It's so hard to understand. After all, they had witnessed God performing miracles and delivering them from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, guidance with a cloud by day and fire by night, food each day, water from a rock, etc. How could they not trust that He would give them the land as He had promised?
It's hard to understand, until I look at my own fears, and my reactions to fear. And then I understand.
When I am afraid, my eyes are on myself and my fear - not on God - and I am paralyzed.
My husband, bless his heart, does not always understand... because he does not have the same problem with fear that I do. (Or at least he does not recognize it as fear.) He has much more self confidence, a curiosity about life, and he enjoys trying new things.
In Deuteronomy (and also in Numbers 13-14), Joshua and Caleb told the Israelites that they should take possession of the land, that God would be with them. They were trying to remind the Israelites to keep their eyes on God, their provider, and not on their fears. On Sunday the pastor expained it like this: he encouraged us to "charge the darkness." He told a story about his own family, how the kids were afraid of going into dark rooms, so they adopted a family motto, "Charge the darkness!" and they would run into the dark room together. The pastor taught his children to face their fears.
I have to say, I have found this to be true in my life. When I face my fears, when I do something in spite of my fears, I become stronger. I am less afraid. Each time I face the fear I am less afraid. And I find the strength to "charge the darkness" by taking my eyes off myself and seeking God, putting my trust in Him. Sometimes it's easy, and sometimes it's really hard. But as I memorize scripture verses about fear and about God taking care of me, as I pray, and as I act in spite of fear, I can overcome my fear.
Here are some other thoughts from the sermon:
- If you're not a person of courage you willl not experience other fruits of the Spirit.
- A life lived in fear is a life half lived.
- It's a crime to live cautiously
- Cut a courage groove. Each time you face a fear it cuts the courage groove in your life, which helps when you face the next fear. How do you cut a courage groove? Admit you fear. Face toward your fear,and then "charge the darkness"
- Why do we need to cut a courage groove? There will come a day when we reach a moment of decision. It might be a moment of choosing right over wrong, or a time to speak out, or a time to go where God's leading.. and you don't want to make the wrong decision.
- Are you going to play or stand on the sidelines? Fear keeps us on the sidelines...where it's "safe" but then we miss out in being involved in the game,making a difference, having fun, being involved, part of the team.
- People living in fear may not want you to lead them where they don't want to go.
- Don't miss out on awesome opportunities because of fear
How about you? Do you live life in fear? I encourage you to trust God, memorize Bible verses that will encourage you to be strong and courageous and about God watching over you, and then......
Charge the Darkness!