I also will not henceforth drive out any from before them of the nations which Joshua left when he died: That through them I may prove Israel, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk therein, as their fathers did keep it, or not. Therefore the LORD left those nations, without driving them out hastily; neither delivered he them into the hand of Joshua.
Joshua had issued the challenge for the people to make their choice. Joshua was going to stand for God. He made that commitment in his heart and in his life. He didn’t just say it, but he lived it—an active faith in God. The people had said they were making that choice, but had they lived it? One generation later, most were turned aside to other gods. They were all left with that choice to make for themselves—the living God who had delivered them and given them this land or the gods of the people around them who couldn’t do anything for them but also did not demand anything of them.
Very often God leaves our options open, and we have to choose one or the other. He hasn’t completely destroyed all the workers of evil in the world. He hasn’t wiped out the false gods of this age. But these things are out there, and we must make our own choice whether we will stick to the way of the Lord or whether we will go the way of the world around us. Will we commit to following God in this evil generation, or will we succumb to the ways of the world?
God wants to know our hearts, and He will find them out one way or another. He wants us to choose Him, not be forced into something we don’t want to do, so He allows us our free will. Adam and Eve had to choose to eat the fruit of the forbidden tree. Abraham had to choose to follow God into an unknown land. Noah had to choose to build the ark and enter it. Moses had to choose to forsake Egypt for Israel. Scripture is full of examples of people making choices for God or against Him. And the results of those choices are shown to us, as well. The consequences of obedience and disobedience are there for us to learn from.
So, which will we choose? Both options are there, open and available. We get to decide. God won’t force us to choose Him, but He welcomes us to. He wants us to, because He has chosen us. But ultimately the decision is ours to make from the multitude of options all around us. Will we make our choice this day to stand for God and to follow Him and His ways, or will we forsake Him for something lesser, lured away by something tempting in the wilderness of sin?