Be strong and courageous. How does reading those words make you feel? Do you know where find the verse in the Bible that includes those words? Yes, that’s a trick question. 🙂 This phrase is actually found in numerous places in the Scriptures – both in the Old and New Testaments. After reading all of these verses, I decided that Psalm 27:14 would be our memory verse for this week: Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.
Let’s break this verse into four sections:
- Wait for the Lord
- Be strong
- Take heart
- Wait for the Lord.
How interesting that the verse begins and ends with the same four words: Wait for the Lord. Do you like to wait? Usually, waiting is not something that I want to do, but sometimes God wants and needs us to wait. Let’s look at three passages from the Scriptures to begin our look at courage.
In Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, Moses shared words from God with the Israelites. We read: “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Then Moses spoke to Joshua in front of all of Israel and said, “Be strong and courageous, for you must go with this people into the land that the Lord swore to their ancestors to give them, and you must divide it among them as their inheritance.” What a challenge to give to Joshua! I wonder how Joshua felt.
Do you think the Israelites were afraid? Is that why Moses reminded them that God would never leave them or abandon them. Have you ever been afraid? Have you ever been terrified? What caused the fear you felt? These words from Deuteronomy should encourage us in times that we are afraid. If we have faith that God is always with us, doesn’t it make it easier to feel courageous in times of fear? Remember what Psalm 23:4 says? Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Shouldn’t we be able to say:
I will fear no evil.
I will have courage.
I will be strong.
I can do this because God is always with me.
In 2 Chronicles 32: 7-8, King Hezekiah told the Israelites to be strong and courageous even though they were in the midst of a war with Assyria. Assyria had a great army, but the Israelites were reminded that there was a greater power with them than with Assyria. Assyria only had a human army but Israel had God to help them and to fight their battles. We are told that the people gained confidence from these words. God is always with us as we fight our battles today. Do we always show the confidence we should knowing that God is with us? How can we build that feeling of confidence? Studying God’s Word? Walking our daily walk with God? Surrounding ourselves with others that are walking in God’s Light?
Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight. (2 Samuel 10:12) David sent Joab out with the entire army of fighting men and sent some against the Ammonites and the others against the Arameans. Joab saw that there were battle lines in front of him and behind him so he selected some of the best troops in Israel and deployed them against the Arameans and put the rest of the men under the command of his brother, Abishai, to fight against the Ammonites. Joab told Abishai to be strong and to fight bravely, and most importantly, that God will do what is good in His sight. God has a plan and is in control. How often do we think that we know what is best for us and expect God to take care of it? God will take care of us – in His way and in His time. We must learn to wait. (Yes, there’s that “wait” word again!)
We may not want to wait or delay our expectations. Immediate gratification is not always in God’s plan. What we must always remember is that God is always with us. Knowing that, we can be strong and courageous in all challenges that we face – big and small. My challenge for you this week is to examine the challenges in your life. Hod did you show courage and strength? How did you lean on God? Then look around you and see the challenges that others are facing. How can you help them be strong and courageous and to have confidence in God’s power?
See you on Wednesday when we will discuss circumstances that require courage – in Bible times and today. Remember to work on our memory verse!
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