Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! —Joshua 24:14
The children of Israel had begun serving other gods. They still acknowledged God's existence, but their time and energy were absorbed in other pursuits. They shoved God into a secondary place.
Joshua saw how the hearts of God's children were turning away from Him. So he issued a challenge. When Joshua stood before the people, he gave them a choice. They could continue serving themselves— their intellect and their pleasures— or they could serve the Lord.
GOD ISN'T INTERESTED IN MERE LIP SERVICE, THOUGH THAT'S WHAT MOST PEOPLE OFFER TO HIM. WE CAN SERVE GOD WITH SINCERITY AND TRUTH WHEN WE REMEMBER HIS GOODNESS AND FAITHFULNESS TO US.
In Deuteronomy, Moses asked, "What does the Lord require of you?" The first two requirements listed were that we fear God and serve Him with all of our hearts. So Joshua reminded the people of God's requirements: fear God (reverence Him), and then serve Him in sincerity and truth— serve genuinely.
God had brought the Israelites into the land, driven out their enemies, and delivered them from bondage. Because God had been so good to them, they should have wanted to serve Him!
The glorious thing about choosing to serve the Lord is that it brings you everything else. When you choose to make Him first in your life, He then blesses you with the desires of your heart.
Father, we are so grateful for the opportunities You have given to us.
Teach us to serve You with sincerity and truth. In Jesus' name, amen.