I Think I'll Just Go With God

Bible Book: Joshua  24 : 1-28
Subject: Christian Living; Commitment; Dedication; Choice, The Believer's

This morning, I traveled about 18 and a half miles and made about 9 or 10 turns in order to come to the church. The first time I ever preached in this area and saw this church on the side of the highway was probably about 15 years ago, so I knew where Tabernacle in Hiram was located. But I have this Google map application on my phone that gives you turn-by-turn voice instructions just like a GPS. So I relied upon that to give me the best route to come here. At any of those 9 or 10 junctions, I could have made a left turn when I was supposed to make a right turn or vice versa. But if I had made that wrong decision and turned in the wrong direction, it would have hindered me from coming to where I was supposed to be today. I would have gotten off course and off track.

You know, the Christian life is like that. We have the scriptures and the Holy Spirit to guide us. But sometimes we come to a juncture in life, and we make the wrong decision. We turn in the wrong direction. And it hinders us from going in the direction that God would have us to go in. We get off course and off track.

As we look at Joshua chapter 24, I would mention that according to some sources, Joshua had been the leader of the nation of Israel for about 50 years beginning with the death of Moses and Israel’s entrance into Canaan. But Joshua dies at the end of this chapter at the age of 110. So this last chapter of the book that bears his name is also the final chapter of his life. In the events detailed in this chapter, we see Joshua’s desire for the nation as he is about to pass off the scene.

As Warren Wiersbe said…

Joshua was concerned lest the people lapse into idolatry because of the influence of the heathen nations around them. Israel was prone to worship idols, and Joshua knew that idolatry would cause them to forfeit their inheritance.

Joshua didn’t want the people to make a wrong turn spiritually in the days ahead that would cause them to get off course, or that would cause them to go in a direction contrary to the direction God would have them to go in.

The heart of this chapter (and really, of Joshua’s entire life) is the great statement that he makes in verse 15 when he said, “Choose you this day whom ye will serve … but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” I’m drawing my title from that declaration of devotion, and I want to preach on this thought:


Rev. George Brooks, Sr., pastor of the Saint James Missionary Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, said that…

The setting of this text is Joshua’s farewell address to the children of Israel. It took place at Shechem. Shechem was the place where Abraham first pitched his tent and built an altar, dedicating the place to the living God (Genesis 12:7). Abraham’s altar was a witness against the false gods of the Canaanites. It was at Shechem that Jacob built an altar to God on his way home from Paddan-aram (Genesis 33:18-20). Shechem was a city selected by Joshua as a city of refuge, along with five others (Joshua 20:1-9). It was the place where Joseph was buried (Joshua 24:29). Shechem was the place allotted to Ephraim. It was at this historical place that Joshua called the children of Israel together to share with them this parting message. In this message, Joshua wanted Israel to stop straddling the fence in their relationship with God. (WORDsearch Resource)

In this great farewell address…

1. Joshua Spoke of Their History

2. Joshua Shared His Heart

3. Joshua Set Their Heading

As we begin to dig into this chapter, let me point out that…

I. There Is a Remembrance in this Chapter

– Joshua Mentioned their Movements

(Joshua 24:1–13)

A. He Spoke of their Past Lives (vs. 1–4)

1. Notice The Defiled Corruption

(Joshua 24:2) And Joshua said unto all the people, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Your fathers dwelt on the other side of the flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham, and the father of Nachor: and they served other gods.

When Abraham lived in the city before he left for Haran and Canaan, Ur was a center of religion and industry. The city was wholly given over to the worship of the moon god cult. The Babylonians were devotees of many deities, but at Ur the moon god “Sin” was supreme. It is out of this polluted atmosphere of polytheism that God’s grace called Abraham to begin a new line that was to be separated from idolatry.

(From Halley’s Bible Handbook)

2. Notice The Divine Call

(Joshua 24:3) And I took your father Abraham from the other side of the flood, and led him throughout all the land of Canaan, and multiplied his seed, and gave him Isaac.

