Reading: Joshua 24:14-15
These verses are part of Joshua’s farewell speech to the Israelites. In these two verses, we can learn many things:
1. Everyone has a master.
2. We choose our master. Jesus said, “He who is not with me is against me.” (Matthew 12:30).
3. Our faith should not rest on other people. God wants you to choose Him because that’s what you want. The Bible says to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” (Philippians 2:12)
Joshua gave the Israelites a choice. Every day, we make the same choice, whether we know it or not. I’m so glad you’re here with me, choosing God!
The following story is from Tiger and Tom and Other Stories for Boys. Published in 1910, this book is now out of print and can be read freely online.
THE RIGHT DECISION
It was the beginning of vacation when Mr. Davis, a friend of my father, came to see us, and asked to let me go home with him. I was much pleased with the thought of going out of town.
The journey was delightful, and when we reached Mr. Davis’s house everything looked as if I were going to have a fine time. Fred Davis, a boy about my own age, took me cordially by the hand, and all the family
soon seemed like old friends.
“This is going to be a vacation worth having,” I said to myself several times during the evening, as we all played games, told riddles, and laughed and chatted merrily.
At last Mrs. Davis said it was almost bedtime. Then I expected family prayers, but we were very soon directed to our chambers. How strange it seemed to me, for I had never before been in a household without the
“Come,” said Fred, “mother says you and I are going to be bed fellows,” and I followed him up two pair of stairs to a nice little chamber which he called his room. He opened a drawer and showed me a box, and boat,
and knives, and powderhorn, and all his treasures, and told me a world of new things about what the boys did there. Then he undressed first and jumped into bed. I was much longer about it, for a new set of thoughts began to rise in my mind.
When my mother put my purse into my hand, just before the train started, she said tenderly, in a low tone, “Remember, Robert, that you are a Christian boy.”
I knew very well what that meant, and I had now just come to a point of time when her words were to be minded.
At home I was taught the duties of a Christian child; abroad I must not neglect them, and one of these was evening prayer. From a very little boy I had been in the habit of kneeling and asking the forgiveness of
God, for Jesus’ sake, acknowledging His mercies, and seeking His protection and blessing.
“Why don’t you come to bed, Robert?” cried Fred. “What are you sitting there for?”
I was afraid to pray, and afraid not to pray. It seemed that I could not kneel down and pray before Fred. What would he say? Would he not laugh? The fear of Fred made me a coward. Yet I could not lie down on a
prayerless bed. If I needed the protection of my heavenly Father at home, how much more abroad.
I wished many wishes; that I had slept alone, that Fred would go to sleep, or something else, I hardly knew what. But Fred would not go to sleep.
Perhaps struggles like these take place in the bosom of every boy when he leaves home and begins to act for himself, and on his decision may depend his character for time, and for eternity. With me the struggle
At last, to Fred’s cry, “Come, boy, come to bed,” I mustered courage to say, “I will kneel down and pray first; that is always my custom.” “Pray?” said Fred, turning himself over on his pillow and saying no more.
His propriety of conduct made me ashamed. Here I had long been afraid of him, and yet when he knew my wishes, he was quiet and left me to myself. How thankful I was that duty and conscience triumphed.
That settled my future course. It gave me strength for time to come. I believe that the decision of the “Christian boy,” by God’s blessing, made me a Christian man; for in after years I was thrown amid trials and temptations which must have drawn me away from God and from virtue, had it not been for my settled habit of secret prayer.
Let every boy who has pious parents, read and think about this. You have been trained in Christian duties and principles. When you go from home, do not leave them behind.
Carry them with you, and stand by them; then, in weakness and temptation, by the help of God, they will stand by you.
Take your place like a man, on the side of your God and Saviour, of your mother’s God and Saviour, and of your father’s God.
It is by a failure to do this, that so many boys go astray, and grow up to be young men dishonoring their parents, without hope and without God in the world.
* * * * *
Ashamed of Jesus! that dear friend,
On whom my hopes of heaven depend?
No; when I blush, be this my shame,
That I no more revere His name.
Ashamed of Jesus! yes, I may,
When I’ve no guilt to wash away,
No tears to wipe, no good to crave,
No fears to quell, no soul to save.
For Further Study:
- This isn’t the only time in the Bible that God asked men to choose whom they will serve. See Exodus 32:26; Deuteronomy 30:19; 1 Kings 18:21. Jesus also told people to be careful about their choices. See Mark 10:17-22; John 6:66-69; and Revelation 3:15-16.
- If it hasn’t happened yet, there will come a day when you will feel “forced” to make a choice about God. You may be in a classroom where a teacher says something contrary to God’s Word; or in a crowd of friends who are laughing about something sinful; or you may even be alone and faced with something sinful on the computer or television.
What would you do in these situations? What other situations can you think of where you’d have to make a choice? Write these down, and write down some verses that would help you choose God’s way.
Make yourself ready to choose properly. So many people choose the easy path because they’ve never thought about the alternatives. Practice choosing wisely and carefully now, so that when tough choices come, you’ll be ready. Pray for God to keep helping you gain knowledge and wisdom.