Joshua: Overcoming Fear

The Epic Story of God continues as a new leader is chosen and prepared to lead God’s people into their new land. That promised land will be a difficult challenge for conquest. God will fight their battles, yet they must participate with bold courage, facing their fears.

Like Joshua we have been prepared to face our fears, and overcome them by the power of God’s strength and good news.

EPIC Joshua

Message title: Joshua: Overcoming Fear
Week 9 of EPIC series (following the Hero of God’s Story)
Scripture: Joshua 1:1-11; Exodus 33:11; Numbers 13:16; Exodus 24:12-14; Numbers 27:15-20; Joshua 1:12-18; Joshua 24:14-18
Preacher: Jeff Patterson
Date: 3/9/14

Listen or download:

Scriptures & outline: 

Joshua 1:1-11

1 After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun shall be your territory. No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 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.”

10 And Joshua commanded the officers of the people, 11 “Pass through the midst of the camp and command the people, ‘Prepare your provisions, for within three days you are to pass over this Jordan to go in to take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving you to possess.’”

Joshua stayed close to Moses.

Exodus 33:11

Thus the Lord used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend. When Moses turned again into the camp, his assistant Joshua the son of Nun, a young man, would not depart from the tent.

Joshua was a faithful follower of God, and looked to his leader Moses to imitate and emulate his life of faith. As the assistant and protege of Moses, Joshua trusted his mentor to pour into his life and speak into his future.

To that end, Moses provided some key opportunities to Joshua:

1) Moses renames Joshua.

A new name signals a new identity. Hoshea (“salvation”) becomes Joshua (“The Lord saves”), signifying this man cannot do it on his own. Told from his youth that he is the man, Joshua is learning that God is his strength. God alone is truly courageous.

Numbers 13:16

These were the names of the men whom Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua

2) Moses provides opportunities for Joshua to meet with God.

Notice how Joshua gets to join Moses on the mountain to meet with God. Godly leaders care about the spiritual development of emerging leaders.

Exodus 24:12-14

12 The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.” 13 So Moses rose with his assistantJoshua, and Moses went up into the mountain of God. 14 And he said to the elders, “Wait here for us until we return to you. And behold, Aaron and Hur are with you. Whoever has a dispute, let him go to them.”

3) Moses invested in Joshua publicly.

Moses knew he wouldn’t be Israel’s leader forever. So he prayed to God for a new leader to be called and prepared. God answers that prayer, confirming what was clear already: Joshua has the character and spirit to lead with strength and courage.

Numbers 27:15-20

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.

The people recognize God’s call on their new leader, and recognize it will take strength and courage on their part too.

Joshua 1:12-18

12 And to the Reubenites, the Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh Joshua said, 13 “Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.’ 14 Your wives, your little ones, and your livestock shall remain in the land that Moses gave you beyond the Jordan, but all the men of valor among you shall pass over armed before your brothers and shall help them, 15 until the Lordgives rest to your brothers as he has to you, and they also take possession of the land that the Lord your God is giving them. Then you shall return to the land of your possession and shall possess it, the land that Moses the servant of theLord gave you beyond the Jordan toward the sunrise.”

16 And they answered Joshua, “All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go. 17 Just as we obeyed Moses in all things, so we will obey you. Only may the Lord your God be with you, as he was with Moses!18 Whoever rebels against your commandment and disobeys your words, whatever you command him, shall be put to death. Only be strong and courageous.”

4) Meeting with God. Each of us.

Even with a wise mentor, we must know that person will ultimately fail us. We need a face-to-face encounter with the Living God. In order to become strong and courageous, He must affirm you. This involves facing our fears, for each of our fears is related to something we love. Good things, which become ultimately things in our lives, are really idols of our hearts. These little gods woo us with promises they cannot fulfill. They offer life but lead to life; offering hope but lead to despair; promises to free us but in the end enslave us. We must flee false gods, uproot all idols, and overcome our fears by trusting and obeying God.

Joshua, whose name means “The Lord saves,” reminds us of the true and better Joshua — Jesus who has come to rescue us from the idols that steal our hearts, giving us hope to overcome fear.

Joshua 24:14-18

14 “Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

16 Then the people answered, “Far be it from us that we should forsake the Lord to serve other gods, 17 for it is the Lordour God who brought us and our fathers up from the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, and who did those great signs in our sight and preserved us in all the way that we went, and among all the peoples through whom we passed.18 And the Lord drove out before us all the peoples, the Amorites who lived in the land. Therefore we also will serve theLord, for he is our God.”

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