Strong and Courageous | Day Nine
By: Kate Downing
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Have you ever broken a bone? When I was in high school, I broke my ankle playing soccer. It’s been years since my injury, yet there are times when I get nervous that my ankle will give out if I step on it wrong or turn too quickly. If you’re in the broken bone club, you might experience your own fears about the pain returning. We are all prone to be fearful that past physical or emotional pain will return.
As we continue to study through the book of Joshua and look at what it means to be strong and courageous, we are going to learn what it means to conquer the fear of past defeat. The truth is: the place of greatest fear in our lives is often the place where we have experienced the greatest defeat in the past. We cannot be strong and courageous if we live in the fear of past pain.
Spend the next three minutes praying over these things:
· Thank God for helping you identify unconfessed sin in your life yesterday.
· Thank Him for the opportunity to study His Word today.
· Ask Him to help you conquer the fear of past defeat.
Review Joshua chapter seven and summarize what went down.
What defeat had Joshua and the people of Israel faced in chapter seven?
This was the very first time since they entered into the Promised Land that the people of Israel had experienced defeat. Yes, it was because of the sin that was in their camp, but it was a physical defeat non-the-less. The people lost not only the battle, but also lost the lives of some of their sons, brothers, and fathers. This was a serious defeat and had to have weighed heavily on them.
Read Joshua 8:1.
This verse begins with a time reference, the word “then” or “now.” This signifies that what God says in this verse came immediately after what happened in chapter seven.
What command did God give Joshua regarding the army?
If you had just lost a battle, would you be eager to pick you sword back up and charge back into the city where your friends were killed? I wouldn’t be.
What did God command Joshua not to do in verse one?
Do you remember another time God gave this command to Joshua? (Here’s a hint: It’s in Joshua 2:9.)
God understood that attempt number two at defeating the city of Ai would be a hard sell for Joshua and the people. God knew that fear would keep them from being strong and courageous, so He did not allow it to remain for long. His two commands were 1) “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged” (Joshua 8:1) and 2) conquer Ai.
What promise did God make in verse one?
Read Joshua 8:18-22 and summarize what happened in these verses.
What promise does God re-affirm to Joshua in verse eighteen?
What word describes the kind of victory God brought the Israelites to the city of Ai?
Nonexistent Partial Satisfactory Total
If Joshua and the people had remained fearful and not obeyed God’s command, what word would have described their victory?
Nonexistent Partial Satisfactory Total
If they had allowed the fear of past defeat to reign in their hearts and minds, the Israelites would have never experienced the total victory God wanted to win for them. The same is true for us!
If we continue to allow the fear of past pain and the discouragement of former defeat to reign in our hearts and minds, we will never get to experience the victory God wants to win for us. Living a life that is strong and courageous means facing the fear of defeat in the power of the Lord. It means trusting that God is able to redeem our past and to gain victory over our fear.
What past pain or defeat do you fear today?
Are you fearful that since a friend hurt you in the past, a new friend will do the same? Are you fearful that because your father was never around, no man in your life can be trustworthy? Are you fearful that the cruel words you’ve heard in the past will be repeated?
Psalm 34:4 says, “I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
Lay these fears down at the feet of Jesus today. Lay down the defeat you have faced in the past. Give it to Jesus and allow Him to redeem and bring victory!
Spend the next few minutes giving your fears over to the Lord, confessing that your past does not have to determine your future. Ask the Lord to help you walk in strength and courage today, free from your fears of the past.
Complete this sentence and write it down in your notes or on your phone: