COURAGEOUS FAITH DEFINED
Courageous faith is a brave action taken to glorify God and further His kingdom, knowing God is with you always.
“So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the LORD” (Psalm 31: 24 NLT)!
“This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).
WHAT COURAGEOUS FAITH IS NOT
Courageous faith is not impulsive or foolhardy. Satan tempted Jesus to jump off the highest point of the Temple. On the surface, jumping looks like Jesus trusts God to save Him. But how did He answer Satan?
“Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the LORD your God'” (Luke 4:12).
Making that leap off the Temple is like walking a tightrope across a canyon. Perhaps brave by some people’s standards; however, the purpose of this “brave” action is for money, fame, or entertainment. Shock value and attention was not Jesus’ goal.
“…..whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31)
REAL ACTS OF COURAGEOUS FAITH
Biblical examples of courageous faith include David and Goliath, Daniel in the lion’s den, Moses facing Pharaoh, Stephen’s stoning, and despite the danger Paul’s onward march to Rome. Yes, faithful and brave individuals indeed. However, they are all men and it’s hard for us to relate to these “bigger than life” events.
Thus, today we look at four acts in Scripture that, though not as well known, are more relatable to our daily lives. Here are four biblical women who set an example for us in our quest for courageous faith.
THE COURAGEOUS FAITH OF JOCHEBED
Expecting her third child, Jochebed probably feared her approaching due date, and with good reason! You see she was a Hebrew slave in Egypt and the mighty Pharaoh decreed the drowning death of all newborn baby boys.
Do you think she prayed for a girl?
In Jochebed’s eyes having a boy was scary and sad, but she didn’t know God’s plans to free the Jewish people through this boy. Although Jochebed didn’t know his future, she did know that she must save her son’s life.
Subsequently, she hides her youngest child and, I suspect, begs God for a plan to avoid this cruel edict. Surely panicked ensued with every whimper. Additionally, this mother probably struck fear in the heart of her other children to assure their silence. But the day came when hiding was no longer an option.
Making a basket of papyrus reeds and waterproofing it with tar; Jochebed placed the baby in the little boat and positioned it safely in the reeds by the Nile River. Miriam, Jochebed’s daughter, watched over him, waiting for Pharoah’s daughter to make her usual appearance.
Notice this mother’s actions were not careless, but instead she executed a strategy that kept her son safe. She knew where the Pharaoh’s daughter frequented, and additionally made the basket from the same reeds as Egyptian riverboats
The plan works. Smitten the Pharoah’s daughter wants to raise this Hebrew child. Bravely, this seven-year-old slave child approached royalty and told her that she knows of a Hebrew woman willing to nurse the baby.
The Bible tells us that Jochebed cared for the baby and, according to the agreement, after weaning him she turned her son over to the palace – another act of courageous faith.
Read Jochebed’s story in Exodus 1: 8-12 & 22 and 2: 1-10
COURAGEOUS FAITH OF THE FIVE DAUGHTERS OF ZELOPHEHAD
Never heard of them? Their names are Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah; they belonged to the tribe of Manasseh.
God instructed Moses to divide the Promised Land among the tribes. No land was assigned to these sisters since they lost their father and had no brothers.
Although we think women fighting for equality as a modern concept, it’s not true. Women in the Bible often overcame the suppressive culture and gained rights for their gender. These five women are an example of courageous women who fought the system to obtain property rights.
Approaching Moses was a big deal – equivalent to taking our case to the Supreme Court of the US.
They succeeded in getting their property rights and subsequent rights for future women too! It is interesting to note that Moses consulted God before making a decision, and returned declaring:
“The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right” (Numbers 27:7a NKJV).
Imagine that, God is not a sexist! Another aspect I like about this story is how the women worked together; proving false the stereotypical belief that women undercut one another. You can read their story in Numbers 27:1-7; 36, and Joshua 17: 1-6
COURAGEOUS FAITH OF JEPHTHAH’S DAUGHTER
Jephthah had a difficult life because he was a son of a prostitute. His half-brothers drove him off their land and prevented him from his rightful inheritance.
However, Jephthah was a skilled warrior, and when the Ammonites attacked the people of his tribe, his brothers changed their minds and Jephthah is welcomed home again.
Now, this is where the story gets confusing. It is understandable that Jephthah wanted to prove himself worthy and he asked for God’s blessing. However, he didn’t stop there but instead made a rash vow.
“If you give the Ammonites into my hands, whatever comes out of the door of my house to meet me when I return in triumph from the Ammonites will be the Lord’s, and I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering” (Judges 11:30-31).
It’s hard to understand why he made such a vow. Was he counting on an animal coming out of his house first? Such a risky and unnecessary promise.
Foolishness often comes to no good, and this ill-advised act was no different. Jephthah’s only child, a daughter, greeted him enthusiastically upon his return.
Grieved Jephthah tore his clothes in anguish. However, his daughter answered him:
“Father, if you have made a vow to the LORD, you must do to me what you have vowed, for the LORD has given you a great victory over your enemies, the Ammonites” (Judges 11:36 NLT).
