Author Nancy Leigh DeMoss writes, “It’s bad enough for me to make choices that hurt my own relationship with God. How much more serious is it to be the cause of someone else deciding to sin? . . . I choose the pathway of holiness for God’s sake and for my own sake.”

Having led the Israelites into the Promised Land, and knowing that he would soon die, Joshua gathered the whole nation together to give them his final advice and choice (Joshua 24:1). The Jews were tempted to claim credit for the conquest of the land. So as God had Joshua share His words with the people, notice His repeated use of the personal pronoun “I”: “I took . . . I rescued you . . . I gave you victory . . . I gave you land . . . I gave you vineyards” (Joshua 24:3-13). God gave the Jews no reason to be proud, for He had done the heavy lifting to bring them into the Promised Land.

Then Joshua challenged the people to remain faithful to God. There were many false gods vying for their attention (Joshua 24:14-24). So he asked the Israelites to do two things: “Put away forever the idols” and “Fear the LORD and serve him wholeheartedly. . . . Serve the LORD alone” (Joshua 24:14). God was not to be their number one god among many; He was to be the only One they served! As Joshua said, “If you abandon the LORD and serve other gods, he will turn against you” (Joshua 24:20).

Joshua didn’t offer us a “no-serve God” option. He understood that we need the One who made us and loves us. He also understood our human fickleness—we’re far too easily drawn to the idols around us.

Let’s take Joshua’s words to heart today: “Choose today whom you will serve.” And may we echo his choice, “As for me and my family, we will serve the LORD” (Joshua 24:15).

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Luke 23:1-12