“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.”
Joshua 24:15 (KJV)
“And they all forsook him, and fled.”
Mark 14:50 (KJV)
A long time ago when I was in university we had a professor who was busy with research for her doctoral thesis. Lecturing to us was a nuisance as far as she was concerned—a necessary evil. She was a terrible presenter of the course material. She would begin describing a certain great thinker’s thoughts and then stop and start again. After a few sentences she would say, “No, no he really thought this way.” Then a few sentences later she would say, “Well maybe I should describe his position another way.”
You can imagine the mess of our notes as we scratched out one group of sentences and started copying down another set only to have those scratched out. It would take her 4-5 starts to get going and finish the description of the man’s position. She could not make up her mind.
Joshua is challenging the nation of Israel to make up their minds. He asks them to either serve the Lord with all their hearts, minds and strength or else go and serve the gods of the nations around them. It was a time of sincere and determined consideration of the alternatives. Would they go God’s way or the way of the pagan gods? Thankfully they made an unreserved decision to follow the Lord whatever would come their way.
Reading Mark 14:50, we see a very tragic defection of the eleven apostles in the Garden of Gethsemane. A few hours earlier they had make a strong statement that they would follow Jesus to the death if need be (Mark 14:31). When push came to shove they abandoned Jesus.
Perhaps you have made an emphatic decision to follow Jesus and then down the road you stumbled and fell into the arms of this sin or that one. Instead of following the path of obedience to the Lord you made a grave error and lapsed.
Is it not remarkable, that in the resurrection, Jesus appeared to the eleven men who had that terrible lapse and had gone back on their promise to follow Jesus? Because Peter was the one who led the group in vowing to follow Jesus to the death, the resurrected Lord sent the message from outside the tomb to tell the apostles and Peter that He wanted to meet with them.
Oh, how forgiving is our blessed Saviour. How true it is what the Psalmist said in Psalm 103:14 (NIV)
“…for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”
Jesus knows you want to serve Him and when you discover yourself in a complaining mood over your lot in life and you have a spirit of rebellion at your suffering, the Saviour understands. He wants you to turn again to Him and be reconciled to the situation you are in.
Jesus is in the business of reconciliation and He delights in the person who comes back in humility and asks forgiveness for rebelling once more. Come to Him today as He waits with arms open wide to receive you and reinstate you in the way of life and glory.