My Musings

Undaunted Courage in the Bible and in You

Undaunted Courage in the Bible and in You

“If we as God’s people refuse to speak about sin because it will make others uncomfortable, we are cowards.” ~ Franklin Graham (July 10, 2014)

Moral courage has become unpopular with some Christian leaders today who prefer to be more pleasing to the world and less controversial. Nevertheless (I love that word), I want to offer some biblical ground on which to stand for a return of moral courage in the church and our culture, always rooted in wisdom and love. This is, of course, a short list humbly offered in the same spirit as a similar but better list in Hebrews 11. Here’s mine:

  1. Noah: It was with “holy fear” and persistent faith that Noah built the ark not knowing what was coming (Hebrews 11:6). As others kept on eating, drinking and marrying, Noah kept building (Luke 17:27).
  2. Abraham left Ur for parts unknown at God’s call (Hebrews 11:8).
  3. Moses approached Pharaoh, under God’s charge, to boldly demand, “Let my people go!” (Exodus 8:1). It also took courage to pass through the Red Sea into a wilderness between the same walls of water that would soon collapse on the Egyptian army.
  4. Nathan bravely called King David on the carpet for his sins of adultery, deception and conspiracy to rub out the loyal husband of a woman he impregnated (2 Samuel 12). David could have ignored Nathan or punished him for speaking truth to power but Nathan didn’t care. He did his job undaunted.
  5. Hezekiah and Jerusalem, with Isaiah’s counsel, held firm under the threat of a huge Assyrian army whose general tried to undermine Hezekiah’s confidence and break down the morale of the last remaining Israelites. But they were undaunted (Isaiah 36-38). Hezekiah’s bravery was not without much prayer.
  6. Esther revealing Haman’s plot to destroy her people

  7. Esther showed courage when she said, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16) and took steps necessary to save her people at great risk to herself.
  8. Mordecai, Esther’s cousin and guardian, boldly refused to bow down to the haughty Haman (Esther 2:3).
  9. Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself with the king’s diet and training regimen. This scared the official administrating the regimen but God favored Daniel and blessed his courage (Daniel 1). Later, Daniel’s public moral courage got him thrown into a lion’s den. God protected Daniel once again (Daniel 6).
  10. Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego bravely defied King Nebuchadnezzar’s command to bow down and worship a golden image in Babylon (Daniel 3). Trusting in God, they refused again in the king’s presence enraging him so much he had them thrown into a fiery furnace. Astonishingly, God delivered them.
  11. God’s Prophets: This list would be endless if I illustrated the moral courage of all the prophets who proclaimed God’s word in rebellious and wicked times, challenging public sin and sin-pushers.
  12. John the Baptist fearlessly blasted Herod Antipas for stealing his brother’s wife, and for “all the wicked things which Herod had done.” (Luke 3:19). For his undaunted bravery and boldness, John lost his head.
  13. Jesus, in addition to his scathing rebuke of the Pharisees for hypocrisy (Matthew 23), did not pull punches when describing his entire generation as “evil and adulterous” (Matthew 12:39 and 16:4); “unbelieving” (Mark 9:19); “wicked” (Luke 11:29), “perverse” (Matthew 17:17 and Luke 9:41); and “sinful” (Mark 8:38). Yet, he wept with compassion for his generation (Luke 19:41-42). Jesus’ famous use of a weapon of force to cleanse the temple of exploitative money-changers and merchants also took moral courage (John 2:13-22). Finally, His obedient journey to the cross took moral courage to its highest level.
  14. Stephen, on trial and in the face of false witnesses, stood up to the Sanhedrin bravely proclaiming truth at all cost (Acts 7). They killed him.
  15. Peter: His cowardice in disowning Jesus three times was not fatal (at least not for Peter). Once forgiven, he bravely bounced back big time! When the church was born, Peter publicly rebuked his generation as “perverse” (Acts 2:40) and , with explicit boldness, told his audience that they had crucified the Messiah (Acts 2:36). No apostle preached with more undaunted courage than did Peter.
  16. Paul: The need for Christian courage is clear in Paul’s reference to spiritual armor in Ephesians 6:10-18 and spiritual warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:1-6, where he spoke of demolishing strongholds, arguments and pretentions that are set up against the knowledge of God.

Evil hates exposure like Dracula hates sunlight. Jesus said: “For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.” (John 3:20). Jesus was willing to face that hatred. We too must face hostility for standing firm for our faith, for the life of the innocent and unborn, for marriage as Jesus defined it (Mathew 19:4-6), for truth in an era of lies and much more. We can lose popularity and even our lives, but moral courage remains a must, not a maybe.

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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