BEING FEARLESS IS NOT AN OPTION, IT IS A COMMAND

BEING FEARLESS IS NOT AN OPTION, IT IS A COMMAND

The one thing I like most about getting back in camp and bunking in with my mates for a week every year, is the chance we get to reminisce; because you see, soldiering takes on a very different perspective when you are older.

When we were young, officers were like ‘gods’. They barked orders and we followed them without question, without so much as thinking to utter a word in retort, even if we felt that something was wrong. But when we are older, when we have already established ourselves outside of the Army, we question, we challenge, and we even adapt and adjust orders to best suit the needs of the situation.

But soldiering is soldiering, and there’s only so much we men can do when orders are given. Right or not, orders must be followed, even if they are beyond comprehension. And though we sometimes do question orders; follow, we must, so follow we do.

Now, that got me thinking; are there any orders from God that we find difficult to follow? Are there commands He barks that we cannot execute?

Well, if we are honest, we all have those few things which we find difficult to keep. Even though God never told us to live perfect lives, the guide that He gives – The Ten Commandments – is already a very good starting point from which we can begin to see just how difficult it is to keep God’s commands if we relied solely on our own strengths and abilities.

But you know what, the command that I find most difficult to keep is not so much the ones governing lust, greed or murder, but this one.

“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

Have you ever realized that being fearless was actually a command? When God said to Joshua,

“Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua 1:6

He wasn’t saying, ‘Hey, don’t be afraid, I’ve got your back.’ Nor was He saying, ‘Hey, it’s alright, there’s nothing to be afraid of; come on out of that hole you were hiding in.’ God was literally saying, ‘Don’t be afraid, and that’s an order.’

But how? Fear is an involuntary response, brought on by changes, both real and perceived, in the immediate environment. It’s not as if we woke up in the morning and decided that we wanted to be afraid. It’s not like we got penned in our organizers; ‘today, 10-12, be afraid’. Of course not. We don’t want to be afraid, but we just can’t help it sometimes, isn’t it?

Well, that’s why I chose to use the soldiering analogy to illustrate the point today; because as soldiers, there are times when you just have to put your fears aside, trust in the judgement of your commanders, and charge on ahead. You need to trust that he who gave you the order has the complete picture, knows more than you do and so, this decision, when taken in the context of complete knowledge, should not be as ridiculous as it sounds in your head.

And this was the very situation Joshua was in when God gave Him this command not to be afraid. You see, at this point in time, this was what God told Joshua.

“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and 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; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.” Joshua 1:2-6

Now, ordinarily, any soldier would just get up and go. But this land was special, for many moons ago, this happened.

“And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the children of Israel; from each tribe of their fathers you shall send a man, every one a leader among them.”
So Moses sent them from the Wilderness of Paran according to the command of the Lord, all of them men who were heads of the children of Israel.” Numbers 13:1-3

And this was their report.

“We went to the land where you sent us. It truly flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit. Nevertheless the people who dwell in the land are strong; the cities are fortified and very large; moreover we saw the descendants of Anak there. The Amalekites dwell in the land of the South; the Hittites, the Jebusites, and the Amorites dwell in the mountains; and the Canaanites dwell by the sea and along the banks of the Jordan.” Numbers 13:27-29

“We are not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we.” Numbers 13:31

“The land through which we have gone as spies is a land that devours its inhabitants, and all the people whom we saw in it are men of great stature. There we saw the giants (the descendants of Anak came from the giants); and we were like grasshoppers in our own sight, and so we were in their sight.” Numbers 13:32-33

And Joshua was one of the number who went and saw for himself just how the land was like. So, even though he had full trust in God’s judgement, Joshua knew that convincing the rest to move would be an uphill task. So we can excuse him for being apprehensive about this instruction.

Yet, the Lord said,

“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

Didn’t leave Joshua with much choice, did He?

But you know what? God didn’t disappoint either. We know well that at Jericho, the first city that they came to, all they needed to do was to walk around it seven times in seven days and the city fell, literally. And that was just the beginning.

And you know, even if we think about it logically, from a human perspective, we can see why we can have no fear in the face of our adversity. Why? Because the Lord, your God, is with you wherever you go.

Think about it, the Lord is with you wherever you go. That means, He sees every problem that you see, He hears every insult you hear, He feels every pain that you feel, He knows every stress that you bear.

When your boss comes screaming at you, the Lord is there with you and He sees the expression on your boss’ face, He hears the words that come out from your boss’ mouth. When your bills come through the mail, the Lord is there with you and He sees the debt which you must pay and He sees the pile that is growing on your table. When your child is sick, the Lord is there with you and He feels the burning forehead on which you lay your hand, and He hears the heartbreaking groans that your child is uttering because of the pain that he is in. So here’s a pop quiz for you.

“Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:29-31

You know, when you see your child in pain, when you see your child in lack, when you see that your child is in need, when you are there with your child and you see your child in trouble, do you stand idly by and do nothing?

So, “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

Yes, your problems are real. Yes, your pain is real. But yes, you can

“…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

No matter what you are going through today, you don’t need to fear the situation, for the Lord, your God is with you wherever you go. So remember, when fear creeps in, you are supposed to be strong and of good courage; and that’s an order.

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