9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go."
Joshua 1:9 (ESV)
For the third time, God repeated His exhortation for Joshua to be strong and courageous, but this time He added the warning, do not be frightened or discouraged.
I don’t know about you, but at this point if I were Joshua, I probably would’ve begun to tremble. God intentionally called Joshua to courage because He knew the road ahead was going to be a bit bumpy. After all, there were giants in the land.
In review, we know that Joshua had to own his faith and trust God, and we’ve seen God’s principle of blessing that follows obedience.
We’ve also learned from Joshua that to obey God’s law we must radically love Him and others, and we must live out His truth daily, letting it transform how we speak and think.
But in verse 9, God addresses the elephant in the room, our human frailty. Even the most seasoned believers who follow faithfully and stick to God’s plan wholeheartedly can become paralyzed by fear and discouragement.
But we have great news – God understands and has empathy for our human frailty. He knows we are prone to all manner of fear and weakness.
God doesn’t leave us to our frailty; He gives us the best antidote for our humanity – His presence!
Joshua grasped the hope and scope of God’s incredible promise, “…for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.”
So how do we fight fear and discouragement?
In 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV) it says, “... casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.”
Practice His presence!
Philippians 4:6,7 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Pray for help!
Finally, in Ephesians 6:11, it says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.”
Prepare for battle!
Athlete, the truth is, in this life there will always be giants in the land, but you have a giant-slayer. So remember that God is always present with you.
Pray continuously for His peace to be your comfort and guard, and put on His armor for protection and power.
A prayer to consider: Lord, help me in my weakness to be aware of and trust in Your presence, and give me the courage to take the baton and run toward the giants!