This passage of scripture is very often used to promote the idea that GOD is offering HIMSELF to men as a choice. But rather than offering men a choice between Almighty GOD and the gods of the heathen, Joshua is making a declaration of the singular position which the true and living GOD holds. And further, making an avowal of the fact that he and his people would serve HIM. We may paraphrase what he is saying thusly, "If you don"t worship JEHOVAH then pick out any god you want, they"re all the same, but my family will serve the true and living GOD."
Men assume they are free to choose to serve GOD, just like they are free to pick out a new pair of shoes or decide on which model of car to buy. Therefore a smorgasbord of "gods" is laid out before the masses and the preachers of religion, morality, and devotion tell men that the choice is all theirs. Just pick out one that suits you and follow in that path and we"ll all arrive to our desired destination. Some take another tack and become very exclusive saying, if you don"t follow this way or this god then you"ll miss the boat. The gods which men are free to choose all fall into one category. There are no leaders among them. They all ultimately lead to the same end.
The will of man cannot choose anything which his heart does not desire to do. For instance, a normal mother may possess the physical power to put a knife into the heart of her child, but she is not free to make such a choice because she is prevented by the overwhelming love she has for her child. A man may have the physical ability to drink poison but his desire for life prohibits him from making such a choice. If his desire changes then so can his will. Men in their natural fallen state cannot desire GOD and therefore will not choose to serve HIM. The LORD JESUS said to the Pharisees;"And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life." (John 5:40)and also"Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do." (John 8:43-44)The Pharisees are but typical of man in his natural state. (see John 3:3; 10:26; I Cor. 1:18,23;2:14; Rom.8:5-8)
The only reason any man ever chooses to follow the ONE true GOD is because GOD gives him a revelation to recognize HIMSELF."For GOD, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of GOD in the face of JESUS CHRIST." (2 Cor 4:6). GOD shows men who HE is."My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me." (John 10:27)HE doesn"t set around wringing HIS hands, just hoping somebody will choose HIM over the long list of impotent gods which populate the darkness of this world. The men of this world are free to choose any of those gods which can be seen and understood by human understanding but the HIGH and LOFTY ONE who inhabits eternity cannot be seen or comprehended by mortal flesh and blood (see I Tim.6:16;John 1:18) apart from the miraculous intervention of the quickening SPIRIT. ( see Eph.2:1; Col.2:13.
In time past GOD was pleased to reveal a glimpse of HIMSELF to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They knew HIM as El Shaddai which is the words most often translated in the scriptures as Almighty GOD. (see Ex.6:3) They had a limited understanding of HIM but that was all HE intended them to have, yet they understood HIM to be THE GOD of heaven and earth beside whom there is none else. They worshipped and served no other. Then GOD was pleased to reveal HIMSELF to Moses on Mount Sinai as JEHOVAH or YAWEH. This was a greater revelation than his fathers had yet MOSES had a veil placed over his eyes and was hid in a cleft of the rock and only glimpsed the back side of the LORD as HE passed by. This was all that GOD intended him to see, yet MOSES knew that HE was the true and living GOD and worshipped and served no other.
But when the fullness of time was come, when that moment which GOD ordained was ready, HE sent forth HIS SON, the LORD JESUS CHRIST into the world."GOD, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his SON, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also HE made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when HE had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the MAJESTY on high." (Heb 1:1-3) "For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by JESUS CHRIST. No man hath seen GOD at any time; the only begotten SON, which is in the bosom of the FATHER, HE hath declared HIM." (John 1:17-18)Now we who have been quickened by HIS SPIRIT have been given the full revelation of the LORD which HE intends us to have. Peter said,"Thou art the CHRIST, the SON of the living GOD. And JESUS answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my FATHER which is in heaven." (Matt 16:16-17)
We worship HIM who is the TRUE and LIVING GOD. HE is our ROCK and our defence is sure in HIM. We are not waiting for the unfolding of any mystery concerning who HE is. We are not "trying HIM out" to see if we like HIM. We are not giving HIM a chance to be our LORD or letting HIM in our hearts. We know that HE is the LORD of glory and we will worship and serve no other. No man has taught us these things but our FATHER which is in heaven has revealed them to us.mam