“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 NASB
Fear is the opposite of faith
Joshua stood on the banks of the Jordan River viewing the fortified city of Jericho. He had just lost his mentor, Moses. Forty years before he witnessed the other ten spies who refused to enter the Promised Land because they were afraid. He and Caleb were the only ones to urge the people to take the land promised to them. I imagine he stared at the multitude of people waiting for his signal to move forward and wondered, Will they lose courage too? Yet the God who led them out of Egypt and through the forty-year consequence of their lack of faith now assures him: “I will be with you. Do not fear or be dismayed, believe Me.”
God is unchangeable
One of God’s attributes is His immutability. He never changes. He is the same yesterday, tomorrow and in the future. So, should His words to Joshua mean anything to us? The giants of Covid-19, riots, loneliness, loss of income, isolation, and anarchy challenge us. Can God deliver us? One thing God warned Joshua was His promises were conditional upon obedience. Do you think some of the Goliaths of our culture are too strong for Him? Or, do you believe He is omnipotent, sovereign, and powerful enough to raise Jesus from the dead if we honor Him with our obedience? Or, has our refusal to honor Him and obey Him rendered us defenseless?
Courage in the face of the unknown
God urged Joshua to be strong and courageous. The Hebrew words mean to bind, to hold fast in the face of a challenge. We face challenges in our nation, but nothing like the early settlers who left homes, families, fortune, and fear behind and forged ahead across this magnificent land. What about those of the greatest generation that answered their country’s call and fought against the giants of their time—despots, tyrants, genocidal zealots, and philosophies that ripped nations apart and took away freedom? We have never been a nation of fear, but I see fear’s insidious march upon our nation, particularly upon our youth, trampling faith and producing national impotence.
The antidote to dismay and the fear that beats us down, demoralizes us, and incites terror is faith. Odds against Joshua and the Israelites seemed insurmountable—strong fortified cities, better weaponry, and larger numbers, but because Joshua believed God and led the people, God performed miracles.
Fear Crushes our Spirit
Instead of feeling panic whenever we hear the latest statistics on COVID, or the destruction and disregard for lives and property we witness daily, we must take a stand and retake the land. Jericho, the first city Joshua met after crossing the Jordan, fell because all the people obeyed God. Think what could happen if we turned to Him rather than allow the latest expert dispenser of scary news crush us.
As for me and my house
Whenever I feel fear creeping into my heart, I pledge to extinguish its flames with faith. Joshua told his people, “As for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” I will continue to take precautions against this unknown virus, but I refuse to let it destroy my confidence or my Constitutional freedoms. When I hear those who speak against our nation or tell lies to further their ideology, I will speak up. The God I serve is bigger than all my fears. He has overcome the world system. Christian, believe it!
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