Stones that Hear and See

Bible Reading: Joshua 22; 23; 24:1-28

"'Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. ...Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.... But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.' Then the people answered, '...We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God.' ...On that day Joshua made a covenant for the people.... Then he took a large stone and set it up there under the oak near the holy place of the Lord. 'See!' he said to all the people. 'This stone will be a witness against us. It has heard all the words the Lord has said to us. It will be a witness against you if you are untrue to your God'" (24:14-18, 25-27).

Over 20 years ago, my husband and I left the homes of our parents and established our own household. Raised in Christian homes, we had served the Lord under the leadership of our parents. When we got married, however, the choice was handed down to us. We chose, on that day, to serve the Lord and obey him. Before God and many witnesses, we sang "Each for the other and both for the Lord," and prayed that God would help us build a strong household of faith. We have sung, many times since, the words of Joshua: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord."

When I look at my wedding ring, I remember not only the promise to love and honor my husband, but also the choice we made that day to serve the Lord, obeying him in the choices we make for ourselves and for our family. Our own children will soon be faced with the same decision. Who will they choose to serve?

Our decision to serve the Lord was not just a decision to be faithful in our church attendance and to be involved in church ministry. It was more than that. It was a decision to let God be in charge of our home. We chose to listen to God's voice and to do what he says. We chose to raise our children by the principles of the Bible, teaching them, by word and example, how to follow God's ways. We chose to "throw away idols" whenever God reveals that something else is controlling our decisions or becoming a higher priority than God. We chose "to love the Lord," "to walk in all his ways," "without turning aside to the right or to the left," "to obey his commands," "to hold fast to him" and to "serve him with all faithfulness" (22:5; 23:6; 24:14).

The stone that Joshua set up couldn't really "hear" God's words or "witness" if the people were later untrue to God, any more than the stone in my wedding ring heard my vows or can see when I make unwise choices. The ring does, however, remind me of my promise to be faithful to my husband and true to God. When I think I am all alone and no one will ever know my secret thoughts and actions, I am reminded that "nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight" (Heb. 4:13); he is the "the living Stone" (1 Peter 2:4), who hears and sees everything I say and do.

I have had to decide, more often than on just my wedding day, to love and honor my husband. It's not that the choice is up for grabs, to be reconsidered and debated every time I don't feel like loving him, but with God's strength, the choice must be daily reaffirmed. Likewise, I must decide, every day, to love and honor God. Instead of entering into a negotiation about what I have already decided, I will uphold my commitment. I chose a direction and value for my life; I will walk in it. I will let God be in charge today; I will not grab the reins and try to run my life my own way. I will trust God today; I will not trust my own judgment. I will obey God today; I will not obey my own whims and desires. When Satan tries to test me, I will answer, like Jesus, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only'" (Mt. 4:10).

Every morning, God whispers to our hearts, "Choose this day who you will serve." May the answer always be, "On this day, we will serve the Lord."