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What Did Joshua Mean by 'As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord'?

When a person is dying or near the end of their life their last words mean a lot. Usually, there is complete truth and honesty because there is nothing left to lose at this point. This usually gives people the freedom to say what is really and truly on their hearts. In fact, if a person is on their deathbed the words they speak are deemed to be so honest that they can even be used in court something known as a dying declaration. This brings us to the words of Joshua found in Joshua 24. This chapter is Joshua’s dying declaration. The verse that gets a lot of attention is 15.

"But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." – Joshua 24:15 (NKJV)

What did Joshua mean by as for me and my house we will serve the Lord? This is a great question which when you understand Joshua’s dying declaration this statement will have even greater weight and value.

What Did Joshua mean by ‘As for Me and My House We Will Serve the Lord’?

To get the full context of this question let’s look at 14 and 15.

"Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." – Joshua 24:14-15 (NKJV)

Within this verse, Joshua is making a declaration about what matters most to him and his household. He is stating clearly and without any doubt who he will serve. It didn’t matter to him what any other Israelite and their families decided to do he was establishing what was right for his house.

In this chapter, Joshua begins by summoning the people of Israel together.

"Then Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem. He summoned the elders, leaders, judges and officials of Israel, and they presented themselves before God." – Joshua 24:1

During this time, he takes them on a verbal history journey. Starting from the time when their ancestors did not know God to Abraham. He then systematically takes them through a history of God’s faithfulness and delivery of the people of Israel. He reminds them of everything God has done which has gotten them to this point and this leads to him asking them for a commitment. He literally asks them to choose and what will you do. This leads us to the point of this verse.

To get the full context of this question let’s look at 14 and 15.

"Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and in truth, and put away the gods which your fathers served on the other side of the River and in Egypt. Serve the Lord! 15 And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." – Joshua 24:14-15 (NKJV)

Within this verse, Joshua is making a declaration about what matters most to him and his household. He is stating clearly and without any doubt who he will serve. It didn’t matter to him what any other Israelite and their families decided to do he was establishing what was right for his house.

Why Is it Important to Serve the Lord?

We know what Joshua means as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. This is a total commitment to follow God no matter what. That was good for Joshua and his household but what does that mean for you? What are some truths we see in these verses that are applicable to you and I right now? Here are four.

1. Everyone must decide on their own.
All of Israel experienced the things that God did. Even if the younger ones were not alive when they happened the Israelites were faithful to keep telling the story. Telling the story is not what protected them, they still had to make a choice. It doesn’t matter if your parents were believers or you come from a whole line of believers. You still must make a choice. You must decide who you will follow and who you will serve. The beauty of salvation is that you are not bound by the choices of others. Even if your parents did not believe that does not stop you from believing. Joshua presented this choice to the nation and like the Israelites, we all must decide for ourselves who we will follow.

2. Miracles don’t always create movement.
One of the things I find incredible about this verse is that even after seeing and experiencing all that God had done there are still those who had the desire to follow after other gods. Could there be any greater miracle than the Red Sea? If that wasn’t enough what about water from the rock. Manna from heaven. The Jordan River. What about the walls of Jericho? How about how God drove out all their enemies? The nation of Israel saw miracle after miracle and still, there were some that held onto foreign gods. What we learn from this is that miracles don’t always create movement. In other words, they don’t always move the heart. What moves the heart is not when you see God do something miraculous but when God reveals your need for him in the process. 

It’s quite possible some of the Israelites took the miraculous leading of God for granted and it wasn’t enough for them. The miracles didn’t move them closer to a relationship with God, it simply was par for the course. That’s why we should never just focus on God doing the miraculous in the body or outwardly, but God doing the miraculous in the heart. What good is the miraculous display if it doesn’t move the heart? Jesus healed many who remained unchanged in their heart. Those that were changed were those whose hearts were changed.

3. Past Blessing does not automatically mean continued blessing.
When Joshua made the statement as for me and my house we will serve the Lord he recognized something. The blessing of God on your life is conditional. The true secret to continued blessing is obedience. Joshua knew this. Many of the people of Israel were basking in the blessing that was flowing from other people’s obedience and not their own because many still had idols. Let me prove this to you. After challenging the people and the people said yes, we will follow God here is what Joshua told them.

“Now then,” said Joshua, “throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel.” – Joshua 24:23

They were still being blessed as a nation, as a whole, but there were individuals who were harboring foreign gods. If this situation continued their blessing would eventually stop.

“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.” – Joshua 24:20

Joshua knew that to continue in God’s blessing it would require obedience. Knowing this I am convinced this is part of what Joshua meant when he said as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

4. The decision must come out of your mouth.
The decision to follow or serve God though it begins in the heart must eventually come out of your mouth. This is what Joshua declared. He said from his own mouth as for me and my house we will serve the Lord. You must do the same. If you look at salvation notice what Romans says,

“If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:9

Salvation and choosing to follow God is not just an inward decision. You also must declare it. The revelation and truth that is happening on the inside must come out. We talked earlier about a dying declaration well this is a living one. In order for the declaration to matter, it must be verbalized. There is no pleading the fifth when it comes to choosing to follow God. If you are going to follow Joshua’s lead that is wonderful don’t do it silently let it be known.

A Final Question

It seems proper if we are talking about a decision to choose that the question be asked of you. Who will you serve? The truth is this is a choice you make not just one day but every day. There will always be things that will fight to get you to follow after them. These things will attempt to replace the number one place God should have in your heart. I encourage you to always search your heart and to always come back to the same place like Joshua did. As for me and my house we will serve the Lord.

Further Reading

What Does it Mean That "As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord"?

What Is the Importance of 'As for Me and My House, We Will Serve the Lord'?

Photo credit: ©Getty Images/Wave Break Media


Clarence L. Haynes Jr. is a speaker, Bible teacher, author and co-founder of The Bible Study Club. He has spent more than 30 years serving the body of Christ in various capacities and has just released his first book, The Pursuit of Purpose. If you have ever struggled trying to find God’s will, this book will help you discover the different ways God leads you into his perfect will. To learn more about his ministry please visit clarencehaynes.com


This article is part of our larger resource library of popular Bible verse phrases and quotes. We want to provide easy to read articles that answer your questions about the meaning, origin, and history of specific verses within Scripture's context. It is our hope that these will help you better understand the meaning and purpose of God's Word in relation to your life today.

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