Jesus chose to follow Him no longer. Jesus puts the question of whom will you serve to the twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Joshua's statement is more direct than Peter's, but he makes the same point. "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God."
These saints in the Bible would agree with the premise of Dylan's song: choose who you are going to serve because inevitably you are going to serve someone or something. The choice Joshua, Elijah and Peter made was evident in the lives they chose to live. The question for each of us is the same. Elijah's language fits well in the 21st century, doesn't it? "How long will you go limping between two different opinions?"
Lord God, as for me and my house, we will serve You. Where else would we go, You have the words of eternal life? Holy Spirit, please solidify that decision in me. May the life I live be a witness to the LORD God I serve.
After reading Joshua's challenge to the people of Israel concerning who they would serve, I found an additional issue in Acts 4. Ok, Roy, you have chosen to serve Me. The question now becomes how are you going to serve Me?
The answer for the disciples in Acts is with "all boldness." Even the Jewish leaders recognized this characteristic after Peter, being filled with the Holy Spirit, bluntly spoke the Gospel to them in Acts 4:7-13.
After being commanded to not teach or speak in the name of Jesus, the disciples prayed, "Now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness." God immediately answered their request by filling them with the Holy Spirit, and they continued to speak the word of God boldly.
Lord Jesus, not only do I want to serve You, but I also want to serve You boldly. Please, just as You filled Your disciples with Your Spirit, do the same for me so I, too, may boldly speak the Good News of Jesus, who is the Christ.