Have you ever been so scared about something that it made you physically sick just thinking about it? I used to be so scared of public speaking that I would get sick, literally. One day I had to do an oral report in high school that scared me so much I stayed home from school. In fact, I never would do one. I would rather take the F. That may be shocking to you coming from a preacher. God works in mysterious ways. Looking back to how scared I got, never in my worst nightmares would I stand before 100 or so people and speak publicly. God has a sense of humor, doesn’t He?
In my office there is a picture of John Wayne that states, “Courage is being Scared to Death but Saddling Up Anyway.” My first time preaching a lesson for my Homiletics class in Chapel at Bear Valley, I was scared to death. With men in the audience such as Denny Petrillo, Michael Hite, Wayne Burger, Bill Stewart, Bob Turner (my Hom I instructor), who have preached for many many years and were wonderful speakers, I was basically shaking in my boots! But I thought of that John Wayne quote and saddled up anyway. I did not die, but my grade made me feel like dying. It was terrible. Fear can paralyze you.
In Joshua 1, Joshua was commissioned by God to go out and conquer Jericho and fill to lead God’s people into the Promised Land. He must have been scared because God tells him a few times to be strong and of good courage (Vv. 6,7 & 9). God makes three promises to Joshua:
PROMISE #1 – Joshua was going to inherit the Promise Land like Moses (Verse 3 & 4)
PROMISE #2 -No man shall stand before him all the days of his life (Verse 5)
PROMISE #3 - God states, “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you?” (end of verse 5).
With these promises of God, Joshua could be strong and of good courage. God’s power and presence was with Him. What about us? I still get nervous every time I speak. However, I know God is there and He gives me strength and courage. God is with you too. We all have His power through the Spirit. His Word guides us as we apply it in our lives. Like Joshua, we too can be strong, confident and courageous knowing the Lord is always with us and He never will let us down. That is so reassuring isn’t it?