Fear can be a powerful weapon against faith
At the time of his death, Moses was the greatest leader in the history of Israel. God used him to deliver the Hebrew people from Egyptian captivity (Egypt was the dominant world power at that time). God performed amazing miracles through Moses and gave him the Ten Commandments. Moses was respected and revered by his people.
No one was like him. Then he died so it was time for a new leader.
God replaced Moses with a man named Joshua. Can you imagine the pressure? Have you ever had to follow a beloved leader? How could Joshua ever compare?
Four times God’s word came to Joshua: “Be strong and courageous.”
This was not a neat phrase for a T-shirt or something to be hung on a wall or retweeted. God knew this new role would provide many opportunities for Joshua’s adrenal glands to dump adrenaline into his bloodstream. He knew Joshua would be confronted with fight-or-flight thoughts, and He wanted to embolden Joshua to stand firm in those times and be faithful.
Joshua stood on the eastern bank of the Jordan River. All Israel was behind him, watching. He needed to lead his people across and to the other side. God told him to step in. Once he did, God would part the waters.
I imagine Joshua’s fear. His adrenals were pumping. I’m sure he was thinking, Is this going to work? I’m not Moses.
What if God doesn’t come through? I’m going to look like an idiot in front of the entire nation.
Why me? There has to be another way.
These thoughts were probably bombarding his mind like debris being tossed in a hurricane.
But God gave Joshua the assurance, “Be strong and courageous,” to invoke in these specific scenarios. Crossing the Jordan was part of God’s calling and mission in Joshua’s life. God waited to see if Joshua would trust Him, deny his desire to flee and step into the water. As Joshua obeyed, God supplied (see Joshua 3:15–17).
We don’t have to run just because our adrenals are telling us to. Like Joshua, we can learn to deny our flight impulses, be strong and courageous despite our fear, and succeed in whatever God is leading us to do.