The great Baptist pastor and scholar of the 1700’s, John Gill said that…

He took him not only in a providential way, and brought him from the other side of the Euphrates, out of an idolatrous country and family, but He apprehended him by his grace, and called and converted him by it, and brought him to a spiritual knowledge of Himself, and of the Messiah that should spring from his seed, and of the covenant of grace, and of the blessings of it … and led him throughout all the land of Canaan; from the northern to the southern part of it; he led him as far as Shechem, where Israel was now assembled, and then to Bethel, and still onward to the south, that he might have a view of the land his posterity was to inherit, and, by treading on it and walking through it, take as it were a kind of possession of it.

Cf. (Genesis 12:1) Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee:

B. He Spoke of their Path of Liberation (vs. 5–7)

1. We Read How The Enemy Pursued

(Joshua 24:5-6) I sent Moses also and Aaron, and I plagued Egypt, according to that which I did among them: and afterward I brought you out. {6} And I brought your fathers out of Egypt: and ye came unto the sea; and the Egyptians pursued after your fathers with chariots and horsemen unto the Red sea.

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words says that the Hebrew word translated “pursued” (OT:7291 – radap) means “to follow after, or persecute.” … The basic meaning of this verb is “to pursue after” an enemy with the intent of overtaking and defeating him. In most of its occurrences radap is a military term. … A nuance of this verb is “to pursue” a defeated enemy with the intent of killing him:

They were leaving the bondage that they had known, but the old master was pursuing.

2. We Read How They Earnestly Prayed

(Joshua 24:7) And when they cried unto the LORD, he put darkness between you and the Egyptians, and brought the sea upon them, and covered them; and your eyes have seen what I have done in Egypt: and ye dwelt in the wilderness a long season.

The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament says of the Hebrew word translated “cried” (OT:6818) comes from a root word which “means to call out for help under great distress or to utter an exclamation in great excitement.” It is a word that usually indicates crying out to God for help in time of distress or great need.

Matthew Henry wrote that…

The same waters were the Israelites’ guard and the Egyptians’ grave, and this in answer to prayer; for, though we find in the story that they in that distress murmured against God (Exodus 14:11, 12), notice is here taken of their crying to God; he graciously accepted those that prayed to him, and overlooked the folly of those that quarreled with him.

C. He Spoke of the Provision of the Land (vs. 8–13)

1. God Gave Them Victory In The Battles

(Joshua 24:11-12) And ye went over Jordan, and came unto Jericho: and the men of Jericho fought against you, the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Girgashites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and I delivered them into your hand. {12} And I sent the hornet before you, which drave them out from before you, even the two kings of the Amorites; but not with thy sword, nor with thy bow.

In explaining the “hornet” mentioned in verse 12, The Pulpit Commentary says…

Commentators are divided as to whether this statement is to be taken literally or figuratively. The mention of hornets in the prophecies in Exodus 23:28; Deuteronomy 7:20 is not conclusive. … The hornet seems to be connected with the fear that was to be felt at their advance.

I have no reason to doubt that God could have sent literal hornets to vacate the people from their homes and lands. Whatever the case, Joshua makes it clear that it was “not with sword or bow,” but that it was God that did it.

2. God Gave Them Variety In The Blessings

(Joshua 24:13) And I have given you a land for which ye did not labour, and cities which ye built not, and ye dwell in them; of the vineyards and oliveyards which ye planted not do ye eat.

Charles Spurgeon said…

Jehovah had not fallen short of his promise in any respect, but He had brought His people into just such a country as He had aforetime covenanted to bestow upon them. Now, beloved, are not we also in very much the same position as Israel was with regard to many things around us? Why, even in temporals it is so. No good thing have we lacked, though we have sometimes feared that we should.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary states that…

God reviewed the marvelous deeds He had performed for Israel’s benefit. Any greatness Israel achieved was not by her effort but through God’s grace and enablement. From first to last Israel’s conquests, deliverances, and prosperity were because of God’s good mercies and were not of their own making.

We’ve seen that There Is a Remembrance in this Chapter, that Joshua Mentioned their Movements. But we also see that…

II. There Is a Resolution in this Chapter

– Joshua Made up his Mind

(Joshua 24:14–24)

A. Notice the Record of His Pledged Devotion (vs. 14-15)

1. Joshua Realized That It Was A Time To Refuse

(Joshua 24:14) Now therefore fear the LORD, and serve him in sincerity and in truth: and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the flood, and in Egypt; and serve ye the LORD.

