There are still many giants in the land. But the One who is with us is greater. He has already defeated His and our enemies. He is victoriously subduing hearts just as He promised. He is working faith in us just as He promised. And the greatest comfort any of us can have—no matter how frightening or dismaying this world may be—is that Jesus, the Captain of our salvation, is with us always, even to the end of the age.
Fear cripples people. It is a plague that can ravage the people of God and hinder us from walking confidently with our God and doing His will. When we are overwhelmed by the “giants in the land,” the only thing that can displace our fear is the powerful presence of God.
The book of Joshua begins on a dismaying note. Moses is dead. The great prophet and leader of Israel whom God used as the human agent to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt was no longer with them. Moses died outside the land of promise as a result of his sins. It would be hard to overstate how categorically perplexing that must have been to Israel: the man who had led them out would not himself enter. In addition, an entire generation of Israelites had died in the wilderness due to their unbelief. From that generation, only Joshua and Caleb were alive. That generation’s children who grew up to replace their parents would be going into the land. Fear was not simply a plague that threatened the people of Israel; it had birthed unbelief in their hearts and hindered them from obtaining the promise.
It is against this sobering backdrop that God set His redemptive promise of hope. God had given two gifts to Israel to help them overcome their fear and enter the promised land. The first gift was Joshua. God knew that the people of Israel needed a leader, a man chosen by God to provide decisive, visible leadership, one who would bring the people from where they were to where they needed to go. Joshua was the man for such a time as this, and God clearly placed the mantle of Moses on the shoulders of Joshua. Joshua would be with them, and Joshua would lead them.