Do Not Be Frightened!
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. 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. 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.
If Dwight Eisenhower stood in Joshua’s shoes, he would have much reason to be afraid. Cross a body of water that separates you from the enemy’s terrain by…asking men carrying a box of gold to start to walk into it so that it will turn into dry land?? (Josh. 3:1ff) Attack a walled, fortified city and cause its walls to fall down by…marching around it while playing music and shouting?? (Josh. 6:1ff) I wonder how long it would have taken FDR to show Eisenhower the door if he had proposed similar battle plans for D-Day. No wonder the Bible says Joshua and Israel did these things “by faith” (Heb. 11:30).
Here’s the thing, friends. God has not asked us to perform miracles today like he did back then…but he HAS told us to abide by his Word and not turn from it just as he did with Joshua (Matt. 7:21-27; John 8:31-32; 14:15, 21, 23-24; 15:10, 14; Rom. 6:17-18; Heb. 5:9; 1 John 3:24; 5:2-3). Of themselves, his commandments are not hard (1 John 5:3). It is not inherently hard to submit to immersion for forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38), to treat others as you would want to be treated (Matt. 7:12), to continually add to your faith the Christian attributes God would have you to possess (2 Pet. 1:5-11; Eph. 4:20-5:21), to worship in spirit and truth (John 4:24), and to bring the gospel to a lost world (Mark 16:15). However, what often makes them hard for us to accomplish as we should is fear and discouragement, the very things God told Joshua to avoid. Even though what he has told us to do is in itself much easier than marching around a walled city expecting it to fall with a shout, how often do we find it hard to share the gospel because of the fear of persecution? How often do we find it difficult let our light shine in the way in which God wants because of dismay and discouragement (assuming prideful, stubborn, selfishness is not also a factor)?
What we must remember is that the same God who promised to be with Joshua and give him success in his endeavors to obey his will is also with us and has given us that same promise (Matt. 6:25-34; 28:18-20; Heb. 13:5b-6; 1 John 4:4). Not only that, but he has promised us continual forgiveness if we become Christians through penitent baptism (Acts 2:38; 22:16) and then humbly confess and repent of our sins afterwards (1 John 1:7-9; Acts 8:22; 2 Cor. 7:9-11). That means that we have an inheritance in eternal Heaven no matter what happens to us in this life! (1 Pet. 1:3-7) If we make our top priority being faithful citizens of his kingdom and being righteous in his sight (Matt. 6:33), he will supply for us what we truly need both in this life and in the next! So let’s be strong and courageous…for God is with us as we stand for him!