Joshua chooses to end his life by reminding Israel of all of God's promises and how they have always been fulfilled. He reviews all that they have done, and emphasizes all that Jehovah had done for them, making it clear that everything they have is a gift from God. Finally, he challenges his people to look to the future, to make some important decisions about how they will go on without his firm leadership. He reminds them that there are still Canaanites in the land who worship idols, and that there are some of the children of Israel who are tempted to join in their profane worship, but he puts it to the people this way: "Now, therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the LORD! 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." (24:14-15).
Joshua wants his people to turn to the one true God. They pledge that they will, but Joshua isn’t convinced. His people have taken the Promised Land for granted and are apathetic about their faith. He therefore tells them to remember their past, where they have come from. It is a faith that has helped them through overwhelming circumstances and a faith that hasn’t been easy. It requires some difficult choices, in other words, sacrifices, changes in their lifestyle, and an absolute dependency on God.
It is essential that the service of God's people be performed with willing hearts, for love is the only genuine principle from which all acceptable service of God can spring. The Father seeks only those to worship Him, as worship Him in spirit and in truth.
We are all tempted to serve other gods. We all have our obsessions. We conform because of society’s pressures. We don’t like to wait and want everything right now. We don’t realize how these other gods are consuming our lives and taking away from the God who loves us. Joshua’s people made a covenant with Him, and so can we. It may mean making some choices that won’t be popular with our family and friends. It means we won’t always adhere to the status quo. It means we will remember the trials and tribulations of the ancestors of our faith and realize that the way will not always be easy, but like them, we can persevere.
To rid ourselves of the gods of obsession, instant gratification, and conformity, we need to a make a sincere commitment to let them go. That requires a change in our lifestyle, a redirection of our energy and resources. Basically, it means we need to prioritize our lives in a new way. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.