Sometimes I wish I could force people to do things. Sadly, I can't, and that was a hard realization for me to come to grips with several years ago. I wanted so badly for someone to make a wise choice and to do the right thing, but he didn't. I was disappointed in what happened, but it has since then worked out for good. But at the time, I wanted so badly to make the person make the right choice.
I wonder if my feelings back then are at all like Joshua's feelings in this farewell address to the Israelites. Joshua, like Moses, laid out the options and told the people to choose. And though the choice was ultimately up to them, he would be following the right way. I love his words: As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. What an incredible statement of commitment: "You do what you want. My house is serving the Lord." Joshua realized that he could not control the actions of the Israelites, but he could set an example of the right way. And what happened? They responded! Joshua couldn't force the response, but the example he set was influential in the response of the people: "we also will serve the Lord."
May we be known for the examples we set that direct people into a right relationship with the Lord!