Joshua 1:9; Daniel 3:16,17; Philippians 1:28
I am reminded of that old saying, “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” There is an element of truth in this saying. What I have observed is, courage is not a reckless abandonment without due consideration. When we see anyone rush into a burning building, it is not reckless abandonment but with quick deliberation and an understanding that great harm might come to the rescuer. Courage is not the abandonment of all sense, but the consideration of the possibility of harm.
In the consideration of our position with God through His Son Jesus Christ, we do not abandon all sense as we live our lives in a Godly manner and witness for Him. Joshua received a word of encouragement in Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.” We have the support that others do not have. Through prayer, before we enter the fray, God is right there with us to support us in all of our endeavors to witness to lost and saved alike. Why did I say the saved? Because of some that are saved stray or fall back and we need strength, courage, and wisdom to go to and encourage them. The lost we understand but sometimes we forget about those that have backslidden.
Our adversaries love to see us as weak and uncertain. While teaching seminary, I instructed students that when they came to one of those words in the Old Testament that they were not sure of how to pronounce, instead of muddling around and hemming and hawing, simply say it with authority. Many, who think they know how to say it will say hmmm, maybe he is right. Understand, I am not saying to speak salvation in ignorance or any other doctrine for that matter. Know the plan of salvation and support scripture. Know doctrine and support scripture. Then say it with authority instead of being mealy-mouthed in our discussion. There are certain things we should be masters in knowledge. In Ephesians 6 we are told to stand. I love the answer of the three Hebrew children in Daniel 3:16,17 “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. This passage thrills me to no end. The part of the answer where they say, “. . . we are not careful to answer thee. . . “ this thrills me to my tippy toes. They are saying, we don’t have to think about our answer, we don’t have to consult each other about our answer, we don’t even have to pray about it because we know God’s answer already. NO,NO,NO. These young men were standing as Joshua was told to stand and be courageous. There is another part to this answer that I also love, “If it be so. . . “. Let me tell you about the power of our God. If He wants to deliver us, He will. If He does not want to deliver us, that is ok also. We will not lose our trust and faith in God. Do what you want and what you think you can king. We are prepared.
Preachers, Pastors, we are called to be courageous and to stand. I have communicated with a number of you that are dissatisfied with how some things are slipping among our churches. I have heard the terms, fed up, wrong, things amiss and a few other things. There seems to be a fear that one might be ostracized or shunned to speak up with courage and take a stand. May I restate a common scripture, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” Let me add this, who cares who is against us. A good preacher friend of mine, solid scripturally, accepted the pastorate of a small Southern Baptist Church. His thought was to teach and preach the truth to this church and bring it into our work. All the time he pastored this church, they never observed the Lord’s Supper. After several years he came to the realization, that he would never achieve his goal and resigned. He came to me and said, I want to join your church, I know you are the pastor and I will always support you. My reply, why not pastor Brother. He said I have been blackballed in our local and national association. My reply, welcome brother. Maybe it is my age, maybe I am just ignorant. I simply believe in the Word of God and believe that if we don’t take a stand today, tomorrow may be too late. Paul said to the Philippian Brothers, Philippians 1:28 “And in nothing terrified by your adversaries: which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God.” Every member and every preacher and pastor is called to stand and be of great courage. I challenge you to stand for the scripture truth and follow many of our forefathers in the battle for God.