Roger was assistant manager of a buffet restaurant. He used to serve on our ministry team, and at one point he was telling me about a special memory from that job early in his working career. It seems there was a male customer who had been really abusive to the waitress. So Roger, being the ranking officer in the restaurant at the time, had the joy of trying to confront this gentleman – well, this man anyway. Unfortunately, this abusive customer was young, strong, all muscular and bulked up. And Roger, like me, well…not exactly Goliath. But he walked into the lion’s jaws and he bravely asked that man to leave. Initially, the customer was ready for a fight. Then suddenly, unexplainably, this guy raised the white flag and he just left, leaving Roger a little baffled as to why this man had suddenly given up. That’s when my friend turned around and saw one of the chefs who had been – unbeknownst to Roger – standing behind him all that time. And the chef, now he was a Goliath! Roger said, “Suddenly I understood that it was the big guy behind me that made the difference!”
I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “The Big Man Behind You.”
Right now you may be facing a challenge that’s a whole lot bigger than you are, than your resources to meet it. Frankly, it’s a mismatch, except for the big Man behind you which changes everything.
In our word for today from the Word of God, the Lord is preparing Joshua to lead His people into the Promised Land, a land brimming with challenges and challengers that looked pretty unbeatable. The huge walls of Jericho, a fierce barbarian people who had no intention of moving out so the Jews could move in, intimidating giants in the land, and a flooded river they had to somehow get across before they could even tackle the other challenges! It was enough to frighten and discourage anyone; maybe like what’s in front of you right now.
In Joshua 1:9, God gives this directive to Joshua, and maybe to you: “…Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged…” Fear and discouragement, that’s exactly what we feel when the obstacle, or the problem, or the task is overwhelming. “God, why shouldn’t I be terrified? Why shouldn’t I be discouraged?” His answer: “…For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” God says, don’t look at the problems that are bigger than you are; concentrate on the God who is bigger than the problems and march boldly in the confidence that your awesome God will not send you anywhere that He will not go with you.
Eleven times in the Old Testament story of His plans for His people God gives this same directive, “Don’t be afraid or discouraged because your Lord is with you.” I’m telling you, that’s all you need to know to turn fear into faith and discouragement into courage. Listen to this incredible promise from Isaiah 43:2 – “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…” Again, the difference is the “big Man behind you.” The big man has a name and His name is Jesus.
When Jesus was sending out eleven frightened men to tell the whole world about Him, He made this Mission Impossible into Mission Possible with this simple promise, “I will be with you always” (Matthew 28:20). That’s what He’s trying to say to you today. Because of this all-powerful person who’s with you, you can go on, you can tackle what’s bigger than you are, you can challenge Satan’s dominion, and you can beat what has always beaten you.
If it was up to how big and strong you are, you’d better run out the back door. But you have the biggest person in the universe behind you, and He will make the difference!