It takes great courage to be locked in to doing the right thing in life. Let’s face it, it’s easy to go with the flow of society and be turned from side to side when it comes to morals and standards. It’s interesting to inspect the times that God calls for courage in the Bible. We immediately go to courage in the face of danger or challenge. Upon further examination we’ll see that the call for courage has more to do in holding fast to God’s word and doing the right thing and, as a result, there will be confidence in the face of the challenges of life.
Joshua 1:7–9 (ESV) — 7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
The dictionary defines courage as the ability to do something when frightened or challenged by pain or grief. Courage is that inner push to keep going when circumstances say give up. In the text above, Joshua, the new leader in Israel after Moses’ death was about to lead the people into the Promised Land. God’s command to be strong and very courageous was an important command. Can you image a leader of over a million people being weak or timid when it comes to challenges? In fact, Joshua and Caleb were the two spies who 40 years earlier had gone through the Promised Land on a reconnaissance mission. Ten spies drew the conclusion that it was impossible to take the land because the people of the land were so strong. They even said they saw themselves as “grasshoppers” before the people of the land. Consequently they disturbed the people of Israel. However, Joshua and Caleb saw the land as easy picking for God and tried to convince the people to believe God and not the bad report from the ten. Sadly, the majority ruled even though the majority was wrong and the result was God allowed the people of Israel to wonder in the wilderness for a season.
Numbers 14:6–10 (ESV) — 6 And Joshua the son of Nun and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had spied out the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to all the congregation of the people of Israel, “The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. 8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.” 10 Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones. But the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the people of Israel.
Notice that Joshua and Caleb were confident with great courage to do the right thing before God even though the crowd was against them. This courage to do the right thing played out in strong inner strength to go forward in the battle before them.
How is your courage when it comes to doing the right thing? It’s easy to appear to be a person of “inner drive” to accomplish great things or face incredible odds, but at the same time be a person of weakness when it comes to holding on to what is right. When you seek to follow God and His word, there may be times when you are called to confront yourself or others in a call to repentance. There may be times when your trusting God is as unpopular as Joshua and Caleb’s but that is the courage that will also sustain you to face the trials of life. It begins with taking God at His word and relying upon Him for the grace to display courage in trusting Him while remaining faithful to His word.
Led by God, David gave Solomon a similar admonition as he embarked in the construction of the temple:
1 Chronicles 28:20 (ESV) — 20 Then David said to Solomon his son, “Be strong and courageous and do it. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the Lord God, even my God, is with you. He will not leave you or forsake you, until all the work for the service of the house of the Lord is finished.
Think about it. God had a design for the temple that Solomon was to carry out to the “T” but like any building project there would be many opinions expressed and the opportunity to cut corners or compromise on one thing or another. Therefore, David warned Solomon that he needed courage. Of course, he would need courage to face the naysayers and critics, but even greater courage to stay the course outlined by God.
Likewise, you and I need courage in life to face the challenges that everyday life brings. We also need courage to hold fast to God and His word even when it’s hard or difficult to do the right thing.
How is your courage factor? Like everyone we need His power and strength to remain faithful and to be courageous. May we be humble enough to pray for the needed courage and strength to be faithful today.