Imagine being on a football team. You have fought your way through a tough season and found yourselves at the championship game. The coach brings you all close into the huddle to prepare you to take the field. He reminds you of the accomplishments you made this year; where we’ve come from and how we got here. Then, just as he’s got you pumped and ready to charge the field, the coach asks, “Are you ready to win?!” You respond with a triumphant “Yeah!” Then the coach says, “Well, you can’t…” How do you foresee the rest of that game going? What was the coach thinking?!
This is seemingly what Joshua does in Joshua 24. He has gathered all Israel to himself and, after reminding them of how God got them to where they are, is about to send them into the promised land. He issues the challenge, “Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.” Obviously, the Israelites are eager to finally live in the promised land. Their response is “We too will serve the Lord!”
Then Joshua hits them with it: “You are not able to serve the Lord.” Ouch! How would you feel if someone said those words to you? I for one would be indignant. As were the Israelites, replying emphatically, “No! We will serve the Lord!”
Then Joshua tells them, “Yield your hearts to God.” Joshua says you are not able to serve God alone; not without giving up your very being, everything you are, to the Lord. You cannot serve God without God’s help. This may sound frustrating at first, but I believe this is a tremendous encouragement. We try every day to face the challenges of life alone, but God had no intentions for us to live that way. His intentions are to be your strength and for you to yield your life to him, because he is strong enough to carry you through. If you ever feel like you are struggling to follow and serve God, ask yourself if it is because you are trying to do it yourself.