14“Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of 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.”
What does it mean to be a man? That is the question that we began to address last week. Joshua models for us the central idea in our text today. To be a man is to be the head of the home, the one responsible to God for the condition of the home. This is our identity as men. So let us flesh this out. Joshua calls us as the heads of our households to lead our households (1) to fear the Lord, (2) to serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and (3) to put away idols.
First, a man’s calling is to lead his household to fear of the Lord. A man knows that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; fools despises wisdom and instruction” (Pr 1:7). Further, he knows that the pathway of the fear of the Lord is the Word of the Lord. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments” (Ps 111:10). Hence, a true man reverences God, worships Him, refuses to take His Name in vain, and hallows the Lord’s Day, regularly leading His family to worship and praise the Lord – both at home and in the company of God’s people. Why? Because he knows that in God’s presence is true safety. “The fear of man brings a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord shall be safe” (Pr 29:25). In short, a man is to serve as the spiritual leader of his household.
Second, a man’s calling is to lead his household to serve God in sincerity and truth. A godly man walks in integrity and abhors all hypocrisy and duplicity. He does not put on a show. His devotion to the Lord is not a front or a façade. In particular, a man views his work as a calling from God not a matter of mere necessity. Hence, he does his work, “not with eyeservice, as a men-pleaser, but as a bondservant of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart” (Eph 6:6). He serves God in his work. While doing this work to provide for his household, a man remembers to lay up treasure in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroy; for he knows that “better is a little with righteousness, than vast revenues without justice” (Pr 16:8). In short, a man is to serve as the provider of his household.
Finally, a man’s calling is to lead his household to put away idols. A man recognizes that there are those who hate God, hate His commandments, and who would like nothing less than the destruction of his home – physically and spiritually. He stands between his family and danger. Hence, he warns his household of the threat of idolatry, urging them that they “not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Rom 12:2). A man realizes that the chief threat to his home is internal, not external. For the human heart is, as John Calvin once remarked, an idol-factory. Hence, the godly man keeps watch over his own heart and urges his household to watch over their hearts, for “from the heart spring the issues of life” (Pr 4:23). In short, a man is to serve as the protector of his household.
What does it mean to be a man? To be a man is to lead our household to fear the Lord, to serve Him in sincerity and truth, and to avoid idols – it is to be the spiritual leader, provider, and protector of our homes. The more faithfully we fulfill this calling, the more we reflect the character of the greater Joshua, our Lord Jesus Christ. For like the lesser Joshua, our greater Joshua stands before His Father and speaks for His people, represents His people. He says to the Father, “What they have done wrong, blame me. What I have done right, bless them.” He did not live for Himself, He did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life on behalf of His people. And so this is our calling as well. This is what it is to be a man.
So what of you men? How are you doing? Are you leading your households well? Are you modeling the fear of the Lord? Are you working to serve the Lord, not laboring as a men-pleaser, but as a bondservant of Christ? Are you protecting yourself and your family from idols and enemies? This is your calling.
So reminded this morning of the high and holy calling that God has given to us as men, of our calling to lead our families in the fear of the Lord, let us confess that we are often conformed to the world rather than transformed by the renewing of our minds. And as we confess, let us kneel as we are able. We will have a time of silent confession followed by the corporate confession found in your bulletin.