At this time when millions are feeling deeply unsettled by so much that they had taken as normal being suddenly removed, Joshua’s tremendous and challenging declaration came to mind as I was pondering these things: ‘Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’ (Josh. 24:15) Like Joshua, though so much remains uncertain, may we find many ways to serve Him!
There are numerous occasions when this phrase is used in the Bible. You will be familiar with them, of course, but I have drawn many of them together in this presentation and set them to beautiful music, like ornaments in a band. Sometimes, like Joshua, the verses are markers laid down for us as we determine to move purposefully forward, embracing our calling and commission. At other times they are a cry from people in intense and immediate need.
As Sally Mowbray, Colin Owen and I read, the music ranges from the contemporary to the very ancient, beginning with Maria es libre, a lovely piece of music composed and played by David Booth from Malvern for guitar; a powerful piece called The Scottish Connection that our friend James Horsfall from Jersey wrote; a beautiful Song without Words by Mendelssohn – and then the oldest extant piece of music in existence: Seikilos, which was found on a tombstone in Turkey and dating from the first or second century.
How amazing that this has survived – and that it still sounds so contemporary! The whole is beautifully resolved by a wonderfully ‘settling’ piece composed in lockdown itself, by Justin Coldstream.
Here are precious truths and promises to hold on to and apply!
But as for me . . .
Music: Maria es libre David Booth
When we think of the phrase, ‘But as for me’ our mind naturally goes back to Joshua’s great declaration, ‘If serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . but as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.’ (Josh. 24:15)
We are so often so preoccupied with our own lives and doings, and the challenge is to fix our eyes on Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith and to share all that we do with Him. And when we’re feeling down, rather than saying, for instance, ‘I’m no good,’ or ‘I’m useless,’ how much better to say with the psalmist, ‘As for me, I am poor and needy, but You take thought for me!’
In this short reflection, we are joining with the millions through the centuries who have made that declaration and said, ‘But as for me, I choose the Lord,’ whether that is from a position of great neediness, which is where this compilation of bible verses begins, or whether we are moving forward to embrace our calling and commission.
Music: Scottish Connection James Horsfall
But as for me I will call upon the Lord – and He will save me (Psalm 55:16)
But as for me, I had almost lost my footing. My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
But as for me, afflicted and in pain – may Your salvation, God, protect me…. My life, my times, my destiny – it’s all in Your hands. So I know You can deliver me from those who persecute me relentlessly.
As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; O my God, come quickly to my aid.
But as for me I am appointed by the Lord and must fulfil my calling.
But as for me, I am filled with power, with the Spirit of the LORD, and with justice and might, to declare to Jacob his transgression, to Israel his sin.
As for me, this mystery has been revealed to me, not because I have greater wisdom than anyone else, but so that Your Majesty may know the interpretation.
But as for me, it matters very little how I might be evaluated by you or by any human authority.
From this time onward let no one trouble me; for, as for me, branded on my body I bear the scars of Jesus, my Master.
As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.
But as for me, LORD, You know my heart. You see me and test my thoughts.
John answered and said to them all, “As for me, I baptize you with water; but One is coming who is mightier than I, and I am not fit to untie the thong of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”
Music: Song without words, Mendelssohn
But as for me I am submitted to the Lord – and am a willing offering
As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever You think is good and right.
Then Paul answered, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart? As for me I am ready not only to be imprisoned but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
As for me, may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.
And as for me, most gladly will I spend all that I have and be utterly spent for your salvation; my life has already been poured out as an offering to God.
“As for Me, if I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all people to Myself.”
But as for me, I trust You, Lord.
But You, God, will bring down the wicked . . . But as for me, I trust in You.
As for me, I will be vindicated and will see Your face; when I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing Your likeness.
Music: Seikilos (dating from the first or second century)
But as for me, I wait for You, Lord; My hope is in You.
But as for me, God will redeem my life. He will snatch me from the power of the grave.
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me.
But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last.
But as for me, I will hope continually, and I will praise You yet more and more.
Music: ‘Peace piece’ by Justin Coldstream piano
But as for me, I worship You, Lord and proclaim Your greatness.
But as for me, I will sing about Your power. Each morning I will sing with joy about Your unfailing love. For You have been my refuge, a place of safety when I am in distress.
But as for me, how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things that You do.
But as for me, I will always proclaim what God has done; I will sing praises to the God of Jacob.
Lord, You have made me and called me into Your presence and Your service. You have poured Your mercy over me, You have washed every part of me and equipped me and fitted me to join the ranks of those who love You. You are so very good to me Lord, and I am so very grateful.