And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve…
It is an act of choice, of preference, to which you are called; one of the most familiar, every-day acts of the mind. You are called to change masters; to renounce the world as your portion and to choose God as your portion; to submit to His authority and control, and henceforth live, not to your self, but to Him who died for you and rose again. And this act of choice or preference is of the nature of a supreme, governing purpose of the mind — such a purpose as gives direction to the current of feeling and desire in the soul.
1. Is it not right that you should choose God as your portion and His service as that which should engage your supreme regards? He is in Himself a being of boundless excellence and glory; your creator, preserver, benefactor, and ruler.
2. The duty in question is enjoined by express command of God.
3. This is a duty which perfectly accords with the nature and destiny of the intelligent, immortal mind with which the Creator has endued you.
4. The choice of God, as the being whom you will serve, is the sum and substance of religion; and you ought all to be religious; friends of God and followers of the Saviour.
5. Every man must choose either God or the world as his portion; and according as he chooses the one or the other, so is his character in the sight of God, and his condition in eternity.
6. There is nothing either within or without you which need prevent your choosing the service of God. He who knows perfectly your frame, your intellectual and moral faculties, and all the circumstances of your condition — He, the God who made and upholds you in being, calls you to enter into His service, to choose Him as your Lord and portion.
7. The service of God is the highest glory of your nature, the most perfect freedom of rational moral beings; the surest and most abundant source of inward comfort and outward prosperity. It exalts those who are devoted to it to an alliance with the purest and noblest beings in the universe, with prophets and apostles, and glorified spirits in heaven; with ministering angels on high, and with God Himself, the supreme good. It sets the soul upon an endless career of improvement in all that is worthy and good, opens before it bright visions of heavenly glory, secures God's presence and favour for its support and guidance while passing through this world; brings Divine comforts into the bosom in the hour of death, and finally exalts to everlasting rewards in heaven.
(J. Hawes, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.
WEB: If it seems evil to you to serve Yahweh, choose this day whom you will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve Yahweh."