It comes at the very end of Joshua, in the final chapter. Joshua has led the Israelites throughout the Promised Land, conquering all the 'ites along the way (you know the 'ites, the CanaanITES, HittITES, HivITES, etc). So the 'ites have all been conquered, the land has been divided and Israel is now ready to get settled. They have spent decades wandering around and fighting off the enemy and they long to spend the rest of their days in the land God promised them. But before Joshua sends them all on their way, to their different cities, towns, and lands he renews the covenant Moses made between the Israelites and God. And then he tells them this, here it is, my favorite part, are you ready...
"...then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve,...
But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord."
This is like a rally cry to me. Every time I read it and want to stand up shout "YEAH!!! Whose with me!!" In fact, that's kind of what the Israelites did, they all answered of course we are going to serve the Lord! But Joshua warns them, it's not that easy. He tells them that God is a Holy God, a jealous God, and mere words won't be enough to serve him. He warns them not of follow the gods of the peoples whose land they have taken. Don't succumb to their ways. The people assure him that won't happen. They are devoted to God and God alone.
It is a good time for the people of Israel.
Just two short generations later, they would fall away from God. It doesn't take much, it is frighteningly easy. One minute you are walking strong with God, the next you are doing it all on your own, and He is no where in sight. You don't even realize you've turned away, you thought you were still heading down the right path, but somewhere along the way you took a wrong turn. It wasn't an 180 degree turn just a whole lot of 10 degree turns, hardly noticeable. But there are you are surrounded by the people of the land, instead of the people of God.
I think a lot of us can relate to the Israelites on this one. We didn't mean to get so wrapped up in the culture around us. We didn't mean for it to consume so much of us, but it did, it has. And we are a little lost and not exactly sure how to get back to where we were, where we want to be.
For the Israelites it meant following a judge, appointed by God, and going to war, fighting to get back to where God always intended for them to be. For us it means following Christ and going to war within ourselves and fighting to get back to where God has always intended for us to be. I promise you it's worth the battle. The Israelites did find their way back, over and over and over again, they fell away and fought their way back. And we can too. We can only hope it doesn't take us quite as many times.
Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.