Thursday, January 23, 2014

Doubts, Fears, Insecurities

It is sometimes hard to admit but the honest truth is that we all have doubts, fears and insecurities. They are not always with us but under certain circumstances they will try to bubble up and overwhelm us. They counter everything we know and have experienced. They are whispers in the night, They are a dampening blanket to our passion. They are a drawn curtain that blocks our view. The question is, what will you do about them?

Can you imagine having spent over forty years as Moses' assistant? What an incredible challenge and blessing that would have been. Imagine after such a long time with such a man you were suddenly informed that Yahweh had scheduled his death. Imagine at the same time being informed that Yahweh had named you his successor? Keep in mind all that Moses had done and faced. Keep in mind all the fighting he had done with and for the people.

Israel was not an easy people to govern and lead. It was never going to be easy for Israel but they made it one hundred times harder on themselves. Because of their own stupidity they ended up living 40 years in the desert. Their constant complaining drove Moses crazy and now, on the brink of years of war with many nations, Moses was being removed and an untested leader was being put in his place. I wonder if Joshua had any insecurities, second thoughts, doubts and about his assignment?

There is nothing in Scripture that indicates Joshua had any doubts or fears. There is not a word of complaint from his lips. There is no great calling out to Yahweh but there is one message that came out loud and clear from Yahweh, Moses and the people:

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed. (Joshua 1:9)

Moses told him privately:

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. (Deuteronomy 31:6)

Moses told him publicly:

Be strong and of good courage, for you must go with this people to the land which the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall cause them to inherit it. (Deuteronomy 31:7)

Israel said to him:

Whoever rebels against your command and does not heed your words, in all that you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and of good courage. (Joshua 1:18)

To know that Moses and the people having trust in him would have been affirming for Joshua but not near as much as to hear directly from the LORD:

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)

Was Joshua's confidence to be found in his own ability or the strength of the army? Not at all. It did not matter what his personal insecurities were about his ability because his confidence came from the fact that Yahweh was sending him. "Have I not commanded you?" But he wasn't just being sent. Yahweh promised to go with him, to never leave him. Does that ring any bells at all?

All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

Often our insecurities rise up because of doubts in our own ability but being strong and courageous is not a hard thing to do when you understand the presence of the LORD. Jesus did not just send us out to claim the lost for him, to take on great battles and face incredible danger according to our ability. Jesus promised to come with us, to be with us because it is his fight; it is according to his strength and power, not ours. It is the reason the Apostle Paul was able to say with great confidence that he was able to all thing through Jesus who gave him strength.

Yes, insecurities, fears, doubts will rise up because they always do because we doubt ourselves, but a person of faith never allows them to stop him. He never allows them to become a barrier to the Father's will. In spite of them he presses on with great strength and courage because of two reasons. First, we have been sent. Second, because Jesus is with us. It is not about our ability. Do not be downcast oh my soul but be strong and courageous; do not be afraid or dismayed because the LORD your God is with you wherever you go. Amen!

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