Joshua 24:14-15 14 “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. 15But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served 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.”
I wonder what my last words will be when I get old. I wonder if it will be profound, touching, or something cranky like “get out of my room!” Here’s a list of famous last words that I don’t want to say:
“Hey, watch this.”
“Are you sure the power is off?”
“I can pass this guy.”
“What does this button do?”
“Does it bite?”
Now, who wants to have something stupid be what they are remembered for? Not me.
Fortunately, Joshua had much better last words than any of those. Here in chapter 24, Joshua is giving his final charge to the people of Israel. He first reminds them of all that God has done for them. He walks them through history recalling the greatness of God. After all the buildup he says, “well I guess if you don’t really feel like serving God go ahead and do your own thing. But my household will be marked by serving the Lord.” Of course the people respond that they will serve God forever and ever, which they don’t. Joshua calls it too – he tells them they don’t have the capacity to serve a Holy God. (Thank goodness for Jesus, huh?)
Back to these famous words of Joshua: as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD. Joshua was about to die. He wasn’t talking about his household serving God for the next few weeks. He was talking about the legacy that he intended to leave behind. He was marking the generations to come with a seal of their inheritance in the Lord. Leaving a legacy requires leading today and preparing tomorrow’s leaders to lead tomorrow. You see, Joshua wouldn’t be able to make such a statement unless he had already trained up his sons and daughters to live for the Lord. It takes work, but it’s work that I am willing to do. I, too, want to be able to say that my household will serve the Lord for generations to come.