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Articles

As For Me and My House

 

Our focus for 2013– "As For Me and My House"– comes from a familiar passage of Scripture: Joshua 24:15. That one phrase is the highlight of Joshua’s farewell address to the Israelites. It was the inspiration behind a beautiful hymn written by C. M. Robinson, "Dare to Stand Like Joshua." And it makes for a popular embroidery or framed picture in homes of Christians everywhere: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

But Joshua had more than interior decorating in mind when he said that so long ago. He was more interested in home improvement. When you display this powerful statement, you are advertising something about your family. You are making your own statement about the direction of your household and the values that you uphold. "As for me and my house" tells everyone who enters your door:

This home is not a democracy. Joshua was a man of many responsibilities. He was the military leader of the conquest of Canaan, driving out the other nations living in the land. He was the religious leader, the one the Israelites looked to for guidance and strength. But his challenge showed that he had not forgotten his responsibility as the leader of his family. He didn’t say, "my house without me" or "me without my house." It was "as for me and my house." No straw poll or majority rule necessary.

We are accustomed to having a vote and a say in nearly everything. But in the family, we operate under God’s law of order which states, "the husband is the head of the wife" (Eph. 5: 23) and "fathers bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord" (Eph 6:4). Young men who are not sure they want that kind of responsibility need not enter this relationship. Young women who think subjection is a thing of the past need to understand that every member of the home must submit to their God-given role. "As for me and my house" says that your home is being led by the spiritual head.

This home has only one service provider. "We will serve." Have you ever thought about how many words Joshua could have used there? We will love. We will obey. We will fear. Why serve? Because all of those things involve service. Service was the theme of Joshua’s charge. "Now therefore, fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and truth" (24:14). "And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve." "But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord" (24:15). Service is something you choose.

We speak of serve and serving in many different ways. The person who bring our food at the restaurant is called a "server." Someone who is in the military is in active "service." In volleyball and tennis matches, one team "serves" the ball to the other. But what does it mean to serve the Lord? The Hebrew word used in this verse means "to enslave to" and speaks to God’s right of jealousy. He demands that we serve no other God but Him. As Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount, you can only be enslaved to one Master; "you cannot serve God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24). "As for my and my house" says that you worship the Lord and serve Him only.

This home is not for sale. "If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves whom you will serve." There were other "gods" available to them – in Canaan, in Egypt, even the gods that Abraham’s father worshiped. But since none of those gods delivered them from bondage or defeated nations that were stronger than them, Joshua didn’t follow after them. Every other household would have to decide for themselves. But his decision was non-negotiable.

Because we are a people who like to have options, there are a number of activities that compete for your family’s time. Hardly a weekend goes by where there are not multiple commitments to keep. If these things conflict with our responsibilities to the Lord, it is very tempting to push spiritual things aside until our schedule becomes less hectic. But "as for my and house" says that those decisions have already been made. Regardless of what anyone else chooses, this home will not negotiate.

"Choose for yourselves today whom you will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." This is more than a one-year focus. It effects the here and the hereafter.