* Courage to face new situations and surroundings
God told Jacob to leave his home and travel to a strange and faraway land. But God reassured him by promising to go with him and take care of him. When new situations or surroundings frighten you, recognize that experiencing fear is normal. To be paralyzed by fear, however, is an indication that you question God’s ability to take care of you. Have courage to face new situations and surroundings and have faith and trust in God. (NLT)
Genesis 46:3-4 – “I am God,” the voice said, “the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will see to it that you become a great nation there. I will go with you down to Egypt, and I will bring our descendants back again. But you will die in Egypt with Joseph at your side.”
* Courage shown by Hebrew midwives
Shiphrah and Puah may have been supervisors over the midwives, or else these two were given special mention. Hebrew midwives helped women give birth and cared for the baby until the mother was stronger. When Pharaoh ordered the midwives to kill the Hebrew baby boys, he was asking the wrong group of people. Midwives were committed to helping babies be born, not to killing them. These women showed great courage and love for God by risking their lives to disobey Pharaoh’s command.
Against Pharaoh’s orders, the midwives spared the Hebrew babies. Their faith in God gave them the courage to take a stand for what they knew was right. In this situation, disobeying the authority was proper. God does not expect us to obey those in authority when they ask us to disobey him or his Word. The Bible is filled with examples of those who were willing to sacrifice their very lives in order to obey God or save others. Esther and Mordecai and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are some of the people who took a bold stand for what was right. Whole nations can be caught up in immorality (racial hatred, slavery, prison cruelty); thus following the majority or the authority is not always right. Whenever we are ordered to disobey God’s Word, we must “obey God rather than human authority.” (NLT)
Exodus 1:15-21 – Then Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, gave this order to the Hebrew midwives, Shuiphrah and Puah: “When you help the Hebrew women give birth, kill all the boys as soon as they are born. Allow only the baby girls to live.” But other shepherds would often come and chase the girls and their flocks away. This time, however, Moses came to their aid, rescuing the girls from the shepherds. Then he helped them draw water for their flocks.
When the girls returned to Reuel, their father, he asked, “How did you get the flocks watered so quickly today?” “An Egyptian rescued us from the shepherds,” they told him. “And then he drew water for us and watered our flocks.” “Well, where is he then?” their father asked. “Did you just leave him there? Go and invite him home for a meal!”
Moses was happy to accept the invitation, and he settled down to live with them. In time, Reuel gave Moses one of his daughters, Zipporah, to be his wife.
* Courage of Moses’ mother
Moses’ mother knew how wrong it would be to destroy her child. But there was little she could do to change Pharaoh’s new law. Her only alternative was to hide the child and later place him in a tiny papyrus basket on the river. God used her courageous act to place her son, the Hebrew of his choice, in the house of Pharaoh. Do you sometimes feel surrounded by evil and frustrated by how little you can do about it? When faced with evil, look for ways to act against it. Then trust God to use your effort, however small it seems, in his war against evil. (NLT)
Exodus 2:3 – But when she could no longer hide him, she got a little basket made of papyrus reeds and waterproofed it with tar and pitch. She put the baby in the basket and laid it among the reeds along the edge of the Nile River.
* – Moses’ mother was reunited with her baby! God used her courageous act of saving and hiding her baby to begin his plan to rescue his people from Egypt. God doesn’t need much from us to accomplish his plan for our lives. Focusing on our human predicament may paralyze us because the situation may appear humanly impossible. But concentrating on God and his power will help us see the way out. Right now you may feel unable to see through your troubles. Focus instead on God, and trust him for the way out. That is all he needs to begin his work in you. (NLT)
Exodus 2:9 – “Take this child home and nurse him for me,” the princess told her. “I will pay you for your help.” So the baby’s mother took her baby home and nursed him.
* With God as our refuge, we can dare to be bold and have courage
Moses’ song declares that God is our refuge, our only true security. How often we entrust our lives to other things—perhaps money, career, a noble cause, or a lifelong dream. But our only true refuge is the eternal God, who always holds out his arms to catch us when the shaky supports that we trust collapse and we fall. No storm can destroy us when we take refuge in him. Those without God, however, must forever be cautious. One mistake may wipe them out. Living for God in this world may look like risky business. But it is the godless who are on shaky ground. Because God is our refuge, we can dare to be bold. (NLT)
Deuteronomy 33:27 – “The eternal God is your refuge, and his everlasting arms are under you. He thrusts out the enemy before you; it is he who cries, ‘Destroy them!’”
* Courage comes through obedience
Facing overwhelming odds, Gideon was afraid. God understood his fear, but he didn’t excuse Gideon from his task. Instead, he allowed Gideon to slip into the enemy camp and overhear a conversation that would give him courage. Are you facing a battle? God can give you the strength you need for any situation. And don’t be startled by the way he helps you. Like Gideon, you must listen to God and be ready to take the first step. Only after you begin to obey God will you find the courage to move ahead. (NLT)
Judges 7:10-11 – “But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with your servant Purah. Listen to what the Midianites are saying, and you will be greatly encouraged. Then you will be eager to attack.”
* Courage can be misinterpreted as cowardice
The means we use to accomplish a goal are just as important as the goal we are trying to accomplish. David’s goal was to become king, so his men urged hin to kill Saul wen he had the chance. David’s refusal was not an example of cowardice but of courage—the courage to stand against the group and do what he knew was right. Don’t compromise your moral standards by giving in to group pressure or taking the easy way out. (NLT)
1 Samuel 24:16-19 – Saul called back, “Is that really you, my son David?” Then he began to cry. And he said to David, “You are a better man than I am, for you have repaid me good for evil. Yes, you have been wonderfully kind to me today, for when the Lord put me in a place where you could have killed me, you didn’t do it. Who else would let his enemy get away when he had him in his power? May the Lord reward you well for the kindness you have shown me today.
