Joshua was a man’s man! Moses’ general, and the leader of the armies of Israel, Joshua led the Israelites to conquer the Promise Land against all odds. After the many battles, Joshua was just as strong and vigorous at age 85 as he was at 40 when they entered the land (Josh 14:11). When I think of Joshua, I think of a man who had no fear. He was self-confident. He could handle anything. So why then, when God gave Joshua the challenge to take on leadership after Moses, did He tell him “be strong and courageous”? Oh, and not just once, but God reminded Joshua three times in this same challenge, “be strong and courageous”! Was it because Joshua feared that he was just not up to the task?
As a man, a husband, a father, and, yes, a grandfather, I feel that I must be the provider and protector of my family; the patriarch. I must be strong for them. Sometimes I even want to fight their battles for them. I don’t want to see them suffer or to fail. I want to protect them from accident, from injury, from sickness or disease. But how can I do this. Of course, I can’t. And, at times, when I realize that I am not up to the task; when I realize that I cannot fight their battles for them; that I cannot be there to “protect” them, it is too easy to worry and fear what might happen that I just cannot prevent. Fear can be crippling. It can rob us of the joys of family and of life.
Joshua also realized that he was inadequate for the job. He could not always defeat the enemy. He could not always protect. He reminded his people, himself, and us, “it was the Lord your God who fought for you.” (Josh 23:3) Joshua also reminded the people, “Every promise (of God) has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” (Josh 23:14) I am sure when Joshua said this that he was remembering in particular the promise which God had made to him in the beginning, “the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Josh 1:9). Just as God made such a promise to Joshua, he makes that same promise to each of us, “and, surely, I will be with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matt 28:20)
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” (2 Tim 1:7)
Fear is a tool that Satan uses to try to defeat us; to defeat the “power, the love, and the sound judgment” which God has given us. I must remember who fights the battles for me. I must remember that God has promised to be with me “to the very end of the age”. And I can rely on His promise because I have seen His faithfulness in the past. When I begin to fear or worry; when I feel weak and inadequate, I can remember what Paul said in 2 Cor 12:10, “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” My strength comes from relying on God’s promises. It is only then that I can conquer my fear.
FEAR NOT this week - lean on God’s promises and rise up as we allow God to fight those battles in our lives that we can not win on our own.
Dwight Suiter / An engineer and student of the Word, Dwight has been a member at the River for 9 years. He and his wife Betty have been married for 48 years. They have 3 children and 10 grandchildren.