Strength and Courage
Be strong, and let your heart take courage, wait for the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)
The psalmist had just said, “I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”(Psalm 27:14) If it had not been for his faith in God, his heart had fainted. But in confident assurance in God which faith gives, he urges himself and us to remember one thing above all- to wait upon God. “Wait on the Lord: be of good courage…..wait I say, on the Lord(Psalm 27:14)
One of the chief needs in our waiting on God. One of the deepest secrets of its blessedness and blessing, is a quiet, confident persuasion that it is not in vain. It is courage to believe that God will hear and help; that we are waiting on a God who could never disappoint His people.
“Be strong and of good courage.” These words are frequently found in Scripture in connection with some great and difficult enterprise, in prospect of the combat with the power of strong enemies, and utter insufficiency of all human strength. Is waiting on God a work so difficult that, for this too, such words are needed- “Be strong, and let your heart take courage?” Yes, indeed!
Our souls are so little accustomed to hold fellowship with God; the God on whom we wait so often appears to hide Himself. We who have to wait are often to fear that we do not wait aright, that our faith is too feeble, that our desire is not as upright or as earnest as it should be, that our surrender is not complete.
Amid all these causes of fear or doubt, how blessed to hear the voice of God, “Be strong, and let thine heart take courage!” Let nothing in heaven or earth or hell- let nothing keep you from waiting on your God in full assurance that it cannot be in vain.
One of the most powerful weapons that Satan uses against not only believers but humans in general is fear. Generals and strategists have known for years the power of fear. If in some way they can cause their opponent to lose hope and heart they will will win the battle. Fear is crippling and far too many times determines the outcome of a situation.
Fear is not just something seen on a large scale but also invades the smallest portions of our lives. Children can be afraid to go to school because it’s a strange environment. They can be afraid of taking test for fear of failure. You don’t have to be an adult to be afraid that you aren’t beautiful or intelligent or whether you will be accepted or an outcast. Adults may be afraid that they will never find the right companion and if they do, they can become afraid of losing them. They can be afraid of not finding a job or losing the one they have. They may live in fear of the safety of their children or their ability to provide for their families. The list can go on but you see how easy it is for fear to impact our lives.
When we add to these personal and individual fears the larger scale fears of such things as the health issues stemming from such things as the Coronavirus and the division/hatred being displayed now along with the economic uncertainty and elections and world calamity, it is no wonder that the Bible says in the last days “men’s hearts will fail them for fear.” Medical people have told us for years that the number one killer is stress and stress is just a modern word for fear. It’s more comfortable to say, “I’m stressed” instead of saying, “I’m fearful.”
One of the glorious benefits of being a child of God is the benefit of receiving His gift of peace, especially in the storm. Again and again Jesus would say to the disciples, “Be not afraid.” Actually there are numerous times that Gods first words to humans since the Fall have been, Don’t be afraid!” Why do you suppose that the Bible records all those many times God speaks those words?
In the Garden, Satan touched Eve through her fear. I believe she was afraid she was lacking in knowledge and maybe wasn’t meeting Adam’s expectation. I say this because I seen individuals over the years who believed they weren’t enough and so they are driven to become more and more. It was through this fear that Satan enticed her to eat of the forbidden fruit and if he can get us acting out of fear we will most of the time make the wrong choices.
King Saul was afraid of losing his throne to David so he set about to destroy him. Although David never wanted that throne and all he did was to benefit Saul- slaying Goliath to playing soothing music for the king, Saul’s fear moved him to the wrong and self-destructing action. How many times has fear supplied us with terribly incorrect false information? How many have lost sleep and peace over a fear only to find out it never came to pass?
As we face all that we face of known and unknown fears we must find a way to combat their power.
Two quick lessons: never face fear alone, this got Eve in trouble. There will always be situations we have never experienced before and there will always be the unknown. We can face both of these with confidence, not in ourselves but in the knowledge that we face them with a God who said,”I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. I will be with the til the end.” We then can respond, “Yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me!”
This is the secret of waiting on God. We wait for His presence, for Him to be with us.
What then shall we say to all these things? If God is for us, who can be [successful] against us? He who did not spare [even] His own Son, but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect (His chosen ones)? It is God who justifies us [declaring us blameless and putting us in a right relationship with Himself]. Who is the one who condemns us? Christ Jesus is the One who died [to pay our penalty], and more than that, who was raised [from the dead], and who is at the right hand of God interceding [with the Father] for us. Who shall ever separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? Just as it is written and forever remains written, “ For Your sake we are put to death all day long; We are regarded as sheep for the slaughter .” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us]. For I am convinced [and continue to be convinced—beyond any doubt] that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present and threatening, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the [unlimited] love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Dr. John Thompson