Let’s talk about good choices. Even The Good Choice.
I’m going to ask you to make some choices as you read these next several sentences.
This is not my original material, but I believe it to be public domain, so I’m confident we’re “legal.” Here goes. Make your choices, and we’ll see if you’ve made “good choices.” Let’s have some fun.
Choose a number from 1 to 10.
Multiply that number by 9.
If it is a two-digit answer, add the two digits together.
Now, subtract 5 from that number.
Now, think of the letter in the alphabet that corresponds with the number you are thinking about. For instance, if you are thinking of the number “ONE” it would be “A,” and so on.
You’ve chosen your letter. Good. Quickly choose a country that starts with the letter you are thinking of. Good. Spell the name of that country in your head.
Now, choose the second letter in that country’s name.
Now, quickly choose an animal whose name begins with THAT letter.
Now, think of the animal’s color.
Now, if you’ll look down by my name at the very end of this article, you’ll see why I believe you made good choices.
O.K. You get the point. Choices are important for outcomes.
Now, let’s go back into the Old Testament again. The great Moses has led God’s People out of slavery in Egypt. They have wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, and Moses has died, not being allowed by God to enter the Promised Land.
Joshua now leads God’s people. He is also an outstanding and heroic leader in both battle and domestic issues. Now Joshua comes to the end of his life. Even with his dynamic leadership, many of God’s people have made terrible choices to follow the false gods and idols of the indigenous pagan people.
Making one last plea to the people, Joshua rises before them and calls them to make the most important choice of their lives. “Choose this day whom you will serve… as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord (Yahweh, the One True God).” Joshua 24:15
The one thing Joshua was sure about was that God had first chosen them to be His people and receive His blessings. They were even known as “God’s Chosen People.” Joshua knew that it was precisely because God had first chosen them that they could return that blessing by boldly and confidently choosing The One True God over all other gods and idols.
You see, the most important choice is always first made by God Himself. God chose to create the world, humankind, and everything everywhere. God chose to redeem the world even after its horrible fall into sin. God chose Abraham and his descendants to be His special people, choosing to bless them so that through them the whole world would be blessed. God chose to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, into our fallen world so that through his death and resurrection we might be saved and reconciled to God our Father. God chose to send His Holy Spirit into the world to create faith and solidify the hearts of believers with a true and lasting faith.
And let’s get personal. God chose to create you. God chose to love you. God chose to send Jesus with you in mind. God has chosen to forgive you all your sins by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God has chosen to give you the gift of His Holy Spirit which gives you faith and the solid assurance of eternal life in Christ.
God has chosen to give you gifts and talents to use in your life to provide for yourself and your family, and to giving loving service to others in your sphere of influence. God has chosen to bless you, bless you again, and then bless you some more.
It’s God’s choice that empowers us to be able to stand with Joshua. We know that some people, and even ourselves included at times, let our own “idols” jump ahead of our love and loyalty to The One True God. Things like money-for-money’s sake, things-for-things’ sake (materialism), sports-as-a-religion, drugs and alcohol, un-Godlike sexual passions, and so many others things try to push God aside in our lives. All of these things are dangerous idols that try to make us choose them over God Himself.
My prayer for you, for all Christians, and most certainly even for all people in the world, is that God’s Great Choice for us, which comes first, will empower us all to make The Good Choice and stand with Joshua.
And in standing with Joshua, we too, rise to declare, “Choose this day whom you will serve… But as for me and my house, we will serve The Lord!” And so we shall. Amen.
[Justin Kollmeyer (your answer was gray elephant in Denmark, right?) is Senior Pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, on Hwy. 314 in Fayetteville, between Lowe’s and The Pavilion. Summer worship schedule continues through Labor Day weekend: 9:30 Contemporary, 11:15 Traditional.]