(Joshua 24:15) 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.

At Ur, the moon god “Sin” was supreme. Baal was the principal god of the Canaanites (and Amorites); Ashtoreth, Baal's wife, their principal goddess. The Canaanites worshipped by immoral indulgence, as a religious ritual, in the presence of their gods; and then, by murdering their first-born children as a sacrifice to these same gods. (Archaeological notes from Halley’s Bible Handbook).

There may have been paganism and wickedness and idolatry in their past, but Joshua said that it was time to put the past behind them and NEVER, EVER return. Just as they had exhibited a cleaving unto the Lord as Joshua indicated in Joshua 23:8, there needed to be a mindset of leaving the sin of the past, to never bow at the altar of “Sin” again.

Cf. (Joshua 23:8) But cleave unto the LORD your God, as ye have done unto this day.

2. Joshua Realized That It Was A Time To Choose

(Joshua 24:15) 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.

Commenting on the phrase “if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD,” Matthew Henry said…

He supposes there were those to whom, upon some account or other, it would seem evil to serve the Lord. There are prejudices and objections which some people raise against religion, which, with those that are inclined to the world and the flesh, have great force. It seems evil to them, hard and unreasonable, to be obliged to deny themselves, mortify the flesh, take up their cross.

In a sermon from Peninsula Bible Church dated January 26, 1997, Doug Goins said…

Thank goodness God periodically raises up men and women like Joshua to stand before us and confront us: “Do you know who you are in relationship to God? Have you made a choice? If not, then choose right now, today, whom you’re going to be sold out to.” It’s an imperative. Each of us needs to seriously hear it. What we’re called to do is examine our own relationship with Jesus Christ. Have you wholeheartedly made that choice, and are you absolutely convinced in the choice?


Joshua’s own pledge here is not the rash vow of a fledgling saint, but as Arno Gaebelein said, “He had served Him all his life and on the eve of his departure, he renews his vow.” Verse 29 indicates that Joshua was 110 years old when he made this pledge. Don’t tell me that you’re too far along in your Christian experience to make a fresh commitment to serve the Lord!

B. Notice the Response of the People’s Decision (vs. 16-18)

1. In Their Response, They Acknowledged Jehovah

(Joshua 24:16-18) And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; {17} For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers 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: {18} And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

The Pulpit Commentary says…

The Israelites, we may observe, were no skeptics, nor ever became such. Their sin was not open rebellion, but the attempt to engraft upon God’s service conduct incompatible with it, which led in practice to the same result - a final antagonism to God. But they believed in Jehovah; they had no doubt of the miracles He had worked, nor of the fact that His protecting hand had delivered them from all their perils, and had achieved for them all their victories. Nor do we find, amid all their sins, that they ever committed themselves to a formal denial of His existence and authority.

Most commentators agree that when the people said “God forbid that we should forsake the LORD” in verse 16, it indicates that they were appalled by the suggestion that they would ever depart from the Lord. Though they would indeed depart, time and again, in this moment at least, they are committed to the Lord. And they recognize, in this moment at least, that they are where they are completely because of God.

2. In Their Response, They Assured Joshua

(Joshua 24:18) And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

And because they saw the Lord’s undeniable activity and intervention throughout their history, “therefore” they said ‘we will serve the LORD.’

John Gill said…

Therefore will we also serve the Lord: as well as Joshua and his house, for the reasons before given, because He had done such great and good things for them. For He is our God: that has made and preserved us, and loaded us with his benefits, and is our covenant God, and therefore will we fear and serve Him.

C. Notice the Requirement of Proven Dedication (vs. 19-24)

1. Joshua Wanted Them To Consider The Consequences

(Joshua 24:19-21) And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. {20} 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. {21} And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD.

In the strongest terms possible, Joshua told the people that God would tolerate no rivals in their worship of Him. And if they did give their worship to another, God’s punishment would be sure and severe.

2. Joshua Wanted Them to Consider Their Commitment

(Joshua 24:22-24) And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. {23} Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the LORD God of Israel. {24} And the people said unto Joshua, The LORD our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey.

