Week 13: Fear
After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses' assistant, 2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. 5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:1-9
Did you know that the most commanded commandment in all the scriptures is to “not be afraid.” In fact, if you add them all together there is at least one for every day of the year. Apparently God wants us to know DAILY that we should not be afraid. Maybe it’s because the opposite of faith is not doubt, the opposite of faith is fear and without faith it’s impossible to please God.
So if you have doubts and unanswered questions, then I’ve got some really good news for you. You could make a really good disciple. In fact, we’ll talk about this more, your doubts, in an upcoming devo. But the problem with fear is that it paralyzes. Faith produces action. Fear is putting your trust in your temporary circumstances, while Faith is putting your trust in the Eternal and Sovereign King of the Universe.
In the passage that we read, God tells Joshua to not be frightened, but Joshua has a lot to be afraid of. He’s a brand new leader of a group of people that historically have not been very good followers. The one man that he could really lean on, Moses, he’s gone. Not to mention that God is calling Joshua to move into a land that he knows is inhabited with giants that are going to put up a fierce fight. And so God tells Joshua three times to be strong and courageous, strong and courageous, strong and courageous.
Why? Why three times? Because Joshua is weak and afraid, weak and afraid, weak and afraid. And in verse nine, God finally tells Joshua why to not to be afraid and why he can be strong and courageous. See…God never promises Joshua to ease his scary circumstances. No…in fact God offers something much better. He offers the promise of His presence. The only cure for fear in an ever changing world is the never changing presence of the Almighty God.
Today maybe you find yourself in a pretty fearful situation. Maybe it’s your health or your finances or marriage or your children or maybe your spiritual condition. Or maybe, it’s something that you just can’t quite put your finger on. That you know that you live in a constant state of fearfulness and you’re wondering “Well, what do I do?” You receive the promise of God. That if you are in Christ, then Jesus promises that He will never leave you and never forsake you.
And this day, trade in your fear for faith. Trust, that God’s presence in your life is greater than any other circumstances. And I pray…I pray that God gives you the gift of faith to trust him over your situation. And I promise that when you trust The Father, through His son Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit in tough situations…then you will surely deepen your relationship with Him.