Choose you this day whom ye will serve … as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD—Josh. 24:15.
Let others reverence whom and what they will; we who have tasted that the Lord is gracious, we who have come to know Him through His Word, and through His providences, and through the power of the Spirit by which we are energized to newness of life—we can do naught else than reverence our God; and reverencing Him we must trust Him implicitly; and trusting Him implicitly we will gladly walk in whatever way He may mark out for us; and thus trusting and thus walking we are content, whatever lot we see, since 'tis His hand that leadeth us. And let us be assured that, following the true Shepherd after this manner, we shall ultimately reach the Kingdom fold. In these assurances we have joy and peace and blessing of heart, even in the house of our pilgrimage—Z '01, 284 (R 2872).
Prompt decision to do the Lord's will after discerning it, is the course of the faithful. It is characteristic of the measurably unfaithful to hold back from doing God's will and measurably to compromise with evil, even after discerning the Lord's will respecting the good and the evil. While the Lord is long-suffering, ultimately He will force these to come to a decision; for He will so shape their experiences that they must decide for or against His will. Like Joshua of old, let the faithful seek by word and example to encourage the measurably unfaithful to a righteous decision; but whether the latter accept the encouragement so given, or not, let the faithful under Christ, their Head, continue to remain dead to self and to the world, and alive to God, and thus, with as many as we can influence, serve the Lord—P '35, 172.
Parallel passages: 1 Kings 18:21; Ezek. 20:39; Luke 16:13; Rom. 6:16; Gen. 18:19; John 6:67-69; Matt. 19:16-22; 26:33, 35; Josh. 24:16-18; 23:15; 1 Chron. 28:9.
Hymns: 160, 1, 8, 14, 78, 130, 136.
Poems of Dawn, 38: Whom Will Ye Serve?
Tower Reading: Z '11, 78 (R 4780).
Questions: Have I exercised decisiveness this week? How? Under what circumstances? With what results?
JOHN 19:12, 13.
CAESAR'S friends? or friends of Jesus?
Solemn question for to-day!
Friends of Caesar! Friends of Jesus!
Take your sides without delay.
If ye pause for man's forbidding,
Caesar's friendship ye secure;
If ye do the Father's bidding,
Scorn, reproach, ye shall endure.
Friends of Caesar! Friends of Jesus!
Stand revealed! your choice declare!
Who in truth two masters pleases?
Who may rival banners bear?
Jesus' friends account Him precious,
Lose for Him all other gain:
Dearer far the smile of Jesus
Than the praise of worldly men.
Free from Caesar, friends of Jesus!
Stand in phalanx! never fear!
Love, severely tried, increases;
Courage yet! The Lord is near!
Onward still, His name confessing,
Weaving crowns to grace His brow;
Lo! His hands are full of blessing,
Lifted for your succor now.
Caesar's friends were we, but Jesus
Owns us for His friends to-day!
What! Shall rival friendship please us,
While the Bridegroom is away?
No! through grace would we surrender
Caesar's things to Caesar's care,
whilst to God, our God, we render
Filial homage, praise, and prayer.
"Choose ye this day whom ye will serve; as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."—Joshua 24:15.
THE Children of Israel had crossed Jordan. Moses was dead and Joshua was their Leader. They were having no difficulty at that time; but Joshua thought that it was proper just then for them to make their decision—proper for them to decide whether or not they would be faithful to the Lord, or would allow themselves to be led away by the idolatry of the people who lived in Canaan. Joshua had called them together and had recounted to them the Lord's blessings and favor which they had thus far enjoyed, and then expressed himself in the grand and noble sentiments of our text.
So, dear friends, we who realize that the Lord has been blessing, guiding and sustaining us in the past, should come to a full, positive decision as respects our course of life. The very fact of coming to a positive decision is a great blessing and a great help in the formation of character. Every time we come to a wise decision on any question, it strengthens mind and character, and makes us much more ready for another test—along some other line, perhaps.
We well recognize the fact that the entire consecration which the Christian makes, leaves nothing out; but we need to have some touchstone, something which will enable the mind to reach a decision quickly, and this touchstone should be God's will, so that to perceive the Lord's will on any subject would be to settle it without any temporizing. Again, it is highly proper that we should reiterate our consecration, and thus make it prominent before others.
For instance, if this were New Year's Day, and we were at a testimony meeting, there would be nothing wrong in saying, "Whatever any one else may do, I acknowledge God and will serve him!"—not as a new vow, but as a fresh acknowledgment of the consecration Vow we have already taken.
We are to recognize the difference between making a new covenant every day, and the daily renewing of our covenant; the one would be an impropriety; the other would be proper. If we have made a binding covenant for life, we should no more think of breaking it than would a man who had leased a house or sold it.
Every day we should renew our covenant with the Lord—renew it and make it fresh in our minds, thus showing that there has been no change on our part; that we are still in the same attitude. This is the same thought as was in the making of our consecration; we are dead with Christ—"Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price." We are exhorted to make this review of our lives and renewal of our consecration daily; to continue to keep this before our minds and hearts; to render our sacrifice to the Lord. Thus we are baptized by baptism into his death; and this baptism continues just as it was with our Lord. He had made his consecration and so it had to be completed; so it is with us; our vow, our covenant is unto death.
If the Lord's consecrated people could be brought to the point where the chief aim in life, the burden of all their prayers, would be that they might have a larger measure of the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of Christ, the spirit of a sound mind, what a blessing it would mean! If then they should wrestle with him until the breaking of day, their hold upon him would be sure to bring the desired blessing. The Lord reveals himself for the purpose of giving this blessing; but he withholds it until we learn to appreciate and desire it.