In 2009, Linda and I visited some relatives living in what once was East Germany, including a cousin of Linda’s father. Like many Germans living in areas under Soviet influence after WW2, Linda’s father emigrated and he encouraged his cousin to do the same. The cousin said he would join him in Canada, but wanted to finish out his schooling first. Unfortunately, whilst finishing his schooling the East German government changed the emigration laws and essentially shut down the border, leaving him unable to join his extended family in the West. More than fifty years later he still found it remarkable how one decision could so impact a life.

Have you ever made a decision that changed the course of your life? This is the challenge of Joshua to the people: to renew their covenant with the Lord and “choose this day whom you will serve (24:15)”. From verses 3 to 13 Joshua has reminded the nation of God’s manifold mercies toward them throughout their history. He starts v14 with “Now therefore.” In other words, upon reflection of God’s mercy toward us, there is surely just one reasonable response: “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. (24:14)” A holy, reverent fear of the Lord is the reasonable response of God’s people to his abundant mercies.

Something to Understand:

When we choose to trust Christ and follow him, we are making a decision that radically changes the course of our life. Though the basis of the Christian faith is trusting in the work of Christ rather than our own, a life of good works ought to flow from of our faith in Christ.  As Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance. (Matthew 3:8)” One great motivator to serving God in sincerity and faithfulness is to meditate upon God’s works for us that flow from his abundant mercy and steadfast love.