“You’re gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed. You’re gonna have to serve somebody. Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”
– Bob Dylan (“Gotta Serve Somebody”)
“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 YHWH.”
– Joshua (Joshua 24:15)
Have you ever read a Bible verse that you’ve seen a thousand times before and, suddenly, it takes on all new meaning and depth?
It’s one of the many amazing things about Scripture. It’s so spiritually rich and deep that you can and will make new discoveries if you approach your reading in the right frame of mind and with an open heart.
I had that experience when rereading the book of Joshua and coming across what had always been one of my favorite verses – Joshua 24:15.
Joshua, Moses’ heir to leadership of the Israelite nation, was telling the people about 1,400 years before the birth of Jesus what Bob Dylan would be telling the world in 1979.
You gotta serve somebody.
It may be the devil or it may be the Lord. But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.
It’s a lesson every generation must learn.
Remember, Joshua was leading a young nation. He would have been the senior citizen among them, along with Caleb. The rest of his generation didn’t make it into the Promised Land. Even Moses didn’t make it. Shortly after the Israelites left Egypt, they came near Canaan and sent 12 young spies to scope it out. Ten of them were fearful of what they found and gave the infamous “evil report” to Moses (Numbers 23).
Caleb and Joshua were ready to go and take the land right then and there. But 10 other scouts determined that God’s plan to conquer the land He had promised them was a mission impossible. They successfully put their own fear into the hearts of the Israelites.
As a result, the nation would spend another 40 years wandering in the wilderness and no one over the age of 18 at the time of this incident – save Joshua and Caleb – would ever enter the Promised Land.
So, Joshua was addressing one of the youngest nations in the history of the Earth when he told them they had to serve somebody.
What he said was interesting: You can choose to serve the gods of your fathers, who died in the wilderness. You can choose to serve the gods of the Amorites whose land you conquered. And then he explained his choice: to serve the One True God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who delivered them to the land of promise.
Dylan said it a little differently: To him the choice was simpler – you serve the devil or the God Joshua chose to serve.
It all comes down to the same choice for those who believe there is only One True God.
Today, young people seem to believe you don’t have to make a choice. Some believe they don’t have to serve any god – real or unreal. But you do.
They don’t understand that living purely materialistically is serving a false god.
They don’t understand that when you serve a false god, wittingly or unwittingly, you are actually serving the adversary.
There’s no way around it.
At the end of the day, there are only two paths – one represents death and the other life.
Personally, I’m with Joshua: “As for me and my house, we will serve YHWH.”
We will all have to make that choice soon.
“The Gospel in Every Book of the Old Testament” by Joseph Farah is available in both hardcover and e-book versions.
ALSO: Get Joseph Farah’s book “The Restitution of All Things: Israel, Christians, and the End of the Age,” and learn about the Hebrew roots of the Christian faith and your future in God’s Kingdom. Also available as an e-book.
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