Tuesday, February 14, 2012

As For Me and My House...

Over my door there is a lovely gift from one of my members - it's a wooden curve that reads, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." This is, of course, from Joshua, his address to the people of Israel having entered the Holy Lands.

However, let's look at the full quote (which is implied in the brief one):

“Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, 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.

It's interesting what is going on here, isn't it. Joshua isn't harping on the people, telling them what they must do - he isn't beating them over the head. He declares what is good - fear the Lord, serve Him, put away false gods." But... if serving god seems evil to you... go worship someone else.

Seems odd for a preacher to say that -- at least to us today. Was it merely a rhetorical device, as he had just told them it was wrong to serve false gods? Was Joshua just trying to be ironic, or shame them?


Joshua was seeing a point -- forcing outward actions do not create belief. "If it is evil in your eyes" - that's the key. If your eyes see God as evil, see His commandments and promises as odious, if you have heard, if you have seen the promise land and gone "meh" -- jumping through hoops will do nothing for you.

There is no concern about trying to at least establish a nice outward behavior - shoot, he says go worship false gods if that's the case (they'd be damned already, ain't going to do them anymore harm).

Again - I think that we can be entirely too concerned about shaping our neighbor's actions rather than being concerned for our neighbor. It's a distinction. Let us say what is good. Let us demonstrate what is good. Let us point to Christ. Let us scatter the seed. And if they view God as evil and run after false gods... so be it.

As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

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