Summary: God’s instructions to Joshua were to be Strong & Courageous. Fear and Discouragement are very real forces that we must equip our churches to fight against.
Sometimes you’ve got to work for your promise, even though God has already given it to you.
Take the Israelites for example. They had a whole country promised to them by God, today we call there land Israel, but at the time they called it the Promised Land, because that’s all that it was, a promise.
God said, I have given you the land, but when the spies came back with their report the Giants were still there, the cities were still fortified and the land was possessed by many different people groups who weren’t about to roll over.
Joshua was the new leader of the Israelites. He had just been promoted from Personal Assistant to “the Man”. He was taking over the job from Moses, the uncontested leader of the People of God.
And God spoke to Joshua and said "This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”" (Joshua 1:9, NLT)
Joshua knew what forces were going to be fighting against him. Joshua had been one of the original 12 spies who 39 years earlier had explored the Promised Land.
He had seen the Giants first hand, and I am sure that it was an experience that would be hard to forget. I mean, how would it affect you if you knew that these are the Giants who were living in your future, guarding your future FROM you, ready to fight AGAINST you.
Joshua had seen them with his own eyes, he knew what he was up against. He knew that obeying God was more than just a walk in the park, it was taking on impossible circumstances and trusting that God would give him the victory as he walked in obedience and holiness to God.
Joshua had the faith to see it through. He gave the report that indeed the land was good, and yes it was filled with fortified cities and giants, but he said that God will give us this land.
That generation of Israelites did not subscribe to Joshua and his companion Caleb’s perspective of faith though. They grabbed hold of fear, they imagined the worst possible outcome. In there minds it was an impossible dream. It was a Promise that they would never possess.
You see, fear can rob you of God’s promise for your life. Fear can convince you that you will never ever see the goodness of God, it can convince you that God is a liar, that God cant do what he said he will do.
And Fear is nothing more than confidence in the devil.
Philippians 1:28-30, (NLT) says
"Don’t be intimidated in any way by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself. For you have been given not only the privilege of trusting in Christ but also the privilege of suffering for him. We are in this struggle together. You have seen my struggle in the past, and you know that I am still in the midst of it."
You see, you are going to have to battle in life if you are going to live out the purpose that God made you for. You are going to have to go to war if you want to see your family saved. You are going to have to fight Giants, and you are going to take on the very forces of evil, and fear isn’t going to help you at all.