“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (ESV)
Let these words sink in, as a matter of fact let’s read them again: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
This is God speaking to Joshua just after he assumed the leadership responsibility of Israel. Here is some context to Joshua’s situation. His mentor and Israel’s first great leader Moses has just died. The Israelites are also on the verge of entering the Promised Land, but what stands in their way are the people living there.
Think of the potential fear & anxiety Joshua is stepping into. The people he is about to lead may question his leadership, there may be some grumbling about he as leader, and there is obvious fear about conquering the Promised Land. We know Joshua is fearful of his new position and task because three times in the first nine verses we see the words, “be strong and courageous.” But in the midst of fear, anxiety, and not knowing about the future, God gives the comforting words, “Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed (thoroughly disheartened).” How can Joshua not be scared? How can he not be disheartened? He is facing the greatest challenge of his life and God says, don’t be afraid…? What are Joshua’s grounds for not being afraid? We find it in the last part of our verse: “for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” The reason Joshua doesn’t have to fear is because God is with him. Joshua may look at his challenges as monumental, but he is serving a God who can move mountains! Joshua may not know how best to lead, but he is trusting in an inexhaustible God! Joshua may not know what the future holds, but he is walking with a God who is not caught off guard by anything he will face!
As you read this, there may be coming to mind a situation you’re facing, about to face, or something that has your worried, scared, or possibly dismayed. Whatever it is that you’re facing, pray and ask God for strength and courage… Give your situation over to God because it is only when you trust in Him to lead and guide you through what you face that verse nine is true for you.
Discussion: Parents, ask your kids about something they’re afraid of; pray with them, having them give their situation over to The Lord. As they do this, do the same also; let them see that you are often scared of certain things, but model for and encourage them to live in light of Joshua 1:9.