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You Are Not Able

Words of Faith Final

You Are Not Able

Words of Faith 10-20-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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Joshua 24

    [16] Then the people answered, "Far be it from us to forsake the Lord to serve other gods! [17] It was the Lord our God himself who brought us and our fathers up out of Egypt, from that land of slavery, and performed those great signs before our eyes. He protected us on our entire journey and among all the nations through which we traveled. [18] And the Lord drove out before us all the nations, including the Amorites, who lived in the land. We too will serve the Lord, because he is our God."

    [19] Joshua said to the people, "You are not able to serve the Lord. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. [20] 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."

    [21] But the people said to Joshua, "No! We will serve the Lord."

    [22] Then Joshua said, "You are witnesses against yourselves that you have chosen to serve the Lord."

    "Yes, we are witnesses," they replied.

    [23] "Now then," said Joshua, "throw away the foreign gods that are among you and yield your hearts to the Lord, the God of Israel."

    [24] And the people said to Joshua, "We will serve the Lord our God and obey him."


       Joshua had boldly challenged the people of Israel to fear the Lord and serve Him daily.  The response of the people to the challenge of Joshua was one of great resolve.  They were determined publicly and corporately to do the right thing.  They were committed to putting the Lord first.  They were solid in their intention to put false gods away and serve only the one true Lord God.  But Joshua knew better.

        "You are not able," Joshua replied.  He is holy and jealous.  He will not forgive the rebellion that is ahead.  Forsaking the Lord brings disaster.  Yet even when the people insisted that they could be faithful, the response of Joshua was gloomy.  They would be witnesses against themselves.  Then he urged them to throw away the foreign gods and yield their hearts to the Lord.

        What was going on here?  Apparently, Joshua knew something that the others did not.  He knew that our greatest efforts to walk in holiness will ultimately fail.  We do not have the strength.  We do not have the power or the resolve ultimately to walk in His holiness.  We cannot make ourselves good enough for a holy God.  We will fail.

         The passage reminds us of the Apostle Paul, who declared—“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do--this I keep on doing (Romans 7:18-19).

          Joshua had come to the conclusion that our holiness is not attainable in our human efforts.  Paul had come to the same conclusion--  "What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:24) The answer?  In the very next verse-- "Thanks be to God--through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Romans 7:24-25a) 

         History would sadly prove Joshua's prediction to be correct.  The Israelites would stray from their resolve over and over.  They would worship other gods and incur the wrath of the Lord. It would all look pretty hopeless until the Lord provided the answer many years later in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the answer.

          Do you want to walk in holiness?  It is important to throw away the foreign gods of your life and yield your heart to the Lord, the God of Israel.  But we must also know that it is only in Jesus that we are found righteous. 


         Father God, thank You for providing the way.  Thank You for providing the strength.  Thank You for making me holy in Your sight through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus.  I stand in His righteousness alone.  In Jesus' Name.   


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© Jeffrey D. Hoy 2005, 2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy - Faith Fellowship Church (EFCA)       

2820 Business Center Blvd.

Melbourne, Florida 32940 (321)-259-7200

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.