Our family has been reading through the book of Joshua, and everybody probably knows the famous, “choose this day whom you will serve” comment. When you think about the land they were going into, it was a very real decision that had to be made…which idol will you serve? Think about the options: you could choose any idol that met the particular need of the moment. “Need rain? We have an idol for that. Need fertility? We have an idol for that. Crops? Sunshine? Victory in battle? Yep, we have them all!”
Wait a minute. I have often been told that my Bible teaching needs to be relevant for today, to meet people’s needs, to help people make decisions for today…or tomorrow. It seems I have failed again, but I just find the Bible’s history of Israel so fascinating, whether it teaches any real truth for today or not.
So if you were an Israelite following Joshua into the Promised Land, which idol would you root for? I know, you’re not an Israelite, and you’re not being asked by everyone on Facebook which idol you are going to choose. Baal, Molech, Asherah, or maybe more relevant by 1400 years…Diana of Ephesus? But for those of you who are interested, I am going to give you some guidelines for choosing your favorite idol.
- Choose the most powerful one. There is a lot of data on idols out there. If you are really serious about it, you can find all kinds of statistics to help you make your decision. Which idol has brought the most results, won the most victories, has recruited the strongest…warriors?
- Go with the one that’s closest geographically. If you live in an area where one idol is more prominent than another, go with the local favorite. This will keep you from stirring up waves and will allow you to participate in the local revelry when your team–uh–idol wins.
- Think economics. Especially if you live near a local temple, you might be able to benefit economically by selling trinkets of your particular idol. Of course, if all the Christians in your neighborhood repented and turned from your idol, you might suffer some economic hardship.
- Popularity is always a safe choice. Who wants to be the odd man out and not serve the popular idol? Or–gasp–no idol at all?!
- Some people choose the underdog. As hard as it to grasp, some people really like to cheer for the long shot. I guess if the weakest idol wins, the celebration can be even more rowdy.
- You can always go with your favorite color. Some would rather worship an idol of gold, some silver, red, white, black, blue, or orange. This might be important when choosing your idol’s line of apparel.
Now some of you might be thinking I’m missing Joshua’s point when he said, “Choose this day whom you will serve.” I know, I know. He chose to serve the LORD, YHWH, but he still left it open for options. As an American Christian, you really can serve two masters. All YHWH wants from you is a good showing on Sunday morning. If you make it out of there right after the closing song, you’ll have the rest of the day to serve whichever idol you choose!