In the book of Joshua, Moses is dead and God tells Joshua to prepare to enter the promise land. God tells Joshua 3 times in the first 9 verses of Joshua Chapter 1 to be of “good courage”. Each of the three verses coincides with a reminder from the Lord later on in the book of what is needed to help his people “be of good courage” to face their fears.
What the Israelites did to prepare their hearts for belief is an example we can follow to prepare our own hearts to believe and conquer fear.
“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. “ Joshua 1:6
1. Remember God’s promises. God swore to their fathers to give them the land. Anytime God makes a promise, we can expect Him to deliver on that promise. We do not need to be afraid. God will do what He said He will do. Before Joshua led the Israelites to Jericho, he reminded them of God’s promise. “The Lord your God is giving you rest and is giving you this land.”(Joshua 1:13) We too must remember and remind ourselves of what God says when we are afraid.
“ 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 form it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” Joshua 1:7
2. Obey God. Living pure and holy lives helps us overcome fear and walk in boldness. In Joshua 3:5, Joshua exhorts the Israelites the day before the Lord opened the waters for them to cross over the River Jordan. Joshua said, “Sanctify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.” When we are living in the truth of God’s Word, we can have confidence to do what God has called us to do and believe that the Lord will do wonders!
“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.” Joshua 1: 9
3. Remember God is with you. Throughout Joshua 3 and 4 there is an emphasis on the Ark of the Covenant being with His people and going before them as they crossed over the River Jordan on dry land. The Ark is mentioned in in Joshua 3:3,6,8,11,13,14,15 and Joshua 4: 5,6,7,9,10,11,16,18. Of course, the Ark of the Covenant is symbolic of the Lord being with them.
When facing difficult circumstances or overcoming fears, it is important to remember our God is with us and goes before us (Psalm 139:5). We must keep our eyes on Him. They had a physical symbol of the Ark. We don’t have an Ark, but we have something better, the living Word of God.
4. Watch your words. The last truth I want to point out from the book of Joshua is that God had the Israelites remain silent until they shouted for the walls of Jericho to come down. “You shall not shout or make any noise with your voice, nor shall a word proceed out of your mouth until the day I say to you, “Shout!” (Joshua 6: 10)
What we say and don’t say will help us overcome our fears. Words of unbelief and doubt reap actions of unbelief and doubt. Words of belief and faith, reap actions of belief and faith. Yesterday, we saw how David spoke words of faith to the giant and how it built his confidence and courage. Words of doubt feed fear. Words of faith feed courage.
Again, like David, we can see the train of thought--belief-faith-courage-action-success, in the example of Joshua. He believed God’s promise, He had faith and encouraged himself and others in that faith through God’s Word, He took action on what God said to do, and the walls of Jericho came tumbling down in the end. Any giant or wall of fear cannot stand against our God and the truth of His Word!