If your feel discouraged or afraid, so did Joshua.
Joshua had a very tough task. He was the apprentice of Moses. But Moses has just died and now Joshua has to lead the Israelites into the promise land. Joshua’s mission is scary for several reasons. First, he is leading a group of people who have not shown a lot of courage and commitment up to this point. Second, they are going to have to fight a lot of scary/tough guys. Third, he is taking over for MOSES! Talk about big shoes to fill! Can you imagine the comparisons that would take place? You can hear the comments: “Moses would have done it this way" This never would have happened if Moses was here.” I always feel bad for head coaches who have to replace a legend. They are practically set up for failure because the expectations they have to meet are impossible.
So again, imagine being Joshua…he had to be extremely anxious and scared. We know this to be true because God has to repeatedly remind him to be courageous. In Joshua 1:9 God says: “I command you—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” God gives a command: be strong…then he gives a promise: I will be with you! Earlier in the chapter God tells Joshua that no one will be able to stop him. No one will be able to stand their ground against him. He’s telling Joshua, don’t worry about the challenges…I’ve got your back. And this is a word of encouragement for us because the Lord is our source of courage and strength.
In Isaiah 41, God gives us these words: “Do not fear, for I am with you, do not be afraid, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand.” What great promises we’re given: I’m with you, I am your God, I will give you strength. The problem with discouragement and fear is that they have the power to paralyze us. They can keep us from growing…they can keep us from living…they can keep us from taking steps of faith. Oftentimes we look at our circumstances and feel that there are too many obstacles and too many enemies. In these moments, we must not be shortsighted. We have to see beyond the circumstances, and fix our eyes on God…who is always bigger than the obstacles and enemies that confront us.