Devotional Thought for This Morning
“Courageous” (Pt. 2)
No man will be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I have been with Moses, I will be with you; I will not fail you or forsake you. 6 Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 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. 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 success. 9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”
Stepping into His Victory
Daniel Putman, professor of philosophy at the University of Wisconsin, in an article entitled The Emotions of Courage, claims that courage involves deliberate choice in the face of painful or fearful circumstances for the sake of a worthy goal. We can deduce from this that courage happens not in the absence of pain or fear but in the face of it.
Yesterday we took time to reflect on the history that God has been writing into our lives—a history of His faithfulness even before we were able to recognize it or give Him praise for it. But the dynamic nature of our relationship isn’t just about thinking back on what has happened. There is a forward direction. Today’s passage begins with God’s promise: Just as I have been with Moses (history), I will be with you (future).
Because God was with the Israelites, they experience great victory in the face of great fear and danger. Because God was with them, they were able to defeat a great city like Jericho without even having to remove one stone from the wall. The thing is, the Israelites would’ve never been able to taste this victory had they not followed the instructions of God. But to follow God’s instructions (to walk around the wall without even striking the city), a great courage was required in the face of real danger.
Brothers and sisters, courage is the fruit of our history with God; but it doesn’t stop there. Courage then becomes the pathway through which we experience God’s victory. When we see how faithful God has been in our lives and that He promises us He will be with us if we walk in alignment to Him—by way of making deliberate choice to follow Him even in the face of fear and pain—this puts us in the place where we experience His victory. And when we see God’s faithfulness through the victories in our lives, our courage grows even more, which further thrusts us into the perfect plan of God to experience more victory. This is the dynamic nature of our relationship with God. This is why we are called to be strong and courageous.
Prayer: Father, thank You again for our incredible history with You. But thank You that there’s more to come. There’s more we can experience in You. We recognize that for us to do so, we must be courageous, just like you call us to be. Help us to make the deliberate choices to be courageous because You are bigger than our fearful or painful circumstances. Thank You Lord. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Isaiah 43
Lunch Break Study
Read Provers 3:5-8: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones.
- As is typical of proverbs, there are positive statements and negative statements that are coupled together. What are the negative statements found in this proverb? What are the positive statements?
- What does this passage teach us as the consequence of following the positive statements? What is implied if we do not follow this wisdom?
- Human experience teaches us that the practical application of this passage is much harder than what it seems. Why might it require courage for us to follow this wisdom?
- The positive statements are “trust in the Lord with all your heart”, “in all your ways acknowledge Him”, and “fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” The negative statements are “do not lean on your own understanding” and “do not be wise in your own eyes”
- If we trust and acknowledge Him, He will make our paths straight = He will guide our lives. If we fear the Lord and turn away from evil, it will be healing and refreshment to our lives. The implication is that if we do not, our paths will be crooked, and our lives will be broken and weary. Another thing to note is that the positive and negative statements implies that they are opposites (e.g. trusting in the Lord means to not trust in our own understanding)
- Personal response. In many ways this proverb is teaching us to not do what comes naturally for us—trust in ourselves, acknowledge ourselves. To be able to detach from this “innateness” can be very jarring and scary. This is why we need courage.
Were you courageous in the Lord today? In what ways did you display this courage? And how did you experience God’s victory through that courage. Thank the Lord for the ways He builds our faith. If you do not feel like you were courageous or you experienced His victory, reflect on His history of faithfulness to you. Prepare yourself to walk in courage again tomorrow.