Now if you are unwilling to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.
If you had asked me what an influencer was as a teenager, I would have said someone popular who gets people to do something. I would never have guessed it would become an actual term or career possibility. But the truth is, it’s just new jargon for an ancient job. The term could be applied to far more important people in history who were leaders, judges, teachers, prophets, house-church hosts, clergy, and community organizers. It certainly applies to Joshua and his most devoted followers. The book of Joshua is not at all about God’s special people who always have, do, and will attain victory because God loves them the most. It IS a story of how obedience to God by God’s chosen people AND outsiders leads to victory for all of God’s faithful followers.
Joshua leads his people into the Promised Land. They encounter people who are morally corrupt, people who lead evil lives and sacrifice children. Those who repent and follow God are spared. And when God’s people rebel and do wrong, they fail. When they repent, they are again victorious. The last two chapters of the book are Joshua’s big farewell speech, a reminder of God’s faithfulness and a warning that they should remain faithful in return. Joshua warns them that they have only two choices - to embrace the culture and priorities around them, to worship and idolize and indulge in what people in their land glorify... OR... to worship and serve the Lord. His household will do the latter.
What message could be more relevant in our modern world or in Holy Week as Easter and Spring Break approach? Gallup poll released its 2020 findings about Faith communities this week. For the first time in America’s recorded history, there are more people who are NOT members of churches, synagogues, or mosques than those who are. Membership in houses of worship are down to 47%, to say nothing of attendance (in-person or online). Like the Israelites, we can carry our church with us wherever we go, worshipping at home, in our tabernacle tents, or on vacation. And like them, our worship will be a sign to the people in the land around us. Will we worship only at the altars of resorts, sleeping in, stadiums and fields, or the other distractions of our land, or will we and our household serve the Lord? Whether you join us for drive-in, or in the tent on our ball field, online, or the church nearest your vacation destination, or on a beach, carve out the time, take a selfie where you are, and tag it #JOSHUA2415. I’d love to see where you are, but even more, I’d love for you to influence your sphere of our land. Happy Easter! He is risen!