Joshua Lesson 2

In the Challenges of Life: God will give Us Freedom from Fear

Joshua 1:5-9


  1. This Biblical truth is clearly identified in 2 Timothy 1:7, where we read, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind”.  Simply put, if God has not given us a spirit of fear, then clearly he wants us free from fear.  Yet we see that fear and unbelief (lack of faith) are two major inhibitors of action by God’s own.
  2. There are numerous Biblical examples of how fear inhibited action.
    1. When Moses was selected by God to lead his people from captivity in Egypt, he was paralyzed by fear and offered multiple excuses as to why he was not qualified to do the job. God had to listen to one excuse after another until Moses finally agreed.  Review this passage in Exodus 3 and 4.
    2. When Gideon gathered his army, God told him to send home every fearful soldier. “Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him turn and depart….and twenty two thousand of them departed”.  (Judges 7:3).
    3. Fear comes from the evil one and our decision to hold on to it or throw it off is being watched by a “great cloud of witnesses”. Look at Hebrews 12:1. ….”Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles”. God is saying to each of us in the church today “Throw off the fear.  Throw it off”.
    4. Look in Numbers 13 and 14 when Moses sent out the 12 spies and charged them to spy out the Promised Land. Ten of the twelve came back and expressed fear, unbelief and doubt that they could possess the Promised Land God was giving them.  Look at the report that Joshua and Caleb brought back as described in Numbers 14:1. Ten spies doubted and were fearful. Only two were confident that God would see them through the challenges of occupying the Promised Land. Moses listened to the crowd rather than the voice of God.
  3. Discussion Questions:
    1. What was the result of the children of God listening to the 10 doubting and fearful spies? If God was promising them the Promised Land and had promised to be with them, who were they doubting? Why were they so fearful?
    2. What are some things that cause us to be fearful today?
    3. How many of you have tried to coax a fearful, reluctant toddler to “jump into Daddy or Mom’s arms” in a swimming pool? What is the source of the child’s fear?
  4. In Joshua 1:5-9, it is 40 years after their forefathers had doubted God. The ancestor Jews are poised and ready to enter the Promised Land again, led by a faithful eighty five year old Joshua.  The same ancestor “bad guys” were likely to “resist” as was likely forty years earlier. We see that God tells Joshua to “be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go”.
  5. Discussion Question:  Read Joshua 1: 7-9 and discuss …is the God, who is the same yesterday, today and forever still in the business of comforting us in the midst of our fears and unbelief? Has he changed? So when we are fearful in the midst of today’s challenges what are we saying to God?
  6. Let’s learn from how God prepared Joshua to face his fears and move ahead.
    1. He commissioned him (God defined the mission, assured him of his abiding presence, and encouraged him to lead; Joshua 1:3-5). Look also at Numbers 27:18-23 and Deuteronomy 3:28.
    2. He clearly expected Joshua and God’s own to put forth personal effort to achieve the mission.  Note that God could have just given them the land and removed the enemies but he did not do that. They had to put forth effort.
    3. God knew that Joshua and the people would face opposition and had to deal with fears of facing the opposition. It is very instructive to note that:  while God will set us free from fear, he does not say that we are freed from work, difficulties, or difficult circumstances. This is quite instructive to each of us as we face challenges and difficulties. (Galatians 5:1 and John 14:1). What God is telling Joshua and us is that when we face challenges, God will be with us and will help us overcome them. Let us thank God and claim that promise. Don’t let the evil one get the victory!
  7. Discussion Questions:
    1. What limits us when we face fears today?
    2. What causes us to be fearful?
    3. Where do our fears come from?
    4. How did God speak to Joshua? How does he speak to us today?
    5. Identify some practical Biblical ways to deal with fear?
  8. How God sets us free from fear:
    1. He goes before us. (Deuteronomy 31:8)
    2. He indwells us (Gal 5:22) and the fruit of the spirit.
    3. He protects us (Eph 6: 13-19) or the armor of God.
    4. He is preparing something better for us. (Col 3:24), or the reward of the inheritance.
    5. Knowledge that he who does wrong and does not repent, will be repaid/receive for what he has done.  (Col 3:25).
  9. What can and should we do to be free from fear?
    1. Put to death the lusts of the flesh. I Peter 2:11.
    2. Resist the devil. James 4: 7.
    3. Walk in obedience Joshua 1:7-9.
    4. Read, obey and meditate on the Word of God. Joshua 1:8.
    5. Stand firm in your belief and faith. Gal 5:1.
  10. How fast will God set us free from our fears or other hindrances? Similarly, how fast did God promise Joshua to give him the Promised Land? Very powerful and very helpful. Exodus 23: 29-30.  In other words, step by step, rejoice and depend on God; step by step, rejoice and depend on God each step of the way.  Discuss: Why not mile by mile?
  11. Depending on the promises of God
    1. Keep our eyes on God.  (2 Chronicles 20:12).
    2. Realize that the battle is not ours but God’s (Deut 7:23).
  12. A few years ago, a Romanian pastor came to visit a supporting congregation in the US. He had gotten to know the pastor, who was actively involved in a Bible-smuggling ministry when the Iron Curtain was up. When he was asked to give genuine thoughts about the church in the USA, the pastor was very hesitant – reluctant to speak, for fear of giving offense. Finally, after some encouragement to speak what was on his heart, the pastor spoke very slowly, “In my opinion, the American church is rich in material things, but may be poor in “spiritual things”.  I do not refer to the passage in the Sermon on the Mount that says ‘Blessed are the poor in Spirit’, who Jesus commended”. No, sadly what the Pastor was saying was that American Christians, by and large, had a “flabby faith” because it was rarely even exercised, much less tested. (From a sermon by A. B. “The Gift of Persecution)”.
  13. Discussion Questions:
    1. Could it be that our faith is flabby because it is so rarely exercised?
    2. How does God expect us to prepare today to overcome our fears? Consider that we already know that God is with us and will help us, but are there some things we need to do to help ourselves?  (Things like: regular Bible reading, meditation and study, regular prayer life and regular support to fellow Christians or non Christians).
    3. What are some temporal things God is expecting Christians to be doing today to overcome our fears? Pray for witnessing opportunities; witnessing by actions (in word and deed).
    4. How can bearing one another’s burdens show that we have freedom from fear? How can this help others overcome their fears?