Friday, August 14, 2015

Heroes, Courage & Bravery

Heroes, Courage & Bravery

 The Bible is full of heroic people displaying courage and bravery. There is a whole list of their names in the Epistle to the Hebrews in chapter eleven. These were people of faith, men like Noah, Abraham, Moses and David to name a few, and women like Sarah and Rahab. Rahab’s claim to fame was that she saved herself and her family from certain death by hiding the Israelite spies from the officials of Jericho who were searching for them. The reward for Rahab risking her own life was that she and her family were spared when the walls of Jericho ‘came a tumbling down.’ And far from being a skeleton in Jesus’s closet His descendancy from ‘the harlot Rahab’ is listed in Matthew 1:5.

Courage and bravery is not always about men charging into battle waving swords! At the risk of her own life Esther courageously approached Ahasuerus to intercede on behalf of her people who were to face certain annihilation on account of a decree. ‘And so I will go to the king, which is against the law, and if I perish, I perish!’ Esther 4:16b.

Then there was David who, as a slip of a lad, faced the sword-wielding giant Goliath with only a sling and a few stones for a weapon. Rather than reject the Triune God Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den. Likewise Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were cast into the fiery furnace. ‘Our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king.’ Daniel 3:17b.  Such bravery!

And what about the Apostle Paul who kept on keeping on? ‘Been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea’ etc. 2 Corinthians 11:23b-25

What about Mary? When the angel Gabriel gave her the news that she was the virgin referred to in Isaiah 7:14 she said, ‘Behold the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word.’ Luke 1:38. How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph never mind to a society full of intolerant Pharisees? Courage and bravery!

What about the human being that spent nine months developing in Mary’s womb? The greatest hero and exemplar of courage and bravery is, of course, Jesus! Christians sometimes forget that He is fully man as well as being fully God. It was as a man He saved His elect from their sins. Jesus knew full well what He was getting Himself into when He began His ministry. He was well-versed in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53! He was well-versed in all the Scriptures as was proven when as a man He was tested in the wilderness by the very devil himself. From there at every step of His ministry He was attacked by those whom the devil has blinded, e.g., the Sadducees, the elders and the scribes, not forgetting the Pharisees. In the face of all this diversity as a man Jesus perfectly kept every jot and tittle of God’s Law as representative of those who can’t, i.e., His elect, which is all who truly believe! And who can forget the words He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, ‘O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’ Matthew 26:39b. Thus He went to the cross and God poured out His wrath on Him (not us!)

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