Let Faith be bigger than your fear
February 17, 2019 Speaker: Ted Detiveaux Series: Joshua-Strong, Courageous, Faith
Topic: Faith Scripture: Numbers 27:15– :20
Let Faith Be Bigger Than Your Fear
> Who was Joshua?
Many of us know Joshua to be Moses’ successor. He was chosen by God to lead His people into the promised land. Up to this point, Moses had been the leader, appointed by God, to bring the Israelites out of Egypt.
Moses had incredible faith. Just to recap a little, Moses had gone to Pharaoh and demanded that he let God’s people go. The Hebrews at that time were slaves to the Egyptians forced to difficult working conditions under the supervision of brutal task masters. But God had heard their cries and sent Moses to rescue them from the Egyptians.
But Pharaoh had hardened his heart and refused to let them go. It wasn’t until the tenth plague that God sends upon the land of Egypt that Pharaoh finally consented. This final plague was death to all the firstborn sons of Egypt.
If blood was not found on top of the door then the angel of death would enter that house and kill the first-born son. And so, it happened. There was a tumultuous cry that was heard in the middle of the night from Egyptian families that had just lost family members.
Joshua would have remembered this night very well and would have been extremely grateful to still be alive as he was the firstborn son of a man named “Nun” (from the tribe of Ephraim).
As a reminder, Ephraim was the younger of the two sons of Joseph. It was Ephraim that received the blessing that his offspring would become a multitude of nations.
Thankfully his parents were Israelites who feared God and were obedient in applying the blood over the door as instructed by Moses. So far in Joshua’s lineage we can already see blessings and obedience, as a result, Joshua’s life is spared.
Just a side note to the parents in the room, if we want to see our children reach their full potential for God, then it begins with blessings and obedience. Speak life into your children and walk in obedience to what God has called you to do, then your children will follow your example.
* What qualified Joshua to lead God’s people?
In Numbers 11:28 we learn that Joshua was Moses assistant from his youth. His position and authority did not come overnight, it was a long process that started at an early age as he found himself serving and learning from the man Moses.
To start off we must understand what disqualified Moses from leading the Israelites all the way into the promise land. He was God’s man who started the journey with the Israelites departure from Egypt to the promise land, however he was not allowed to finish the journey because his disobedience in the wilderness of Zin.
The people were complaining they were thirsty, so God tells Moses to speak to the rock and that water would come forth, instead Moses strikes the rock out of anger. Even though water flowed, Moses would not be allowed to enter the promised land. He would see it, but his foot would not step on it as a consequence for his disobedience.
So, after God tells Moses that he would die and not enter the promise land, Moses asked God to appoint a man to lead the congregation of Israel.
15 Moses spoke to the Lord, saying, 16 “Let the Lord, the God of the spirits of all flesh, appoint a man over the congregation 17 who shall go out before them and come in before them, who shall lead them out and bring them in, that the congregation of the Lord may not be as sheep that have no shepherd.” 18 So the Lord said to Moses, “Take Joshua the son of Nun, a man in whom is the Spirit, and lay your hand on him. 19 Make him stand before Eleazar the priest and all the congregation, and you shall commission him in their sight. 20 You shall invest him with some of your authority, that all the congregation of the people of Israel may obey.
God qualified Joshua to lead His people. God had called him by name. Because God had called him, Joshua was qualified. Sometimes I don’t feel qualified to pastor, but I Pastor because I know that I am called by God to do so.
If God calls you to something, then know that you are qualified. You’re not qualified by your ability or how much knowledge you have, or how much money you have, but by your dependence upon and faithfulness to Him.
When you realize that you need Him to accomplish the task at hand and that you cannot do it on your own strength then you are qualified for the task, because only through that mentality is God most glorified.
He does not call the qualified, but He qualifies the called.
He will make you better at your calling as time goes on, when you say yes to His will.
Another reason why God qualified Joshua was because he was “a man in whom is the Spirit.”
It translates “the divine power of God” meaning it was The Spirt of God that was in Joshua.
Besides being called, Joshua is qualified to lead because He is led by the spirit of God.
By the time that Joshua assumed the position as Israel’s leader, he had proven himself to be a strong and courageous leader.
1. He had proven himself as a valiant warrior- When the Amalekites attacked Israel it was Joshua who rounded up some troops together from the men of Israel and defeated Amalek and his people with the sword, while Aaron and Hur upheld the arms of Moses. Joshua learned a valuable lesson that day, if they simply obey God, then they would be victorious over their enemies.
2. He had proven himself a faithful assistant to Moses- In Exodus 24, Joshua alone was allowed to go up the mountain with Moses to receive the law of God. Aaron and Hur were to stay back.
