Reformed Theology

Go ahead and choose your idols… but I and my family will serve Yahweh

Joshua 24:15 is often used as a memory verse, ommitting about half of it: “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve…. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (NIV, abridged).  I can think of Family Camp on Catalina where that was the memory verse for the week.  It really sounds like a nice Arminian proof text, doesn’t it?  Makes you want to stand up and say, “I’m on the Lord’s side! Yay for me! I made the right choice!”

In context, it reads as follows:

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.  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.  (Joshua 24:14, 15, ESV)

Joshua is not telling them to choose between false gods on the one side and Yahweh on the other, as the memory-verse hackers would have you believe.  He’s giving them a sarcastic ultimatum, after commanding them to serve the Lord, saying if you don’t want to serve the Lord, then go and choose your idols.  The choice he offers them is not between good and evil, but it is between many evils.  That’s the only “freedom” (if you can call it that) that totally depraved humans have, as they are enslaved to sin (Rom. 6:6).  Nowhere does he say he made a choice of his own free will to serve God and you should as well.

“If it is evil in your eyes…” We can only serve him by sovereign grace. Our fallen, corrupt hearts want nothing to do with God until he changes them and makes us see him as glorious and worthy.

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 1 Cor 1:22-25 (ESV)



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