"Have I not commanded you?"
Have you ever had a moment when you feel like God was speaking directly to you? As if God was holding your head in His hands and speaking directly to you? That’s a powerfully motivating thing to happen. It can also be a very challenging and convicting thing to experience as it was for me.
I have found myself very discouraged lately with the evil that is happening in this world and the volume of people celebrating that evil as good. I was especially discouraged on the day after election day when I saw the proposal in Michigan pass supporting abortion; defending it as a win for reproductive rights. I feel so helpless. But then my wife shared with me the verse of the day on K-Love that morning.
It was Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Most of the time people focus on the last half of that verse, but for me, the first two statements kicked me right in the gut. I have not been living a very “strong and courageous” life. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty”. It’s easy to define earthly courage because everyone understands what that means. But what does it mean when God tells you to be strong and courageous?
I believe what He was telling me was that I shouldn’t be afraid of sharing His words. Share what His law says and most importantly share Jesus’ grace and forgiveness. It’s been said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”, and nowhere is that more apparent than in our modern society.
Good men and women are standing silently by because they fear offending someone or losing a friend or family member. Then eventually, the unthinkable becomes tolerable. And God’s people stand silent. Then it becomes acceptable. And God’s people stand silent. Then the unthinkable becomes legalized. And God’s people stand silent. And eventually, the unthinkable is applauded and celebrated by our leaders and lawmakers. Will God’s people still stand silent? Or will we finally be strong and courageous as God has commanded us. Use whatever voice we have to be courageous for God. Share His law and His gospel. Do it in the most loving way you can and don’t be afraid of earthly consequences. You can be assured that the spiritual consequences are far greater than anything you will endure on this earth.
I pray God gives each of us a special measure of courage. Work in our hearts to share His word with the world. Give us the strength to endure any worldly consequences we encounter in His name’s sake. And help us to recognize our own sinful nature and our need for our savior Jesus Christ. Amen.