Two things were established in Joshua’s heart:
* The Lord God of Israel was the on true God
* Moses was God’s appointed leader of Israel.
Joshua was willing and content to serve the man of God.
3. He had proven his commitment to the things of God- When twelve spies were sent out to spy out the land of Canaan, only Caleb and Joshua come back with a positive report, the other ten only brought doom and gloom and despair.
It was Joshua who rose to the occasion to quiet the crowd and declared to them:
7“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
Only a person who is filled with the spirit of God would declare such a thing when faced with the level of opposition that the Israelites were faced with on that day.
It was on that day, Joshua had proven himself to be a leader fit for the job.
Around this time Joshua undergoes a name change. Originally his name was Hoshea which meant “salvation”, but his new name Joshua meant “the Lord is Salvation.” This demonstrates that the Lord would lead them into Canaan and fight their battles.
All these experiences were designed by God to prepare Joshua for his future leadership role.
* What challenges did Joshua face as the new leader of Israel?
First, we must talk about the shoes that he had to fill. He was to take the place of Moses.
10 And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, 11 none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land,12 and for all the mighty power and all the great deeds of terror that Moses did in the sight of all Israel.
I would imagine one of his first challenges was believing he was the right one for the job. Regardless of his past victories he probably still felt inadequate for the job as God’s servants often do. This feeling of inadequacy would have escalated when comparing himself to Moses.
Another internal challenge Joshua would have to overcome was fear.
7 Then Moses summoned Joshua and said to him in the sight of all Israel, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall go with this people into the land that the Lord has sworn to their fathers to give them, and you shall put them in possession of it. 8 It is
the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Twice Moses tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and not to be fearful or dismayed. Dismayed- to be broken down with fear, to be confounded. It is to be paralyzed by fear, not moving forward due to fear.
Then the Lord tells Joshua the same thing
23 And the Lord commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you.”
Then after the death of Moses, the Lord tells Joshua three times to be strong and courageous and not to be frightened or dismayed.
Could it be that Joshua, the man who was bold and courageous when he brought a good report about the land of Canaan, was now bound by fear?
Too often we can look at the heroes of faith and forget their humanness and overlook their weaknesses. Joshua obviously dealt with fear. This fear would have crippled him from moving forward. Therefore, the Lord and Moses encourages him many times to be strong and courageous and not to be dismayed with fear.
We like to tell of Joshua’s victories, but those victories would not have taken place if he had remained paralyzed by fear.
Before Joshua would drive out Amorites, the Perizzites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Jebusites and the mosquito bites, He would have to overcome his biggest enemy the Fear-of-Sights
Anyone ever heard of the Fear-of-sights? The sights that would have brought fear in him.
Some fear-of-sights that Joshua faced:
* The foreseen burden of bringing a people, who were prone to rebellion, into the promise land. Even as Moses was preparing to die, he warns that they would rebel against God.
* The sight of the Jordan River and crossing that river with over a million people
* The sight of Jericho and its armies and along with other cities and their armies.
* The sight of loneliness as his leader Moses would not be with him.
* The sight of failure looking him in the eye, if Moses failed would he also.
One could see why Joshua would have been fearful. But being fearful did not disqualify him from doing what God had to do. It is how he handled that fear that qualified him to lead God’s people. He did not allow fear to keep him from moving forward. (different than Israelites)
Despite all the fear-of-sights he kept moving forward. In Joshua 1:10 we see Joshua giving his first orders as their new leader. God was with him, and everything that he would set forth to do would prosper.
He didn’t remain paralyzed by fear, but with the encouragement he received from the Lord he was strengthened, his purpose renewed, his faith was stronger than ever. If the Lord was for them then who could be against them.
* What army could stand against the power of the Lord?
* What river could quench the love that God has poured out on his people?
* What rebellion of man would rob God of His righteousness?
* What feeling of loneliness would subdue the omnipresence of God?
* What failure might Joshua experience that would be too much for the love of God to overcome?
* Is there anything impossible for our God?
We too must be strong and courageous whatever our responsibilities or our position in life. Like Joshua we all have human weaknesses fears, anxieties and feelings of inadequacy.
When He calls us to do a job, He’ll also give us the courage to respond.
What is the Lord asking you to do?
* Perhaps it is to make amends with a family member,
* Make things right with a spouse and/or kid
* Forgive someone who has hurt you
* Let go of anger and resentment
* Let go of past hurts and dissapointments
* Overcome an addiction
* Make a big change in your life
* Grow spiritually
* Be a generous giver
* Be faithful on your job
* Tell someone about Jesus
* Go on a mission trip
Whatever He is asking you to do, don’t be crippled by fear, rather be moved by faith! The Lord is with you, He is fighting for you. He has already won the battle for you.
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