Her willingness to sacrifice to maintain her father’s vow to God showed not only courageous faith but a gracious spirit. She had one request – to spend time with friends and mourn her new status.
Since God’s laws forbade human sacrifice, there is a debate regarding how the vow was carried out. Most likely Jephthah’s daughter never married. Singleness and childlessness for a woman in biblical times was a great sacrifice.
You can read this story in Judges 11: 1-11, 29, & 40. Note in verse 40 that it is a custom for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. I wonder how much lamenting goes on during these getaways, but it is kind of a cool tradition.
COURAGEOUS FAITH OF JEHOSHEBA
There’s a new queen in town. Her name was Athaliah.
She was the daughter of the evil King Ahab of Israel and, subsequently, married the wicked King Jehoram, of Judah. When Jehoram passed, she became queen-mother because her son, Ahaziah, became king of Judah. Unfortunately, Athaliah encouraged her son’s corrupt reign. Consequently, Baal worship and other evil practices continue. After eight years of this abominable reign, God took Ahaziah’s life also.
At this point, Athaliah decides to take matters into her own hands and begins murduring the rest of Judah’s royal family, including her grandchildren. After her killing spree, she ascends the throne, the only women to ever reign over Judah. Just like her husband and son, Athaliah’s reign was evil. Thus the people were still terrorized and abused.
However, one brave woman intervenes. Jehosheba saved her nephew (one of Athaliah’s grandchildren and Ahaziah’s son) named Joash. Hiding him with his nurse for six years in the Temple of God was no easy feat, and, of course, she risked her own life.
As a result of Johosheba’s courageous faith, her husband and priest, Jehoiada, was able to organize a coup. Hence Athaliah was overthrown and killed during the seventh year of her reign. Finally, Judah’ terror ends because of one brave woman named Johosheba.
Jehoida (Johosheba’s husband and priest) greatly influenced Joash, this new child king; thus Baal worship ended. Consequently, during the next forty years, God was honored in Judah once again.
REFLECTIONS ON COURAGEOUS FAITH
COURAGEOUS FAITH OVERCOMES FEAR
Jochebed demonstrated grace and courageous faith under pressure. While you don’t live the life of a slave, there are probably times you feel overpowered by a boss, family member, or circumstances beyond your control.
Don’t allow anything or anyone to defeat your faith and force you to do something you know is wrong; e.g., Daniel continued to pray despite a king’s edict, Esther disobeyed man’s law to save the Jews, and Paul continued to preach in the face of imprisonment.
When you need to summon courageous faith know that God will help you overcome obstacles. Like Moses’ mother pray, plan, and create a strategy, thereby avoiding impulsive and foolhardy behavior that doesn’t please or honor God.
Seek God and stay steadfast against the odds.
COURAGEOUS FAITH CAN INSTIGATE CHANGE
The example of the daughters of Zelophehad show us the proper way to challenge authorities, laws, and cultural norms that are unfair or against God’s laws. For instance, abortion, traditional marriage, and discrimination against Christians are all worth fighting for in today’s culture.
A fascinating sidenote: modern-day rulings use this law. To make a point, the American Bar Association Journal cited this law in 1934. Unfortunately, there was a misuse of the biblical edict in a 2013 Supreme Court case; however, the point is that thousands of years later we still hear these women’s voices. Therefore we must be careful about our decisions because we may impact future generations.
You can read more about the wrongful ruling by clicking here. Be forewarned: the author of this article disagrees with my position regarding the misuse of this law. She agrees with the final judgment.
COURAGEOUS FAITH MAY REQUIRE SACRIFICE
Sacrificing Jephthah’s daughter due to an impulsive vow is difficult to understand from our culture’s perspective. That is why Jesus
“But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one” (Matthew 5: 34-37 NIV).
However, while foolish vows are forbidden, often courageous faith requires enduring hardship. A financial setback to help those in need, forgoing comfort to take a mission trip, giving time to serve where God is leading are all examples of courageous faith that require sacrifice.
COURAGEOUS FAITH CONQUERS EVIL
Sometimes it’s easier to stay quiet or avoid actions that might point a finger in your direction. Johosheba chose the hard path despite the risks. Acts of courageous faith may require you to what is right, even at the risk of your reputation, livelihood, or even your life
Can’t think of instances in your life? How about when your boss asks you to do something that is shady or against policy, how do you respond? Are you active in “March for Life” or other controversial organizations that others might disapprove? When others make fun of those who believe the “old fashioned” biblical standards, do you stand up for your beliefs or remain quiet?
Hey, I am not saying I do all these things perfectly, just want all of us to think.
So what do you think? Courageous faith is different from secular bravery. Is there a person in your life that you admire because of their courageous faith?
Encourage other readers by commenting below about a time you showed courageous faith – or perhaps missed an opportunity.
Well, it is the middle of February. How is your February “Fruit of the Spirit” workout coming? Are you resting in Jesus more? Have you caught yourself practicing the fruit of the S
Look for the March’s training session at the end of this month. We are talking about
Blessings until next time.