Headed back to 1979 in a little divergence this week.

He never had a number one. Bob Dylan, legendary singer & songwriter, never topped Billboard’s charts. He joins Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, Credence Clearwater Revival and Backstreet Boys among others as surprising acts that never got to number one. (Okay, maybe Backstreet isn’t so surprising) I was shocked to hear that Bob never made it though.

Back in the fall of 1979 he had a song that charted for 11 weeks peaking at #24 for two of those called “Gotta Serve Somebody.” Go ahead and call me weird but when I read the words below from Joshua, Dylan’s song runs through my head.

“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.” Joshua 24: 14-15

As familiar as “as for me and my household we will serve the Lord” is for me and as popular as it may be for wall hangings I couldn’t find a single list that had it listed as being known or even sought out among bible verses. Maybe it’s a little like Dylan. We just expect that because it’s a known entity it’s a popular one. Still, the connection was pervasive enough that I did a little research.

My guess is that you probably don’t know all the words to Dylan’s song so here’s a link (Gotta Serve Somebody). You’re probably not alone in that group either and there’s good reason for that. If you look at the lyrics, the song is seven verses long, seven! And the chorus containing the single verse “Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you gotta serve somebody” appears (you guessed it) seven times. This is sort of the musical equivalent of War and Peace. Anything drilled into your melon that many times is bound to stick. Give it a listen here if you dare (Gotta Serve Somebody)

See, what Bob did in the verses of his song was give us a myriad of ways we might identify ourselves and then say essentially “That’s all good, be whatever you want to be but here’s the bottom line.” It’s all about who are you going to serve. Who are you going to worship? Joshua is a little more overt in his advice and a TON simpler.

What Joshua says is essentially, “Here’s my advice, take it or leave it, stay in the same place or move on but do something” He’s like Bob in that way. Come to think of it, Bob’s probably like him in that way but what’s a few thousand years? Still, I like Joshua for his directness and his commitment (As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord). I can get behind that even as I tend to read a little sarcasm into “if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you.” It’s probably just me but that makes me laugh a little bit. I have to say in his measly 80-some words he goes further than Bob did in over 600! But they both tell us the same thing: choose.

Choose which way you’re going to go. Choose who you will serve. Choose who you will worship. I’m biased but I hope you’ll go the way of Joshua and his house.

I would have been 15 when Bob’s song peaked on Billboard. Even though it’s been a lotta years, I still remember “Gotta Serve.” I hope you enjoyed this little walk down the ‘lane and if you think someone else might get a kick out of it I hope you’ll share it.

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