We’ve seen that There Is a Remembrance in this Chapter, that Joshua Mentioned their Movements.

And we’ve seen that There Is a Resolution in this Chapter, that Joshua Made Up His Mind. But I want to quickly point out that…

III. There Is a Rock in this Chapter

– Joshua Marked the Moment

(Joshua 24:25–28)

A. A Sanctuary Was Set (vs. 26)

(Joshua 24:26) And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

I want to mention this “sanctuary” first because this was the area and the environment in which these actions took place. This was not the tabernacle, because according to Joshua 18:1, it had been set up at Shiloh. The sanctuary may refer to an open tent that had been set up for this occasion. It might have even been an “open air” meeting so that this sanctuary refers to the open area and the spot that they had selected as the place to hold this gathering. Why here? Why have the sanctuary under this oak at Shechem? Well…

1. This Sanctuary Was A Place Of Reminiscing

Soon after God called him out of Ur, Abraham had built an altar in this same area…

(Genesis 12:6-7) And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh. And the Canaanite was then in the land. {7} And the LORD appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the LORD, who appeared unto him.

After Jacob and his family left his father-in-law, Laban’s, house and as they journeyed back towards Bethel (which means “the house of God”), they stopped and got rid of all the idols that anyone was carrying and they buried them under this same oak tree at Shechem…

(Genesis 35:1-4) And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother. {2} Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: {3} And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. {4} And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem.

2. This Sanctuary Was A Place Of Reverence

The very meaning of the Hebrew word translated “sanctuary” (OT:4720 – miqdash) is “a consecrated thing or place.” The Hebrew word is translated elsewhere in the Old Testament as “chapel, hallowed part, (and) holy place.”

In his Notes on Joshua, Dr. Thomas L. Constable said that…

Jacob had buried his idols under an oak tree in Shechem, perhaps the same one (Genesis 12:6-7; 35:2-4). “The sanctuary” (v. 26) was this holy place, not the tabernacle that was then at Shiloh.

This had been a place where false gods had been put down and buried. Here, it became a place where the true and living God was exalted and lifted up. The two actions go together aptly.

The Keil and Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament says that …

The sanctuary of Jehovah under the oak at Shechem was nothing (but) else than the holy place under the oak, where Abraham had formerly built an altar and worshipped the Lord, and where Jacob had purified his house from the strange gods, which he buried under this oak.

B. A Statute Was Set (vs. 25–26)

1. We See Here A Renewing Of Their Covenant

(Joshua 24:25) So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.

Again in his Notes on Joshua, Dr. Thomas L. Constable said that…

The covenant that Joshua made with the people on this day was not a new one but a renewal of the Mosaic Covenant made for the first time at Mt. Sinai (cf. Exodus 19-24). The Israelites renewed this covenant from time to time after God first gave it (cf. 8:30-35). The “statute” Joshua made was the written commitment of the people to obey the Law (v. 26). The “ordinance” (right) was the record of the blessings Israel would enjoy as the fruits of her obedience.

2. We See Here A Registering Of Their Covenant

(Joshua 24:26) And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

Constable said that…

The “book of the law of God” (v. 26) appears to have been the document in which Joshua wrote the record of this renewal of the covenant. He evidently placed it with the written covenant itself.

He put the record of this convocation and the ratifying of this covenant into the official transcripts of the nation so that future generations would know what the people had done that day.

C. A Stone Was Set (vs. 26–27)

“Stones played an important role in the march of Israel through Canaan.” Wiersbe’s Chapter by Chapter

Warren Wiersbe wrote…

So that they wouldn’t forget this solemn covenant with Jehovah, Joshua wrote it in the Book of the Law and then set up a large stone as a perpetual witness to their agreement. This is the ninth and last memorial mentioned in the Book of Joshua. The nine memorials are:

1. The stones in the midst of the Jordan (4:9).

2. The stones on the western bank of the Jordan (4:20-24).

3. The stones in the Valley of Achor (7:26).

4. The heap of stones at Ai (8:29).

5. The altar on Mt. Ebal (8:30).

6. The stones of the law on Mt. Ebal (8:32).

7. The stones at the cave at Makkedah (10:27).

8. The altar built by the Transjordanic tribes (22:10 ff).

9. Joshua’s stone of witness (24:26-28).

1. Notice The Size Of This Stone – It Was Large

(Joshua 24:26) And Joshua wrote these words in the book of the law of God, and took a great stone, and set it up there under an oak, that was by the sanctuary of the LORD.

