Definition: Face or overcome a difficult or dangerous situation despite being fearful
Synonyms: Bravery, Boldness, Daring
Read Exodus 1: 8—12 & 22 and 2: 1—10
Jochebed showed a great deal of courage when facing an edict from a mighty Pharaoh that newborn baby boys were to be thrown into the Nile.
Moses is born into this traumatic time. Desperate to save her son, Jochebed kept him hidden. Every whimper from this baby must have brought fear into her heart, but her faith kept her steady during the long days and scary nights. Three months pass and this frightened mother knew she must execute a different strategy to save her son’s life.
Making a basket of papyrus reeds and waterproofing it with tar; Jochebed placed Moses in the little boat and positioned it safely in the reeds. Miriam watched over him, waiting for Pharaoh’s daughter’s usual arrival.
Notice that Jochebed’s courage is not impulsive or foolhardy. This woman planned her strategy. She knew where Pharaoh’s daughter frequented, and additionally made the basket from the same reeds Egyptian riverboats were built.
Jochebed demonstrated grace and courage under pressure. Jochebed prompted her daughter Miriam to negotiate a deal for the care of Moses, and the Bible tells us Jochebed took her baby home, and when the boy was older returned him to Pharaoh’s daughter.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: Courage despite subjugation.
Five Daughters of Zelophehad
Read Numbers 26: 28 & 33; 27: 1—11; and Chapter 36; Joshua 17: 1—4
Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah, Milcah, and Tirzah are the five daughters of Zelophehad, who belonged to the tribe of Manasseh.
Although we think women fighting for equality as a modern concept, it is not true. Women in the Bible often overcame the suppressive culture and gained rights for their gender. These five sisters are an example of courageous women who fought the system to obtain property rights for women.
What I like about this story is how the women worked together; proving false the stereotypical belief that women always undercut each other.
Approaching Moses was a big deal in this culture. Do you suppose they thought about getting a man on their side and let him handle the legal matters? Not these women, instead they used the system God put in place and were able to succeed in getting their property rights – not just for themselves, but for future women.
It is interesting that Moses consulted God before making a decision, and returned declaring “The daughters of Zelophehad speak what is right; (Numbers 27:7a NKJV). What a shock, God is not a chauvinist.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: Courage can instigate change.
Read Judges 11: 1—11 & verses 29—40
“And she said, ‘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).
Jephthah’s daughter showed great courage by sacrificing her life to maintain her father’s vow to God. She not only showed courage but a gracious spirit.
Only asking for a couple of months to spend time with friends and mourn her new status showed a young woman who is not only unselfish, but demonstrates maturity and strength.
Since God’s law forbade human sacrifice, there is a debate about how this vow was carried out. Most likely the girl never married nor had children: a tremendous sacrifice for a woman in this culture. It also denied Jephthah descendants, for this daughter was his only child.
On a side note, it is interesting that it became a custom for young Israelite women to go away for four days each year to lament the fate of Jephthah’s daughter. (Judges 11:40)
Thought or Action Step for the Day: Courage through self-sacrifice
Read 2 Chronicles 21: 5—7 & 18—22; and 2 Chronicles 22 and 23
In a royal atmosphere of extreme cruelty and evil, Jehosheba exhibited extraordinary courage.
This reign of evil starts when Jehoshaphat dies leaving his oldest son Jehoram to inherit the throne of Judah. Jehoram marries Athaliah, a daughter of the evil King Ahab of Israel, and she encouraged Jehoram’s wicked ways.
Jehoram dies and Ahaziah, (Jehoram and Athaliah’s son) ascends to the throne.
Athaliah used her power as queen-mother to increase Baal worship in the land, among other evil practices.
When Athaliah’s son perishes, she takes over by force, killing anyone who could claim the throne, including her grandchildren.
But there was one courageous woman in court. Jehosheba, saved her nephew named Joash. Hiding him with his nurse for six years in the Temple of God was no easy feat.
In the seventh year of Athaliah’s reign the priest, Jehoiada, (Jehosheba’s husband) summoned his courage and with the help of other priests, military commanders, and clan leaders anointed Joash king. Athaliah’s reign of terror ended when she was put to death.
Jehosheba’s courageous act brought Baal worship to an end and saved Judah from the reign of a very wicked woman.
Thought or Action Step for the Day: Courage overcomes evil
DAY 5 OR WEEKEND REFLECTIONS
Courage despite subjugation.
You don’t live a life in subjugation, but there are probably times you feel overpowered by a boss, family member, or circumstances beyond your control.
When this happens remember Jochebed, and know God will help you overcome obstacles that come your way.
Courage can instigate change.
The example of the daughters of Zelophehad should give us the courage to challenge the authorities, laws, or cultural norms that are unfair or against God’s laws. For instance: abortion, traditional marriage, discrimination against Christians. These women model the appropriate way to fight for what is right.
Courage through self-sacrifice
Sacrificing a woman due to an impulsive vow is difficult to understand from our culture’s perspective. However, even in our culture, courage may require sacrifice. Perhaps you will be asked for a financial sacrifice to give to missions, a sacrifice of comfort to take a mission trip, or a sacrifice of time to serve where God is leading.
Courage overcomes evil
Sometimes it is easier to stay quiet or avoid actions that might point a finger in your direction. You are courageous when you do what is right, especially when you risk your reputation, livelihood, or even your life, as Jehosheba did.