In 1985 I served under LTG Palastra, CG, I Corps & Ft Lewis. He was a political man f who always wanted to be a Pentagon officer, and became one. Well decorated, but not a soldiers General. In 1986 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf...Stormin' Norman!...took command. At the cermony Palastra rambled on. Then Schwarzkoph took the podium and our spines tingled, our chests swelled... He said nothing, he just surveyed us as he would a battlefield. "I appolgize for my silence, but I wanted to appreciate all of you before me," he began. He praised us, and pumped us up, and left the stand in short order after these words, "the best way to thank a soldier is to not make them stand for a long time on a parade field...Commanders, dismiss your troops." We would have followed this man anywhere!
Joshua... Joshua and Strormin' Norman had some things in common. I can hear his final speach before the thousands (read Joshua 24). He recounted the history of a people and God's deliverance. Challenging them. I believe the people were moved in spirit, they tingled with pride in who they were, and their chests rose to their high calling in God. And I believe they shouted his final words with Joshua - having heard them so often..."Choose you this day who you will serve...but as for me and my house, we will choose the Lord!" The people went wild in affirmation. The soldiers shouted HOOAH! in Hebrew (anybody know how to say that?). And Israel remained faithful beyond Joshua's days, faithful until the last elder present at the great speech died. Then, as my daughters like to say, "Pride comes before the monkey," and Israel fell away. ( Joshua 24-Judges 1).
So what's left to say. Choose you this day who you will serve...but as for ME and MY house, we will serve the Lord!