Nepaug Bible Church - - Pastor's Prayer Meeting Lesson Notes -

Part XIII: Overcoming A Fear Of People That Inhibits Our Work For God
(Joshua 17:12-18:3; 19:49-50)
  1. Introduction
    1. God has called each believer to live for His glory, and part of living is contributing in service towards the building up of the body of Christ, cf. 1 Cor. 12:4-7.
    2. However, doing the will of God often causes us to run into opposition from others, Mtt. 5:11-12. That can be hard to overcome as the temptation is to flee or avoid conflict no matter the cost.
    3. Joshua's contemporaries faced this problem in the taking of the land of Canaan, and a lesson on dealing with this fear of opposition to do God's will exists in Joshua 17-19 as follows:
  2. Overcoming A Fear Of People That Inhibits Our Work For God, Jos. 17:12-18:3; 19:49-51.
    1. When Israel entered the land of Canaan, the nation had an obligation not to dread Canaanite opposition, but to believe in God's promises and take the land!
      1. God had ordered Israel to conquer all of Canaan as God had promised it to them, Jos. 1:2-4.
      2. This promise included sure success against opponents in the land, Jos. 1:5.
      3. Accordingly, they were not to be intimidated by their opponents, but be strong and courageous so as to obey all of the Word of God and take the land, 1:6-7,8.
    2. However, upon entering Canaan and gaining their allotted inheritance, the descendants of Joseph got cornered in the land due to faithless fear of the Canaanites, Jos. 17:12-14, 16:
      1. The tribe of Manasseh was not able to drive out the Canaanites in its allotted territory, 17:12.
      2. The reason for this failure was fear of the Canaanites:
        1. The tribe of Manasseh, descendants of Joseph's eldest son, Manasseh, approached Joshua with the complaint that they were too large in number for the land they could live in, Jos. 17:14.
        2. The reason they were crimped is that they could not displace all of the Canaanites in their allotted territory, Jos. 17:16a,b.
        3. The cause of this failure to drive out the Canaanites was fear: they gave the excuse to Joshua that the Canaanites had iron chariots of superior weapons to theirs, so they were unable to displace them, Josh 17:16c! Accordingly, they h ad compromised, leaving the Canaanites in the land to pay them tribute instead, Jos. 17:13!
      3. Joshua did not accept this excuse, treating it as faithlessness in God's promises:
        1. Joshua told the people that if there was not enough room, they at least ought to cut down the forests of the uplands and conquer the giant peoples there like Caleb did to the giants in conquering Hebron to have more room, Jos. 17:15 with 14:13-15!
        2. He also added that after conquering at least the giants in the uplands, they would then be able by a stronger faith to conquer the Canaanites with their iron chariots of the lowlands, Jos. 17:17-18!
        3. In fact, Joshua went on to complain about seven of the tribes who had not inherited their allotments, wondering when they would ever do so, Josh. 18:1-3!
      4. Joshua backed up his words with deeds regarding his own possession.
        1. Being an Ephraemite himself (cf. Num. 13:8), he inherited by divine lot cast by the high priest a city of the "rugged, infertile, mountainous district" of Ephraem, B.K.C., O.T., p. 362, Jos. 19:49-50b.
        2. He built the city himself and actually lived there where the giants of the Perizzites had lived, 19:50c.
Lesson: The believer is all God says he is, and he can do all God says he can do. Failure to be and to do what God says, even it arises from fear of formidable human opposition, comes from faithlessness.

Application: (1) In handling intimidation of opponents to do God's will, stir up the supernatural spiritual enabling the Lord has given us for success and USE it, 2 Tim. 1:6-7; 1 T. 4:14-16. (2) Also, if the Scripture commands us to accomplish a certain task, we ought to believe that God's enabling will also equip us to overcome any for midable human opposition to our accomplishing that task, cf. Jos. 1:3-4,5. So, just DO it!