“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
“Most of the time we don’t really have a fear problem; we have a trust problem. When we focus on our fears, we stop focusing on God; we assume a position in the universe that we don’t own. We stop trusting God and start trying to control things we can’t control and manipulate circumstances we can’t manipulate.
“One of the things I hope to convince you of in this book is that the object is not learning to fear less; it’s learning to trust God more. If your goal is to have a fear-free life, you’ll never have a fear-free life. God is not a tool you can use for fear avoidance. Let me say it this way: If you, your fears or even your dreams are at the center of your story, things just aren’t going to work out. But if God is at the center of your story — if, in fact, you can understand that God is writing your story — then you will be well on your way to becoming all that God intends for you to be, living your dreams in a way you could never have imagined.” (Excerpt from “What Keeps You Up At Night?” by Pete Wilson)
So, let me share some background about our scripture text. Joshua had been part of a Jewish elite recon team that went behind enemy lines to provide a detailed demographic and logistical analysis per Moses’ request. Joshua would become Moses’ protege. He displayed courage and had the ability to see and understand the big picture.
Jumping forward, Moses died and the mantle of leadership now rested on the shoulders of Joshua. God reminded Joshua that “every place that the sole of your foot touches, I have given you. No man shall be able to stand before you... As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. Be strong and of good courage. Be strong and very courageous. Do not be afraid, neither be dismayed.” (Joshua 1:3-9)
Years of planning and preparation were paying off. Joshua embracing God’s presence would take Israel on its next journey. The would not come easy and continued trust in God would be paramount.
Some of you reading this are where Joshua was. You are facing change in your life, your leadership role has been elevated and there are some frightening obstacles on your horizon. Fear and anxiety are bouncers that stand at your door of opportunity. And these two things will do their best to dash your dreams. They want to prevent you from achieving what your Heavenly Father has planned for you.
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future.’” (Jeremiah 29:11)
So let me finish by saying: “Be strong and courageous, be not dismayed.”