But Joshua said to the people, “You are not able to serve the Lord, for he is a holy God. He is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions or your sins.  If you forsake the Lord and serve foreign gods, then he will turn and do you harm and consume you, after having done you good.” – Joshua 224:19-20 (ESV)
No matter how hard one tries, they are not able to “serve the Lord” in their own power. Joshua reminds the children of Israel of this fact in his closing message to them. Back in v. 16 the congregation shouts out the words, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord and serve other gods;” to which the leader responds, “Uou are not able to serve the Lord” (v. 19). The Scriptures show us that Joshua’s words ring true and the people fall into the cycle of apostasy in the period of the Judges. It is interesting to note how the people are able to recite all that Yahweh had done for them (vv. 17-18), and still owe sight of what it means to serve Him in obedience, allowing themselves to be lured into the trappings of false gods. How many men and women, believers in Christ, have parroted the words “Far be it from us…” only to find themselves eventually serving the false gods of this world? Without the continually abiding of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and a willingness to be led by that same Spirit, we can end up no better than the children of Israel, reflecting back on what God has done, but ignoring what He desires to continue to do in our lives.
The truth of the matter is, “You are not able to serve the Lord;” not in your own power. But seek the in working power of the Holy Spirit, and then you will be given the power to do in him what you cannot do on your own.