And if it seem evil to you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom you will serve…
I. TRUE RELIGION IS A SERVICE TO THE LORD. How well this was understood under the old dispensation by truly good men! The Lord was set foremost as the aim of all piety, not man. If you are in another's service you do not follow your own wishes, but his; you do not aim to please yourself, but him; your business is to help him and promote his interests.
II. THE BEGINNING OF RELIGION IN THE HEART IS WITH THE CHOICE OF THAT SERVICE. Shall Christ have dominion over you or the world? Who has the first right? What says reason? what says conscience? what says the voice of your immortal interests? Thus deliberates the soul in the crises of its history. All persons are to be addressed in this matter as free moral agents.
III. TO SOME PERSONS IT SEEMS AN EVIL THING TO CHOOSE THE LORD'S SERVICE.
1. One reason is that which Joshua gives in the lesson: "Ye cannot serve the Lord, for He is a holy God." To choose His service is to renounce sin. This is the secret of many irreligious lives.
2. It seems evil to give up idol worship.
3. There is a mortification of pride in the choice of God's service which often seems evil.
IV. WHETHER IT SEEMS GOOD OR EVIL TO CHOOSE THE LORD'S SERVICE, THERE IS A NECESSITY OF CHOOSING, AND OF CHOOSING NOW.
1. Those Israelites were to weigh the fact that they did that day make some choice. That is the serious dilemma of every awakened soul. You are under the necessity of preferring the service of God or some other.
2. The more important, then, to note that the choice of to-day is likely to be that of to-morrow and all time to come.
3. Last, but not least of all, your choice will have a controlling effect on others. "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." What a lesson to all who are in high places! What an example for men of prominence in every community! What an admonition to every father of a family! How wide-reaching is the influence of such persons over the decision of others!
(W. E. Knox, 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."