This week, I’ve been reading and studying the Book of Joshua as though it was the very first time that I had ever opened its chapters. There is so much profound revelation in this Old Testament book. Most of us are familiar with Joshua’s first chapter that reminds us to Be strong and courageous. As I read over this particular familiar piece of scripture, I asked the question: What is courage?
Oftentimes, when we think of the word courage, a picture of a soldier, a firefighter, or a hero or heroine from your favourite film may etch itself into your mind. And, as you ponder this, you ask yourself, how can I be more courageous?
Being courageous does not mean that you are fearless. Rather, being courageous is stepping out in faith, despite fear(s) that accompany the very act.
While the book of Joshua pays its greatest attention to Israel’s new leader, Joshua, I want to focus on a different character. A woman by the name of Rahab.
Rahab, a prostitute in Jericho, performs the opposite of the instructions that were given to her by the Kimg of Jericho. Rather than exposing the two Israelite spies, she hides them from their enemy and keeps them safe. Before the spies lie down for the night, Rahab speaks to them and says:
“I know that the LORD has given this land to you and that a great fear of you has fallen on us…When we heard of it, our hearts melted and everyone’s courage failed because of you, for the LORD your God is God in heaven above and on the earth below.” Joshua 2:10,11
The people are melting in fear, and despite her own fears, she chooses to listen to her heart and performs an action of true kindness and bravery. Rahab puts her own life at risk for the sake of the people of God, despite any fear or doubt or uncertainty that still lingered in the deep places of her soul.
Courage, birthed out of faith, dissipates the fears within as the faithful God of the universe reminds us that He has a plan from beginning to end. Due to Rahab’s courage, the Israelites were able to seize the city of Jericho and cross the Jordan river into the land that they had been promised. And, the beauty of the story is that Rahab, a mere prostitute, is not only shown kindness but is taken into the new land after a true conversion experience. As though this doesn’t show the power of redemption enough, we are reminded that Rahab was in the lineage of King David and Jesus Christ.
Rahab took a risk. She possessed a certain kind of courage that would carry her into the greatest of all promises. She grew to fear God and develop great reverence for her new leader, Joshua.
What risks is God calling you into today?
In being Christians who are fully equipped with the full armor of God, we must pray for courage, the kind of courage that exhibits our faith to both the believer and the unbeliever. As a child who is fighting in the armor of God, you can guarantee that your commander in chief will never let you lose the battle, in the end. Sometimes it may require a few losses, a few no’s here and there, a few disappointments, a few failures, but if you carry on with courage, despite the lingering fear, you can be guaranteed entry into the land of promise that God has placed for your life.
Just a little over a month ago, I packed my Honda Civic to the brim and drove the 22 hours from Seattle to Los Angeles to begin my career working at an ad agency. This past week, I moved into my own apartment to live all by myself, miles from my family, in a new and foreign place. I was reminded that what I was doing , the willingness to respond to the door that God has opened, to be a witness and a testament to the unbeliever in a new land (the for profit world is quite contrary to working at World Vision), was the right choice, an action that required courage and a boldness that came from Abba, my wonderful Father in Heaven.
So, whatever choices you are facing today, know this. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to be uncertain.
You are not alone. God will give you the courage to exhibit that faith of yours. And, if you fall. It’s okay. God’s grace will catch you with a loving embrace.
Courage, dear heart.