Gilland: Choosing faith over fear

A name that would be worthy to appear on any list of favorite characters in the Bible would be that of Joshua, son of Nun. In my studies of the Old Testament, I have always found him to be an intriguing individual, one whose life is worthy of emulation.

Joshua was the right-hand man to one of the greatest leaders in history, Moses. Imagine what it must have been like to hang around the guy who led the children of Israel out of bondage to the Egyptians.

Joshua was there by Moses’ side when the glory of God would rest upon the Tabernacle. And Joshua would linger in the presence of God, even after Moses would leave.

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I have often tried to imagine that experience, and how it molded the character and will of this young man who would take over for a legendary leader.

It was Joshua who was to battle the Amalekites while Moses stood on a mountain holding high the stick that God had told him to carry. As Moses’ arms grew tired, Aaron and Hur held up Moses’ arms while Joshua kept fighting to victory.

I’ve written before about Joshua’s great feat with his friend Caleb, as together they spied on the land that God had given to them, a land filled with enemies yet to be conquered. Those two were the only spies out of 12 who had faith to actually do what God had laid out for them. Joshua believed and trusted in God more than what he saw in the formidable enemies that stood as obstacles in his path.

It was also Joshua who would ultimately and successfully lead Israel over to the promised land.

No doubt, Joshua was a great leader, but he was also just a man. In the first chapter of Joshua, the book that we all love in the Old Testament, a recurring phrase becomes clear as the Lord Himself spoke to this disciple of the one who had now passed away.

That phrase was this: “Be strong and courageous.” It appears several times in chapter 1, as God is now making certain to this clearly brave leader what he still needs for the days ahead.

For all of his experience, for all of his past victories, and in light of the many ways that Joshua had seen the delivering power of God over what would be impossible situations, Joshua still needed this level of encouragement—be strong, and courageous.

If Joshua needed it, then we certainly need it too. These are difficult days, and without a doubt, even more difficult days are ahead for us, for the church and for this country.

We would be wise to follow the example of Joshua, and trust more in the Lord than what we see with our earthly vision. Joshua knew what we need today. God is trustworthy and able to see us through.

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