Being 66 years old and have preached the Word of God for over 40 years, I found out that talk is cheap. That is especially true when it comes to dedicating our lives to the Lord. The ranks of modern Christians have swelled with people who talk a great deal about dedication but who have failed miserably to demonstrate that dedication in their walk. With their mouths they say they love the Lord, but sometimes their hearts are set on living their lives in a direct opposition to God. Many of us Pastors have seen this in our church’s. Talk is indeed cheap; to walk the Christian life will cost. How many of us are honestly willing to pay the price?
Our golden text here marks the third time in this chapter alone that the people verbally dedicated themselves to serve and obey God. ”For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our father out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we
went, and among all the people through whom we passed: If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good” (Joshua 17,20). The people here had a bad habit of not really meaning what they said; however, they were notorious for their verbal dedications to love, serve, and obey God. Certainly there were many individuals who expressed their dedication to God and meant it, but the nation as a whole repeatedly backslid and resisted God. Stephen’s assessment of Israel in Acts 7:51-53 is timeless as a commentary describing their lack of corporate dedication to God. “ Ye stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? Shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of the angels, and have not kept it”
Throughout Joshua 24 we are reminded that the people of God’s faithfulness and goodness to them. He impressed upon their hearts that God had been dedicated to them. He took them down memory lane and challenged them, concerning whom they were going to serve. It was decision time.
It did not take long after the verbal dedication recorded in the golden text for the nation as a whole to begin to dishonor the God they said they would serve. The book of Judges, which immediately follows Joshua, historically reveals beyond any doubt that the nation of Israel had dedicated themselves to more than they were willing to back up with their lives.
How many of us have verbally offered ourselves in dedication to God but really did not mean it? The impact of our testimony in the world has been greatly weakened by the shallow commitment of many of those who claim a relationship with God. We have become experts at preaching truth and yes are terrible at practicing it.
It is important for each one of us to assess the depth of our dedication to God. Our dedication must be rooted deep within our hearts’ desire to genuinely love and obey the Lord. He deserves much more than the occasional verbal telegrams we send Him that are void of true devotion. You choice to serve God needs to be verbally expressed by an honest tongue connected to a devoted heart. Are you ready to truly dedicate your life to God?