ABC Bible Character Faith Series

Courage over Fear

Lessons from Joshua written by Katemba Allan Joshua

An old man now, Joshua the son of Nun who had so tirelessly worked for God in leading the Israelites to the land that had been promised to their forefathers, addresses the multitude for the last time. In his address, he asks them “And if it seems evil to you to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.” A choice which every human being who has lived has had to make. “But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD” he declares to them.

Joshua the great leader of Israel as we know him was the man God had entrusted his chosen nation after the death of Moses. He was so faithful to God from the time he was called to serve in the LORD’S presence up until his death. A mighty man when it came to military affairs {Exodus 17:13}, he fought and was able to utterly destroy all those nations that had refused to acknowledge Jehovah as God. He was one of the two good spies that brought back a good report amongst the twelve sent by Moses to survey the land of Canaan. It is through the leadership of Joshua that the walls of Jericho were brought down without a fight. {Joshua 6}

Just in the same way the waters of the Red sea had parted during the times of Moses, the waters of Jordan also gave way for the Israelites to pass through, under the leadership of this same Joshua. A man of so great a faith that “in the day when the LORD delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel: “Sun, stand still over Gibeon; And Moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. So, the sun stood still, And the moon stopped, Till the people had revenge Upon their enemies… So, the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and did not hasten to go down for about a whole day.” – Joshua 10:12-13

One would then ask a series of questions: Where did this man derive all this courage and faith from? How can he be so fearless? Can we also be able to perform as many acts of valor as he did? How can we attain such fearlessness today? Can we also have this same faith as Joshua did? I would like to inform you that naturally, just like all of us, Joshua was a very fearful man. We have many examples in the Bible where Joshua was actually afraid. You would ask, why am I sharing this like this? From Joshua’s fearfulness, we learn a very profound lesson about the nature of the God we serve and how He can enable us to perform great things if we dedicate all our lives to His service.

As he was ending his ministry, God’s servant Moses, who had been Joshua’s trainer in service, knowing the magnitude of the work before him, called Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the LORD has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it.”– Deuteronomy 31:7. This gave the new leader assurance that as God had been with Moses, He was to be with him also. Joshua needed someone to strengthen him in the trying moments he was to go through.

How many times have we been there to strengthen those who are going through trials? A friend who has lost a loved one, or a job, maybe they did not excel as expected in a specific field and we need to stand with them in order to give them the courage to face life’s challenges especially if we have also ever been through similar trials.

Finally, I want to end by looking at how God reacted to Joshua’s discouragements. We have at least five scriptures in the book of Joshua alone where God asks him not to be afraid. What does this show? That in many instances, Joshua had to face new challenges that brought fear to his heart. The good news is that each and every time Joshua was afraid, the LORD was present to assure him of His divine protection and leadership. In Joshua 8:1, “the LORD said to Joshua: “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; take all the people of war with you, and arise, go up to Ai. See, I have given into your hand the king of Ai, his people, his city, and his land.”  When all the five kings decided to invade Israel, “the LORD said to Joshua, “Do not fear them, for I have delivered them into your hand; not a man of them shall stand before you.”

And, at the point when Joshua begins his new ministry, God tells him: “Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. In Joshua 1:6 The LORD goes on further to give Joshua the Secret behind the courage he was to have. “Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” The same assurance comes to us who live today. Christ assures us protection on the same condition of obedience to His love principles as it has always been from the days of Adam. Are we willing to follow these selfless love principles? If yes, “there is no fear in love [obedience]; but perfect love [obedience] casts out fear” – 1 John 4:18. And when we do so, the same words echoed in the ears of Joshua will be ours. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”

God bless you!

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