Those who belong to God have no reason to walk in fear or discouragement. His promises and presence help us overcome our natural tendencies to be fearful and discouraged. Walking with him sets us free from fear. My reading in Joshua recently emphasized that point.
Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:8-9)
I find it interesting that God repeatedly told Joshua to be strong and courageous, but that wasn’t all. He also repeatedly told him he would be with him. That is where our source of courage comes from—from walking with him. When we go out on our own without his leading, we will end up walking in fear. His presence and his Word are the remedy for fear and discouragement. Discouragement is strongly related to fear. When we are afraid we can’t do something we become discouraged. When we are afraid of failure, or afraid of looking foolish, we get discouraged.
In this passage, God is surely asking Joshua and the Israelites to do something that would seem foolish in the eyes of the world. The task alone would make most discouraged, but rather than standing still in fear they chose to move forward in the promises of God. Rather than cowering and longing for the comforts of Egypt, they chose to follow God’s leading and believe his promises. The generation before them had failed this same test. They looked at things from a human perspective and failed to enter the Promised Land. Finally their children made the better choice to walk by faith, and they were able to take the land. They even walked into it on dry land as the waters of the Jordan parted for them.
When we choose to trust God, rather than looking at circumstances, he makes a way when there seems to be no way. It involves a choice on our part to walk by faith, to believe his Word, and to stay in his presence. When we do these things, fear will not be able to overtake us.
Lord, it is so easy to live by fear rather than faith. In fact, I would say fear is our natural human tendency, while faith is a choice to reject our natural inclinations. Faith is not the easy road, but it is the better road. When we decide to walk by faith, you always make a way. I am so grateful to be your child, because otherwise I would be paralyzed by fear on a regular basis. Thank you for delivering me from myself. I love you Lord! Amen