After wandering around for 40 years in a primitive wasteland, where God provided both food and water when none could be found otherwise, the chosen Hebrew nation was at their defining moment once again. As a people group, they could decide once and for all to live as God called them to live, in a Promised Land… or they could reject the words of God, and wander in the wasteland forever. Their leader, Joshua (not Moses at this point), said to them:
Joshua 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous; be careful to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, so that you may have success wherever you go.
The people chose to listen and heed these words, at least for a period of time, and God blessed them greatly… as long as they did. The law of God was the equivalent of God’s divine voice, given through Moses, as the instruction manual for maintaining the covenant relationship God had established with them. When they began abandoning these words, things turned against them. When they returned in repentance to God, seeking forgiveness and restoration, heeding once again His instruction manual, God reconciled with them and began blessing them once again.
By the time Jesus arrived in Galilee and Judea hundreds and hundreds of years later, the words of Moses and the law of God was so misconstrued that few of the leaders, and most of the people, looked very little like the trusting Hebrew nation that came out of the wilderness.
They needed a new word from God. They needed a new covenant. So God (the Son) left heaven to come and reconcile all mankind, not just the Hebrew nation, back to Himself. He spoke the divine voice of God again, with new instructions about a new covenant. His authority was established in mighty ways, through signs and miracles, through which He demonstrated His authority, control and presence as “God with us.” (Immanuel)
One night as the disciples were crossing the sea of Galilee, a storm threatened to sink their boat, and in the process they would all die in the depths of the raging waters. But then, suddenly, out of nowhere, Jesus comes walking to them on the waves. They cower in fear, thinking they see a ghost. Now hear the words of Jesus, to these fearful expert fishermen:
But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, “Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid.”
Courage then, from the Old Testament and the New Testament, could be defined as the RESULT of faith in action, placed in the divine voice of God, instructing us to NOT BE AFRAID.
Not so easy to do in this world today is it?
Not when those given the task to protect us… allow innocent lives to be taken, when it could so easily have been averted.
Not when those given the task to rule and lead us… constantly politicize the event rather than deal with the real issue of accountability of the humans involved.
Not when the society we live in constantly belittles and condemns our leaders who have the courage to stand for their faith in God, and vocalize it publicly.
But here’s the thing…
Neither God the Father in the Old Testament, nor Jesus Christ, the Son of God, in the New testament… said it would be easy. Remember what they did say…
“Be strong and very courageous…!”
“Take courage… it is I; do not be afraid!”
Think of it this way…
It is not courage, if it is easy.
It is not courage, if you are not in danger.
It is not courage, if the core of your faith is not challenged in any way.
It is not courage, when you say, or do, or think… like everyone else.
Courage is living out your faith in Jesus…
Living as He lived, by yielding every moment of every day, to the glory of God the Father.
What does courage look like… for you?