What Does Joshua 24:15 Mean?

What Does Joshua 24:15 Mean?

Joshua’s call to Israel was urgent: “choose this day whom you will serve” (Josh. 24:15). For us today, this remains an urgent and timely summons to choose the Lord. What’s the difference between them and us? Do we have any hope of choosing the Lord? Because of Jesus, yes, we do. Joshua brought the people into the land of God’s presence, but he could not bring them out of rebellion. Jesus is our new Joshua, a better Savior who brings a better salvation. 

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Moving On or Moving In?

Joshua 24:15 is what we might call a kitchen calendar verse. It’s short, pithy, inspiring, and it’s God’s Word. On the one hand, we might lift this verse from the context of the book and attempt to live on it devoid of its broader story. Alternatively, as we grow in the knowledge of the Scriptures, we might “move on” from such famous phrases into the deeper things of God.

Perhaps there is a better way than either living on or, alternatively, moving on from verses like this. How about moving into them? Verses like these are a doorway into the message of the book, an entry at a high point of the story with all its tension and drama. So, let’s walk through the door of this verse to witness God’s grace to us in the story of Joshua, for it is, after all, the story of our salvation.

This verse comes to us in the course of Joshua’s final speech before he dies, a speech given to the whole congregation of Israel. A high point indeed! What did this passage mean for the original hearers? What did it mean for the original readers? What does it mean for us?

A Call to Serve

On the surface, Joshua issues a call to his hearers to serve the Lord in the land by means of his own example and resolve.

Service is, after all, the goal of the exodus, expressed many times over in Moses’s confrontation with Pharaoh. We’re familiar with the first part of his charge, “Let my people go,” but must remember what he said next: “. . . that they may serve me” (Ex. 4:23; 7:16; 8:1). What is more, Joshua’s generation lives not only on the other side of the Red Sea but in the land promised to Abraham.

Thus, the people standing before Joshua have every reason to serve the Lord. Not only have they seen his wonders, but Joshua has recounted and interpreted these wonders for them.

Read More

Scroll to top