* Courage to stand firm in your convictions
Ishbosheth may have been right to speak out against Abner’s behavior, but he didn’t have the moral strength to maintain his authority. Lack of moral backbone became the root of Israel’s troubles over the next four centuries. Only 4 of the next 40 kings of Israel were called “good.” It takes courage and strength to stand firm in your convictions and to confront wrongdoing in the face of opposition. When you believe something is wrong, do not let yourself be talked out of your position. Firmly attack the wrong and uphold the right. (NLT)
2 Samuel 3:7 – One day Ishbosheth, Saul’s son, accused Abner of sleeping with one of his father’s concubines, a woman named Rizpah.
* – Although it could have cost him his life, this priest did what was right, restoring the Temple worship and anointing the new king. There are times when we must correct a wrong or speak out for what is right. When such a situation arises, gather up your courage and act. (NLT)
2 Chronicles 23:1 – In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign, Jehoiada the priest decided to act. He got up his courage and made a pact with five army commanders: Azariah son of Jeroham, Ishmael son of Jehohanan, Azariah son of Obed, Maaseiah son of Adaiah, and Elishaphat son of Zicri.
* – Mordecai’s determination came from his faith in God. He did not take a poll first to determine the safest or most popular course of action; he had the courage to stand alone. Doing what is right will not always make you popular. Those who do right will be in the minority, but to obey God is more important than to obey people. (NLT)
* – Mordecai refused to kneel down before Haman. Jews did bow down to government authorities, at times, as a sign of respect, but Haman’s ancestors were ancient enemies of the Jews. Israel had been commanded by God to “destroy the Amalekites and erase their memory from under heaven.” Mordecai was not about to kneel before wicked Haman and, by his act, acknowledging Haman as a god. Daniel’s three friends had the same convictions. We must worship God alone. We should never let any person, institution, or government take God’s place. When people demand loyalties or duties from you that do not honor God, don’t give in. It may be time to take a stand. (NLT)
Esther 3:2-4 – All the king’s officials would bow down before Haman to show him respect whenever he passed by, for so the king had commanded. But Mordecai refused to bow down or show him respect.
Then the palace officials at the king’s gate asked Mordecai, “Why are you disobeying the king’s command?” They spoke to him day after day, but still he refused to comply with the order. So they spoke to Haman about this to see if he would tolerate Mordecai’s conduct, since Mordecai had told them he was a Jew.
* Courage to respond boldly to events around us
Ishosheth was a man who took his courage from another man (Abner) rather than from God. When Abner died, Ishbosheth was left with nothing. In crisis and under pressure, he collapsed in fear. Fear can paralyze us, but faith and trust in God can overcome fear. If we trust in God, we will be free to respond boldly to the events around us. (NLT)
2 Samuel 4:1 – When Ishbosheth heard about Abner’s death at Hebron, he lost all courage, and his people were paralyzed with fear.
* Courage to back down for the sake of others
Had David not escaped from Jerusalem, the ensuing fight might have killed him as well as many innocent inhabitants of the city. Some fights that we think necessary can be costly and destructive to those around us. In such cases, it may be wise to back down and save the fight for another day—even if doing so hurts our pride. It takes courage to stand and fight, but it also takes courage to back down for the sake of others. (NLT)
2 Samuel 15:14 – “Then we must flee at once, or it will be too late!” David urged his men. “Hurry! If we get out of the city before he arrives, both we and the city of Jerusalem will be spared from disaster.”
* Courage comes from belief
Some people think that belief in God is a crutch for weak people who cannot make it on their own. God is indeed a shield to protect us when we are too weak to face certain trials by ourselves, but he does not want us to remain weak. He strengthens, protects, and guides us in order to send us back into an evil world to fight for him. And then he continues to work with us because the strongest person on earth is infinitely weaker than God and needs his help. David was not a coward; he was a mighty warrior who, even with all his armies and weapons, knew that only God could ultimately protect and save him. (NLT)
Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect. All the Lord’s promises prove true. He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
* Why all believers can have courage
Jesus summed up all he had told them this night. With these words he told his disciples to take courage. In spite of the inevitable struggles they would face, they would not be alone. Jesus does not abandon us to our struggles either. If we remember that the ultimate victory has already been won, we can claim the peace of Christ in the most troublesome times. (NLT)
John 16:33 – [Jesus said] “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
* Courage to take advantage of opportunities
Peter had an audience, and he capitalized on the opportunity to share Jesus Christ. He clearly presented his message by telling (1) who Jesus is, 2) how the Jews had rejected him, (3) why their rejection was fatal, and (4) what they needed to do to change the situation. Peter told the crowd that they still had a choice; God still offered them the opportunity to believe and receive Jesus as their Messiah and as their Lord. Displays of God’s mercy and grace, such as the healing of this lame man, often create teachable moments. Pray to have courage like Peter to see these opportunities and to use them to speak up for Christ. (NLT)
Acts 3:11 – They all rushed out to Solomon’s Colonnade, where he was holding tightly to Peter and John. Everyone stood there in awe of the wonderful thing that had happened.
* Courage in witnessing
We may sometimes be afraid to share our faith in Christ because people may feel uncomfortable or reject us. But Peter and John’s zeal for the Lord was so strong that they could not keep quiet, even when threatened. If your courage to witness for God has weakened, pray that your boldness may increase. Remember Jesus’ promise, “If anyone acknowledges me publicly here on earth, I will openly acknowledge that person before my Father in heaven.” (NLT)
Acts 4:20 – “We cannot stop telling about the wonderful things we have seen and heard.”
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