“Choose Ye this Day Whom you will Serve”

by Steven Chan

Many desire to have the “best of both worlds” as is often expressed. Others imply that it would be a “win-win” situation as all will gain from the suggested solution. Unfortunately, sometimes such an idea also permeates into our attitude towards our faith in God. We seek the “win-win” solution with regards God the Creator, and other sources of blessings in our lives – whether it be feng-shui or golden frogs or fortune plants, etc…

It is always hard when we are asked to choose one as against the other; we’d rather not make a choice so that we can have the best of both worlds. But God has always declared from time immemorial that we need to choose whom we will serve, and that we cannot serve both God and other gods.

In Joshua 24:15, the leader of the Israelites asked the nation of Israel to choose whom they will serve: “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.”

The people replied that they would choose to serve the God who had delivered them from Egyptian captivity and gave them the land flowing with milk and honey.

But soon another generation arose, and the prophet Elijah had to ask them again to make the choice – whether to serve God or Baal:-

1 Kings 18:21: “And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.” But the people answered him not a word.”

The saddest thing was recorded: “the people answered him not a word”!! Whereas their forefathers had promptly declared that they would serve the God who had delivered them, these new generation of Israelites chose to keep an ominous silence to the question posed by the prophet Elijah.  They were not sure, or in their hearts they had departed from the Lord. They had forgotten the Lord who gave them the land flowing with milk and honey which they had inherited from their forefathers. No wonder the Lord had commanded their forefathers in Deut 6:6-8: “And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. 7 You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up.” Somewhere along the line, their children had failed to remember the awesome God that had demonstrated His love, grace and power when He delivered them from bondage.

When Jesus came into the world He also said in Matt 6:24: “”No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” He said that we had to make a choice – whether to serve God or to serve wealth and worldliness. Yet, today like the Israelites of the days of Elijah, some Christians answered not a word for they love the world (I John 2:15-17).

Still others want to worship God and yet seek blessings from feng-shui masters or the temples of the heathens in spite of what the Bible has declared in 1Cor 10:21: “Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of demons: ye cannot partake of the table of the Lord, and of the table of demons.” The word “cannot” simply means that God will not be pleased if one attempts to do that – although one may think that one can try to do both.

God has consistently warned us that we must make a choice between serving Him and serving mammon or the world – we cannot serve both!  In James 4:4, the Bible declares: “Adulterers and adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” By the way, God was not addressing physical adulterers or adulteresses but those who are guilty of spiritual adultery by trying be friends of the world  as well as being friends of God.

In 2 Cor 6:14-18, the Bible expressly declares: “14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 15 And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? 16 And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.”  17 Therefore  “Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you.”  18 “I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.”

We cannot have fellowship with those who do not honor God. 2 John 8-11: “8 Look to yourselves, that we do not lose those things we worked for, but that we may receive a full reward. 9 Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him; 11 for he who greets him shares in his evil deeds.”

We must a choice – whether we want to serve and please God, or to try to serve God and man, to try to be God-pleasers as well as men-pleasers. The Bible says, we cannot do both. We must a choice – even if it seems unpleasant to us.