Making choices is a part of life, we make choices everyday. Some of the choices that we make are really not that big of a deal, things like: what color socks should I wear today? What should we do for dinner? Or, Do I want to buy Crest or Colgate?
Other choices that we make are of a more important nature: where do I want to go to college? Who should I marry? Or, Is this really the home that we want to buy?
And as parents, we have the responsibility of raising our children in such a way that some day when they are on their own they will be able to make the right choices. So throughout life we give them opportunities to develop decision making skills. We let them pick out their favorite candy bar (which I am sure that all of us can remember was and still is, a very difficult task), we let them choose what they are going to wear to school (within reason) and we allow them other freedoms and other choices as they get older.
We spend many years with our children teaching them about life, about God, about what is right and what is wrong, and someday they will be on their own and will have to make their own choices. And we just hope and pray they make the right decisions.
Joshua I am sure in many ways felt like this about his people, the Israelites. Joshua had been with these people his entire life. He had been leader of Israel for over 20 years. Now the time had come when Joshua would send these people, the people with whom he had worked, dreamed, cried, laughed, fought and worshipped God. It was time for the Israelites to leave the nest (so to speak), to make their own choices, and to decide their own destiny.
In Joshua 23 and 24, Joshua shares with his people some final words of exhortation. Joshua is at the end of a long, full life. His greatest concern before he dies is not himself, but his people and their relationship with the Lord. In chapter 23 he called the leaders of the nation together and told them that he was "about to go the way of all the earth." But first he challenged them to love the Lord and to keep the commandments that God had given them in love. He warned the leaders of the frightening danger that the nation would be in if they led their people in deserting the Lord.
And he called them to make a decision, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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 24:15).
Will we pass on an example of faithfulness to the next generation?