Don’t be afraid. I am here. – God
Fear is an ever-present fact of modern life. Terrorist bombings, slavery, war, the threat of starvation, and exploitation of the weak by the powerful. All painful realities. Even when you’re not in the midst of a war zone, a drunk driver or an out-of-control accident on the interstate is possible. The knowledge that you could leave home this morning and not return tonight is no exaggeration.
What’s interesting is that God told Joshua, “Be strong and courageous” nearly 3,400 years ago. This leader of Israel was about to take his nation into the Promised Land. Moses, the pioneer who helped free fellow Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, had died. Any leader knows that the worst position is replacing a fallen hero who people admire more after he or she is gone than while they were alive.
What’s more, Joshua was about to face enemies trying to prevent Israel from occupying the land God had promised them. How would you feel about leading people who grumbled constantly? About taking on hostile armies in hand-to-hand combat with swords, knives, rocks, and clubs? About knowing that the future of your people depended largely on your decisions? Can you feel the weight of leadership pressing down?
A closer understanding of the past will help you appreciate the challenges of the present. It is easy to look back and shrug off the struggles of those who lived centuries ago. But at that time they had no idea of the outcome. Like Joshua, they needed reminders of God’s presence. So do you. The hazards you face in a technological age are just as daunting and fear-inducing as those of long ago.
No matter what situation you are facing, it helps to meditate on God’s instructions. Throughout the Bible, in various places and situations, God tells people facing tough circumstances: “Fear not. I am with you. I will help you wherever you go.” This is the promise that remains in effect today. When you have God by your side, you need not fear anything or anyone. He is speaking to you when he says “Don’t be afraid. I am here.”
A Challenge For You…
Read Isaiah 41:10-13. Considering that nearly 900 years had passed after God spoke to Joshua, how do you feel about the words this prophet wrote? What reasons does Isaiah have for courage? What are you facing that gnaws at your nerves? How can you find courage from the passages in Joshua and Isaiah?
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