In Deuteronomy, Moses gave three preaches in ten days. Later, he appointed Joshua as the next leader of the Israelites. In Joshua 1, it says “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua son of Nun, Moses’ aide, ‘Moses my servant is dead. Now then, you and all these people, get ready to cross the Jordan River into the land I am about to give to them－to the Israelites. I will give you every place where you set your foot, as I promised Moses…” For 6-7 years, Joshua led the Israelites to fight all the battles, and eventually God divided all the land of Cannon among the twelve tribes of Israel.
Toward the end of Joshua, when Joshua aged, he summoned all Israel－their elders, leaders, judges and officials－and said to them, “be careful to obey all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, without turning aside to the right or to the left. Do not associate with these nations that remain among you; do not invoke the names of their gods or swear by them. You must not serve them or bow down them. But you are to hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have until now. The Lord has driven out before you great and powerful nations; to this day no one has been able to withstand you. One of you routs a thousand, because the Lord your God fights for you, just as He promised.” Joshua also warned them, “Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed. But just as all the good things the Lord your God has promised you have come to you, so He will bring on you all the evil things He has threatened… If you violate the covenant of the Lord your God, which He commanded you, and go and serve other gods and bow down to them, the Lord’s anger will burn against you, and you will quickly perish from the good land He has given you.”
Our God is more righteous and strict than we think, but He is also more merciful and loving. We can be confidence fearless before God, and yet we must serve Him with reverence in our hearts. We all make mistakes, and we all sin, but God is always patient with us as long as we repent. Moses and Joshua kept cautioning the Israelites to obey God’s words; do not turn aside to the right or to the left. At first, people may just deviate from God’s commands for an inch, but ended up meters away from God’s words.
“But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, 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 24:15). Our God is an awesome God! He has the power to, but never, forces us; He allow us to choose freely whether to serve Him or not. God is holy, none of us deserve to serve Him. It is because of God’s mercy, grace, and love that we can serve Him today. God considers us worthy! So many people tried to serve and please the kings and emperors on earth. In the old days, when summoned by the emperor, a courtier must rush to the emperor at once; no one dared to delay a minute. Today, the ruler of the universe is calling us, and yet some people consider themselves to be out of luck or even wronged. My dear brothers and sisters, don’t think of serving God as a burden! It is our honor and privilege to serve the king of kings! Let us think about this: for how many hours out of 24 per day do we praise and thank God? Do we spend most of our time complaining?
In order to love and serve God, we need not only passion, but also training. Enthusiasm may be a motivation at the beginning, but trainings give you power to keep on serving. We need to take root in God’s words, receive training in His house, and live a Christ-like life. At the beginning of a new year, let us proclaim “as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord!”