Monday, December 21, 2015

Be Of Good Courage

Psalm 27:14

Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Be of Good Courage

I found the phrase 'good courage' referenced 16 times in a quick search of the Word.  Many of those references were related to Joshua as he was being prepared to take over from Moses.  Transitions can be scary.  But it's interesting to me that we are called to be courageous and not brave.

I would argue that it's easier to be brave than courageous.  Bravery is the strongest demonstration of confidence.  We are brave when we face perilous situations, but we are confident in our ability to handle the peril.  We can prepare to be brave. When you know what to do, you're less likely to be afraid. 

Firefighters are a good example.  They train in live fire exercises, so they know what to do when faced with a burning building. They are brave for going in and doing that job.  They have to be or someone may die needlessly.  Also, soldiers drill and practice their skills constantly so when presented with the task, they just do it.  They train not to be distracted from the mission.  They know what to do and they do it.  In both examples, they have confidence in their training and ability to do the job ahead, regardless of the peril.

Courage, on the other hand, has a different take.  Where the brave prepare and respond, courage happens with little or no preparation.  Courage is being scared, and doing what is needed anyway.   What does it look like?

Courage is seeing the Lord in a storm and stepping out on water anyway.

Courage is looking into a furnace intended for your destruction and choosing to preach about the greatness of God.

Courage is going before a ruthless king to plead for your people when your own survival isn't promised.

Courage is yelling out to a man you cannot see because of what you heard, knowing that he could end your life, or he could give you sight.

Courage is dragging your body, weakened from years of unhealed bleeding through the streets just to touch the hem of a cloak because you might be healed.

Courage is being a military leader, standing before your troops and humbling yourself before a foreign subject to to ask for healing for your loved one.

Courage is pushing your way through a crowd that hates and openly despises you just to worship a man with precious oil.

Courage is taking on the sins of the world, knowing you'll be hated, reviled, beaten, whipped, refused, rejected, unduly convicted, spat on, beard pulled from your face, and nailed to a wooden cross in obedience to the Father.

There is a time for bravery.  As children of God, we are supposed to prepare for situations where we stand on the Word, where we are called to allow the Holy Spirit to flow through us.  We are supposed to study and learn and listen and know and be encouraged and strengthened by the Word.  We are supposed to be prepared, to watch, fight and pray.

And there are times when we are called to be of good courage.  There are times that despite the fear, the likelihood of loss, we are to just stand, and press, and do according to the Word of God, knowing that He is with us always, even unto the end of the earth.

So, no matter what it is, be of good courage.  The Lord is with you.  

Psalm 27

27 The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple.
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.
And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice: have mercy also upon me, and answer me.
When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, Lord, will I seek.
Hide not thy face far from me; put not thy servant away in anger: thou hast been my help; leave me not, neither forsake me, O God of my salvation.
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.
11 Teach me thy way, O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
12 Deliver me not over unto the will of mine enemies: for false witnesses are risen up against me, and such as breathe out cruelty.
13 I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

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