The Hebrew word translated “great” (OT:1419 – gadol), in most of the places where it is used, means large.

The UBS (United Bible Societies) Old Testament Handbook says that the statement here…

May be translated “Then he set up a large stone.” The text obviously means that Joshua was the one responsible for having this done, and so one may translate “Joshua commanded some of his men to set up a large stone…” Or, so as not to mention a third party, “Joshua caused a large stone to be set up.”

2. Notice The Significance Of This Stone – It Was Listening

(Joshua 24:27) And Joshua said unto all the people, Behold, this stone shall be a witness unto us; for it hath heard all the words of the LORD which he spake unto us: it shall be therefore a witness unto you, lest ye deny your God.

Thomas Constable said that…

The stone had not literally heard all that had taken place that day (v. 27), but it would remain in the same place from then on as a silent witness to the proceedings. Joshua here rhetorically ascribed human characteristics to the stone (i.e., personification) to reinforce the seriousness of the commitment the Israelites had made to Yahweh.

Joshua told them in verse 22 that they were witnesses against themselves of what they had agreed to in this covenant. This stone (which, I think, reminds us of the Rock of Ages) would be the witness for what the Lord had said regarding this covenant.

We don’t know how much time elapsed between verse 28 and 29 thru the remainder of the chapter. But we see that the austerity of the gathering that day was followed by the gathering of the people around three significant graves (all in this same area of Shechem); of Joshua (whose life and leadership mirrored that of a king), of Joseph (whose gifts evoked the idea of a prophet), and of Eleazar the son of Aaron (whose family served as the priests of Israel).

The record of what happened after Joshua’s death is detailed in Judges, especially chapter 2 where it says…

(Judges 2:8-13) And Joshua, the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died, being an hundred and ten years old. {9} And they buried him in the border of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the mount of Ephraim, on the north side of the hill Gaash. {10} And also all that generation were gathered unto their fathers: and there arose another generation after them, which knew not the LORD, nor yet the works which he had done for Israel. {11} And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim: {12} And they forsook the LORD God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the people that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and provoked the LORD to anger. {13} And they forsook the LORD, and served Baal and Ashtaroth.

In one generation, they fell spiritually.


One of the great gospel songwriters of our day is Kyla Rowland. She has written thousands of songs, but I’ve taken my sermon title today from one that she wrote many years ago.

In her book, “Long Journey,” she tells about a time in the 70’s when southern gospel music was changing, and the popular gospel songs were becoming a reflection of the songs that were popular in the secular world.

She said she battled with this trend, but just decided to more or less ‘go with the flow’ and write the type of songs that the gospel music industry was wanting. She could keep going in this direction and have popular songs and win awards. But she said, “This new style did not suit me or fulfill me. … (she said) I certainly never thought, as I set out on this new musical adventure, that it would cause such an internal conflict. … It became so big, so worrisome, that I came to a point of giving up songwriting altogether.”

She said she “finally decided that God was better able to make a decision for me.” So one night after they had sung somewhere, she and her brother Ron and his wife Aquila got down at the altar. Kyla said, “There was not a lot of praying on my part, as I recall, but a good deal of weeping.” And finally, she saw that the Lord was showing her the clear path for her life. She said, “I got up, set on the step leading to the podium and said, “I Think I’ll Just Go With God.” And her song by that title says…

Verse 1

I started a journey many years ago, looking for rest and peace for my soul.

I found it at Calvary and truly I say, It satisfied then and gets better each day.


I think I'll just go with God. For looking back my way I don't see a lot.

With Him there is joy and blessings untold. So I think I'll just go with God.

That’s the decision I keep coming back to in my life. And maybe as a Christian, you’ve made that commitment many times before, but perhaps you’ve reached a crossroads where you need to make another “right” turn today. Today, you need to come forward and just say as Joshua said, “As for me … I’m going to serve God.” Regardless of what others may do, I’m making my decision today to just go with God.