Pioneer Files: Notes from a Homeschooling Veteran

Joshua's majestic challenge stands before us as believers. Will we choose the old paths, new idols, or the Lord?
A man who lives without honor will not gain from education

A Majestic Challenge

Now, therefore, fear the LORD and serve Him in sincerity and truth; and put away the gods which your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.

And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: Whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:14-15

As the nation of Israel stood before the Jordan River, Joshua challenged them as they prepared to cross the river into the land that had been promised them forty years before. Were they going to serve the living God, or the gods of this world?

Three Choices, One Decision

Joshua asked the people if they were going to serve one of these three:

  1. The gods of their fathers.
  2. The gods of the land in which they now lived.
  3. The living God who claimed their souls.

The gods of their fathers were the gods of Egypt, where they lived as slaves. To us, these represent the bondage of the old ways before we met our Savior, the Lord Jesus. To serve these gods means a return to slavery.

The gods of the land in which they now lived were the idols that surrounded them on their journey toward the Promised Land. These represent the pull of the world on us that keeps us distracted from hearing God’s voice.

And so the Israelites were given a bold choice: to serve the idols of this world or the God of the universe. If we are serious about entering the land of promise and destroying all that is raised against the name of Jesus in our homes, we must turn our faces toward the land beyond the river. This means we will pay a price.

We may be “counseled,” mocked, and misunderstood. We may stand to lose our reputations and the admiration of others. We may lose friends and incur the wrath of our relatives.

Our time will not be ours any longer, and some pet projects will fall by the wayside. We may suffer a loss of income for our choice to stay home and care for our children. There may no longer be the money for the best tennis shoes, jeans or video games. We may lose our health.

Of course, none of this may happen. But what would we do if it did? We should be willing to count the cost of home education and be willing to pay the price, should it come due.

After all, any of these things could happen, anyway. Compromise doesn’t guarantee comfort. God intends for us to grow in grace and toward all He has for us. He always has Plan A and Plan B. If we refuse to listen to the still voice of His urging, He will resort to the “bit and bridle” of circumstances to drive us to Him.

Either way, Joshua’s majestic challenge stands before us as believers. Will we choose the old paths, new idols, or the Lord?

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About PamThorson

Pam is a licensed practical nurse, author, caregiver, and veteran homeschooler. Her first book, Song in the Night, recounts her son's fight for life after a spinal cord injury. Her second book, Out from the Shadows: 31 Devotions for the Weary Caregiver, offers hope and encouragement to those who care for others. Her third book, Arrow: the History and People of an Idaho Community, Volume One, presents the history of the community of Arrow, Idaho.

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