You Cannot Serve the Lord!

But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the LORD, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.” Joshua 24:15 (ESV)

This has been referred to by scholars as “the most shocking statement in all of Scripture!” Why would Joshua, in his final speech before his death, urge Israel to follow the Lord only to answer their promise to follow the Lord with, “You can’t!”  In order to better understand this, you have to listen to their “commitment.”

Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the LORD to serve other gods, for it is the LORD our God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed. And the LORD drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God.” (Joshua 24:16-18)

Notice their motivation for following God. They are following God for what he has done for them!  If the only reason you’re following God is for good health, a good job, a great retirement, as soon as the trial comes you’ll be done with following God. When he doesn’t give you the spouse you thought you should’ve had, when someone fails you, you’ll blame God. Joshua knew this. He called them to task.

So what is Joshua’s motivation? God is holy. God is jealous. God is not a capricious killjoy. Neither is he a pushover. He is the holy creator of the universe. I’m convinced that music can bring us to places of seeing who God is when nothing else can. After all, the largest book of the Bible is a book of songs.

So again, in this blog, is a song. Take a few minutes to worship God for who he is. Pay close attention to these words. Do you still want to follow that God?

Counter Culture

Just last week I purchased David Platt’s new book Counter Culture. I’ve only read the introduction. It’s worth sharing (and it looks like it’s going to be a worthy read.)

DavidPlatt

What if Christ in us actually compels us to counter our culture? Not to quietly sit and watch evolving cultural trends and not to subtly shift our views amid changing cultural tides, but to courageously share and show our convictions through what we say and how we live, even (or especially) when these convictions contradict the popular positions of our day. And to do all of this not with conceited minds or calloused hearts, but with the humble compassion of Christ on constant display in everything we say and do.

Isn’t this, after all, the essence of what it means to follow Christ in the first place? “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me” (Luke 9:23). Talk about countercultural. In a world where everything revolves around yourself–protect yourself, promote yourself, comfort yourself, and take care of yourself–Jesus says, “Crucify yourself. Put aside all self-preservation in order to live for God’s glorification, no matter what that means for you in the culture around you.”

And isn’t this, after all, the main issue in any culture? Maybe better stated, isn’t he the main issue in any culture? What if the main issue in our culture today is not poverty or sex trafficking, homosexuality or abortion? What if the main issue is God? And what might happen if we made him our focus instead? In a world marked by sex slavery and sexual immorality, the abandonment of children and the murder of children, racism and persecution, the needs of the poor and the neglect of the widow, how would we act if we fixed our gaze on the holiness, love, goodness, truth, justice, authority, and mercy of God revealed in the gospel?

Well said. I’m sure I’ll be sharing more.