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Choose this day

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve Him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 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.”

—Joshua 24:14-15

Before he dies, Joshua reminds his people that, in creating them in His image, God has given them the dignity of choice. Scripture reveals a God who chooses and who creates a people who also choose. Some see a contradiction in this, but the order of things is clear from the very beginning (courtesy barlow_girl: when asked to reconcile divine predestination with human freedom, Charles Spurgeon replied, "I never reconcile friends."). Just as with every capacity God has given in His image, it is exercised with limited power under His complete sovereignty. God's choices carry His authority; our choices express the dignity He's given, to His glory.

As one whose security rests firmly on God's choice, I too often forget or neglect how important my choice to serve Him is. It matters. Joshua even knows the limits of Israel's ability to follow through on their choice (verse 19: "But Joshua said to the people, 'You are not able to serve the Lord, for He is a holy God...'"), yet the choice is still important. For me, it is all the more—since I am clothed in a righteousness not my own, I can serve this holy God freely, and I am called to do this. Yet the choice is there, and even in not making it consciously and deliberately I choose something less than Him.

Today, I am choosing better.


Predestination/choice was once explained thusly to me:

God is outside of time. Think of it like a parade. We are in time. We are sitting and watching the parade and the floats that have passed us are in the past, the ones in front of us are in the present and the ones we haven't yet seen are in the future. God is in the Goodyear blimp. He can see the past, the present and the future all at once. We make choices and he already saw into the future the choice we would make. He created us anyway, whether or not those choices brought us to Him or away.
I've heard explanations along these lines, and they help with getting some grasp of how far beyond us God's perspective is, but they still fall short for me. From the Bible, I don't believe God simply sees the past, present, and future—I believe He exercises complete authority over them all. I don't think God is just rubber stamping my choices because He saw them before I made them. In the Bible, God actively makes choices, and that creates a boatload of conflicts with our sensiblities (how can God choose one thing/person over another and still be fair? etc.). He's never let off the hook—Jesus' crucifixion may be the ultimate scandal.

It's terribly unsettling, so much so that the only place to find rest is in the fact that He's faithful and just, merciful and good. That's all I have to stand on, as Mr. Beaver explains in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe:
"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
But none of that negates in the least the fact that, as humans in His image, we, too, get to make choices. I don't fully understand how it all works, but it makes sense that we would have that dignity as His image bearers, and that what and how we choose are very important.

(Others see it differently, no doubt...I just wanted to respond with how I see things.)
i'm proud of your choice. :D
I looked at this again today and remembered what else had struck me. The part you mention about "you will not be able to serve the LORD" - and the people say "oh, yes we will!"

It reminds me of a kid who begs his mother for a puppy - and she finally relents, trying to make sure he understands that he needs to take care of it - the whole time KNOWING she's going to be the one waking up to feed/housebreak/etc. the animal.

not sure if i'm making any sense. i needed about 8 more hours of shuteye. (good morning, btw)
Hmm... As for predestination and free choice, I tend to think that God knows us so well that He knows better than we do what we will choose to do. Then He can plan for His contingencies with that knowledge. And of course, time has no meaning for Him so He can see our choices long before we make them as well and this also means He can plan His contingencies.

We still have free choice but He can still work out His plan for the human race.

Well, that's how I explain it to myself anyway.