After Pentecost Devotional - Day 55

'We're sure Yahweh has given us the whole country,' they said. 'The people there shake with fear every time they think of us.''” Joshua 2:24

Fear is a powerful motivator. Politicians have known this for long ages. They have used it to control and manipulate populations. They have used fear of the unknown, of strangers, of imagined dangers of some kind or another. On the other hand of the equation, we find Caleb offering a perspective of faith: confidence in Yahweh's provision in the face of uncertainty.

It would have been much easier for the people to remain trapped in their fears over the unknown. After all, that is what had occasioned the generation of wandering in what we call the wilderness. It was the known quantity. They had experienced Yahweh's provision in that period of wandering, but Joshua wanted to take them into a new experience, one which would require Yahweh's provision to work in a different manner.

In the meantime, the peoples of Palestine had heard the stories of Yahweh's provision. They knew about the flight from Egypt. They knew about Yahweh's victories over Sihon and Og. The people of Jericho were afraid. The Hebrews had been acting according to fear. Caleb's words presented an alternative for the people. Instead of allowing fear to guide their lives, they could trust Yahweh sufficiently for a new path forward.

Fear, after all, is all too normative a determinant for our actions. We give in to fear all too quickly and easily. The rewards of life God has for us, however, are not the product of fear. Instead, they are the products of faith. They come about through trusting God for the path forward. While faith promises a future secure in Yahweh, fear calls us to thwart that future by failing to trust. More often than not, our fears are unfounded, while the promise and hope of faith are much more trustworthy.

In this passage, the people were able to shed their fears mainly because they accepted that the people of the land were afraid of Yahweh. Interestingly enough, the fear of others ultimately engendered faith among the Hebrews. Trust in Yahweh should have superseded the influence of fear, but often as not we are more driven by fear than faith, even when that fear is not our own.

Sure, there was a practical military application to the question of fear. Most deaths on the battlefield were the result of an army running away and being struck down from behind. Fear meant defeat in very practical terms. The same is true in regard to the victories of faith. We are called to live in confidence rather than fear. It is in confidence that we can offer love to our enemies, forgiveness to those who offend us, and grace to those who make us uncomfortable.

When we succumb to following our fears, we miss out on what God has in store for us. We refuse to march into a future based on trust in God's sufficiency. Often as not, we defeat ourselves by our unwillingness to trust God for the victory that lies ahead. We allow voices contrary to God's to steer our lives.

Determine to trust God amid your doubts and fears for the road ahead.

"Lord, grant me the strength to trust you amid adversity and voices hawking fear over trust in your sufficiency."

©Copyright 2016, Christopher B. Harbin 
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