The Saturday Morning Post by Pastor Ted Stahl

Today’s Reading: Joshua 22-24, Hebrews 5-8, and Proverbs 19

Today’s Passage: Joshua 24:14-18: Service With A Smile

While reading today’s passage, a question popped into my head: why serve the Lord? Israel knew God, and gave four reasons why they should serve Him, and not the false gods of the land. Joshua is giving his fair-well talk with the nation of Israel. They are ready to go to their homes and enjoy the promised land which God has given them. And Joshua is charging them: “Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD. And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:14-18)

The Lord brought them out of Egypt: freed them from bondage: freed them from being slaves to the Egyptians. The Lord did miracles in their sight. The Lord preserved them as they journeyed to the promised land. And the Lord drove out the people He knew would cause Israel to chase after strange gods. Those were the four reasons that Israel had for serving the Lord. As Christians, we have the same four reasons to serve the Lord.

He freed you from the bondage: the bondage of sin.

From the day you understand the difference between wrong and right, sin has had you in it’s grip. One day you would die because of sin. Ezekiel 18:20 says, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die…” We are all sinners and in bondage to sin: we have a death penalty placed on our heads. God saved us out of bondage through God the Son: the Lord Jesus Christ. “Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free? Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:31-36)

Paul reinforces this with Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” So just as God frees Israel from the bondage of Egypt, He frees us from the bondage of sin.

Not only that, can you imagine chasing after the Amorites with Israel? Then seeing the Lord cast down great hailstones at the enemy which killed more than Israel did with the sword. Can you imagine seeing this? And right after that, “Then spake Joshua to the LORD in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” (Joshua 10:12-13)

Can you imagine seeing that? Israel saw it happen, miracles from God. Have you seen any miracles? No? When you see someone bow their head and ask Jesus to come into their heart, you see a miracle. You see a dead spirit coming back to life. That’s a miracle. When you see someone you’ve been praying for healed of cancer, or some other disease, that’s a miracle. That’s the work of God the Holy Ghost. The Spirit quickens: gives life (see 1Peter 3:18). When we receive Christ, the Holy Ghost gives life to our spirit which has never lived. But this is not the only job of the Holy Ghost. Israel was preserved on their journey to the promised land, even their clothing, Moses reminded them of this in Deuteronomy 8:4: “Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.” God preserved Israel as they journeyed to the promised land, and He preserves us as we journey through life to our home in heaven. Ephesians 4:30 says: “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” The Holy Ghost preserves us. The Holy Ghost preserved the apostle Paul. He suffered more than anyone reading this today for the sake of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Read the account he gives in 2Corinthians 11:20 thru 28. Paul went through a lot, yet God was there and took him through it all. God preserved him.

The forth reason the people gave for following the Lord, is that He drove the people out. God knew that if the people of the land remained, that the would turn Israel away from following God. Israel would follow after their little ‘g’ gods. In looking back, I find that many of my old friends are not around anymore: the ones I knew before I got saved. It wasn’t anything I did. They didn’t run away because of giant hailstones. God got them out of my life because He knew they would turn me away from following Him. The Bible says in 2Corinthians chapter 6, verses 14 thru 18: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” He brought us out, and we may not notice it until we take a look back to whence we came.

So the Lord sets us free from the bondage of sin. He does miracles in our lives. He preserves us on our journey to heaven. He separates us from the things that may turn our hearts away from Him. Can you think of any of the many other reasons we have to serve the Lord? Yes? Then why aren’t you? God has given you a gift to edify others in the church. Using your gift to lift up the spirit of a brother or sister who is hurting is a gift that edifies. Being a “pew warmer” is not. If you are not sure how you can serve the Lord, ask your preacher. Did you know that on the average, 10% of church members do 90% of the work? Maybe the gift that God has given you will influence others to serve also. When you exercise the gift that God has given you, that 10% will grow. How much? I can not tell you, but it is a lot easier for 11% to do 90% of the work than it is for 10%. No matter what the reason, start serving the Lord.

Peace. (Romans 14:19)

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