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October 24, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."—Joshua 1:9 (NASB)
Have you ever watched a nature documentary where they show a lion stalking a gazelle? Somehow, the gazelle seems to sense that it’s being stalked and suddenly freezes in place. When the camera zooms in on the prey, you can see its eyes darting frantically, but the rest of it is perfectly still. It’s basically paralyzed with fear. Sometimes this works, but sometimes it leads to a mauling.
Let me ask you . . . have you ever found yourself so afraid that you simply couldn’t move? For many, this has tragically happened in a physical way when confronted with mortal danger or horrifying evil. But being frozen in fear can also happen to us emotionally and spiritually.
In Joshua 1, we encounter a situation that could have frozen even the bravest and most powerful of people in fear. Joshua was appointed by the Lord to be Moses’ successor. He was called to rise to the occasion and lead God’s people into the land of promise and an age of blessing and obedience. He was expected to be the shepherd to guide his people and the example they were to follow.
The call on Joshua’s life was huge. Maybe the same can be said of you. Maybe God’s calling you to lead a ministry, go into a foreign country, start a Bible study in your office, lead your family by godly example, be a light in your school, or share the gospel with your neighbor. And maybe, just maybe, this calling is gripping you with fear. Maybe it’s paralyzing you. Maybe you don’t feel equipped or like you can handle it. I want to encourage you, my friends, by saying that if the Lord has appointed you for a calling in His great work, then He has also anointed you. If He has called you to arise, know that He is going before you and that He will never leave or forsake you. Know that just as He was with Moses and Joshua, so He will be with you.
Be confident in this, we don’t have to give fear a foothold and we don’t have to be frozen! We can conquer fear and rise up in the name of Jesus, knowing we won’t be devoured and that our God is bigger than anything we’ll ever face. We can, as God told Joshua three times (this is something significant to note) in the first nine verses of this powerful book, "be strong and courageous,” knowing that “the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
DIG: Can you recall a time where you have been frozen with fear? What was it about that situation or season that paralyzed you?
DISCOVER: Why does the Lord tell Joshua three times to be strong and very courageous?
DO: Is there something you are experiencing right now, a calling or circumstance, that is causing you to experience a crippling fear? Pray to the Lord and ask in faith for His courage and strength.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.