In my life experience, I have had to look back many times at my interactions with a few people just before their death. What I have concluded is that the words or the actions of people who are somehow very close to leaving this world have greater significance than we know at the time of the words or action. You find that knowingly or unknowingly, they speak the truth and are very honest in their actions. Considering how we also take people’s word just before their death as a sort of last declaration, God causes people to speak His heart to His people during these times.
This is what happened before Joshua’s death, as recorded in Joshua 24, where he made a covenant with the people of Israel. We find in this text how Joshua took the people through a history of their relationship with God beginning from the time of Abraham when their ancestors did not know God. He talked about God’s faithfulness and how God has come through for them many times before and how He has continued to be faithful to them. This culminated in his asking them for a commitment to the Lord. In verse 15 of Joshua 24 he asked them to choose who they will serve, telling them – “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”. The people then responded in verse 21 that they will serve the Lord. Shortly thereafter, as recorded in the same chapter 24 verse 29, the Word of God said, “Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being one hundred and ten years old.”
I am amazed by the striking parallel between this event and the event we just witnessed here at CICC. On Sunday August 7, Rev. Dr. Osei spoke at our Renewal and Rededication Service about serving the Lord. In hindsight, the Lord meant for this message to be his final charge to us in a similar fashion to the final message that Joshua gave to the people of Israel. He told us that, just like Joshua, he wants to have a covenant with us. Reverend Osei then spoke about the vision, the beginning of the Church, the travails and where we are. He spoke about God’s faithfulness to us at CICC. He told us that as far as CICC is concerned, he has done his part and his mission is accomplished. He used the word of Simeon in Luke 2:29-30(NKJV), “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation”. Little did we know then that he was indeed making a final declaration. He, like Joshua, then proceeded to ask us who we will serve. We responded in a similar manner to the response of the Israelites. We made a commitment to serve the Lord.
We are now witnesses to the fact that shortly after this message, precisely on Wednesday November 30, 2022, the man of God, Rev Dr. Joseph Osei went to be with the Lord. A man of God who lived all his life in the service of God has gone back to be with his maker. In that message he told us that he has done his bit and is ready anytime the Lord comes calling for him to come back home. So, we know that he was indeed ready for His maker. What about us? Are we ready for our maker? To be ready we must live our lives fulfilling every commitment we made to our God. On that fateful Sunday in August 2022, we, as a Church made a commitment to serve the Lord. The same commitment the Israelites made with their God. The Bible called it a covenant. You and I now have a covenant to serve the Lord all the days of our lives. As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord. Will you serve the Lord? Joshua 24:31 underlined the fact that Israel served the Lord during the time of Joshua and through the days of the elders who outlived Joshua. They fulfilled their covenant. We must also fulfill our covenant and serve the Lord.
Brothers and sisters, we will serve the Lord. Serving the Lord will be our testimony that the Lord has been faithful to us. Serving the Lord will be a testament that we indeed love the Lord. Serving the Lord will be a fulfilment of the covenant we made with the Lord at the behest of Rev. Dr Osei. When we serve the Lord, we will also be able to say that we have done our part and are ready for our maker. I pray that the Lord of covenants will help us to fulfill all the commitments we have made to Him in Jesus’ name.
December 04, 2022 – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya