Vending machines have been in existence for quite some time. They are machines that offer the opportunity to choose from an assortment of items. Generally speaking, these are items to be consumed and enjoyed by the participating customer. The history and concept of the vending machine go as far back as ancient Greece in which a mathematician by the name of Hero, invented a machine to dispense holy water in Egyptian temples. You can read about the full history of the vending machine here. The great thing about the concept and existence of vending machines is that they offer to each user a choice. What you choose to purchase, is completely in your hands.
In addition to being able to choose from a variety of products, God has given each human the opportunity and ability to choose their path in life. This path involves the most important decision that anyone can make, and that is to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord & Savior. The other part of the choice we have been given is to remain in our sinful nature by serving the will of our flesh.
In the book of Joshua Chapter 24, there is an account of a man named Joshua, who was the chosen leader after the death of Moses. He was given the responsibility of leading the people of Israel to the Promised Land. In chapter 24, Joshua asks the tribes of Israel and Shechem to assemble so that he can give them God’s message and instruction. In verse 2, Joshua says:
(NIV) “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods.”
Notice that God makes a statement of the Israelite’s ancestors who were worshiping other gods. Based on the lineage of the Israelites, there were those who were committing idolatry by turning away from the one and True God to serve other gods. In verses 3-4 Joshua continues by saying:
(NIV) “But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants. I gave him Isaac, and to Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau. I assigned the hill country of Seir to Esau, but Jacob and his family went down to Egypt.”
If you read further through the verses of 5-13, you will see that there were many accounts of God’s faithfulness to the people of Israel. It was because of the obedience and allegiance unto God by individuals such as Abraham, Moses and even those after, that God spared and rescued the Israelites out of peril. In verses 5-13, God spoke through Joshua making it clear that it was because of the Israelite’s obedience, that they had experienced favor with God.
However, notice what Joshua says in verses 14-15:
(NIV) “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Why does Joshua tell the Israelites to throw away the gods of their ancestors? In verse 23, Joshua says, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” Basically, this is pointing to the fact that at some point, the Israelites began to worship the same gods that their ancestors did, which was blatant idolatry. Joshua gives a warning of what will happen if the Israelites choose not to be in full allegiance unto God:
(NIV) “If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”
The whole point of this scripture is to show that the Israelites were given two options. They could choose to worship God only and forsake their idols, or they could revert to the actions of their ancestors by engaging in idol worship. As Joshua said in this passage of scripture, there would be consequences for choosing other gods. However, the alternative to following after the God of Israel was a continued hand of favor from God as they had experienced in their years of battle against their enemies. However, Joshua also uses a pivotal phrase in verse 15 which says, “choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.”
The thing about God is that He has and continues to give humanity a choice. This is akin to having free-will which is to say that we can choose what we will do and who we will serve. The reason why God allowed humanity to have free-will was so that we would freely choose Him as Lord, over any other god. A love that is demanded or forced is not true love and does not encompass the act of free-will. God desires that we choose Him over the desires of our flesh.
For example, in the Garden of Eden, God gave Adam & Eve a choice. That choice was to obey His commands or to eat of the fruit on the tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil. They were given a choice so that they themselves would freely choose to love God or to embrace sin. That is the same opportunity that you and I have today. Like a vending machine, we all have choices in life. We can choose to live in our sin and reject God’s love, or we can choose to embrace God and experience His love.
The Bible says in 2 Peter 3:9, that God wishes that no man would perish. It isn’t God’s will that you and I experience eternal damnation in Hell. Instead, God offered an alternative in the person of Jesus Christ, to redeem humanity. Many have and will continue to reject this gift of life, but it will be a choice that is made. It does not negate the opportunity for redemption, but it only means that the path to living in disobedience and sin has been chosen.
Of course, because you are still alive, there is an opportunity to choose God through Jesus Christ. The Bible also says in Romans 1:20 the following:
(NIV) “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
This scripture means, that the evidence of God and His love is all around us. You can see His existence in the nature that was made by Him and not by man. You can see God, even in the very air that we breathe which is supplied by God Himself. There are many signs that God has made available to us, which means that in the end we will not have an excuse for choosing other gods to worship instead of the one and True God.
The fact is that God desires to know you and to be known. Just as Joshua gave the Israelites an option, God gives us an option. The majority of the world will choose satan and the ways of the flesh. However, there will be those that will choose Christ and salvation. Will you be one those that choose Jesus Christ? If you haven’t accepted Christ as your Lord & Savior, you have an opportunity. Life becomes more joyous and orderly when you are in relationship with Jesus Christ. The choice is yours. Choose who you will serve today.