Morning by Morning, December 5 - Courage that Overcomes Cowardice
Good morning, Lord Jesus. I speak out Your name and listen for Your leading, as I wait on You -- Father, Son, and Holy Spirit -- in surrender and silence, in the communion of prayer. ...
"Next to him was Shammah son of Agee, the Hararite. The Philistines gathered together at Lehi, where there was a plot of ground full of lentils; and the army fled from the Philistines. But he took his stand in the middle of the plot, defended it, and killed the Philistines; and the Lord brought about a great victory" (2 Samuel 23:11-12).
Israel battled the Philistines, who came to plunder their land and steal their harvest, time and time again. All that happened to them under the Old Covenant is to serve as an example to us under the New Covenant, to teach us the spiritual lessons and spiritual principles to face our spiritual enemies, to embrace our spiritual promises, and receive our spiritual inheritance. "These things happened to them to serve as an example, and they were written down to instruct us, on whom the ends of the ages have come" (1 Corinthians 10:11).
Under the New Covenant in Christ, our battle is not against the physical Philistines but the spiritual Philistines, not defending our harvest field of lintels but our harvest field of the fullness of the kingdom of God. "For our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the principalities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places" (Ephesians 6:12). And in our daily struggle to live by the grace of God into the fullness of the kingdom of God, we continue to face our spiritual enemy, "the thief (who) comes only to steal and kill and destroy" (John 10:10a). But at the same time, we look to the One who has overcome our enemy and empowers us by Your grace to overcome him as well in the power of Your name and the character of Your nature You're forming in us. "(You) came that (we) may have life, and have it abundantly" (John 10:10b).
We have much to learn from the example of Shammah, one of David's "mighty men" (2 Samuel 23:8). He refused to run. He refused to compromise or appease. When others fled away, "he took his stand" (2 Samuel 23:12). His courage inspired courage in his companions; his stand encouraged others to stand. "And the Lord brought about a great victory!" (2 Samuel 12:12).
Give me more courage, Lord. Deliver me from the "snare" of people-pleasing, rooted in "the fear of man," insecurity, false humility, self-centered pride and self-preservation, that would keep me from standing firm in the faith, defending the truth, and honoring Your name, no matter the cost (Proverbs 29:25). Give me a holy disgust for cowardice that masquerades as tolerance and appeasement that disguises itself as cultural correctness and social sensibility. By the power of Your grace, may I be done with that. "But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted ... their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8). And that's no place for anyone who is called by Your name and being conformed to Your nature to proclaim Your truth and live it out by the power of Your grace.
You didn't die for a lie, but that I would live in Your truth. "For God has not given (me) a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). The "spirit of fear and timidity," the "spirit of cowardice," must go in Jesus' name! (2 Timothy 1:7 NLT, NRSV). And in it's place, come, Holy Spirit, and give me courage -- courage to take my stand for the truth, to take my stand for You and the honor of Your name. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel" (Romans 1:16).
Your Word commands me to "stand firm" against "the spiritual forces of evil" however they manifest in my world -- whether through people, through culture, through institutions, or even through a compromising church (Ephesians 6:12). Your Word commands me to "Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around (my) waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness" along with "the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:13-14).
So by the power of Your grace, I do so. By the power of Your grace, may I continue to do so. And by the power of Your grace, may I "be strong and very courageous" to take my stand in Your truth and the honor of Your name, to live into the fullness of the kingdom of God, and to lead those You've entrusted to my charge to live there too, in the promise of Your harvest and the fullness of our inheritance in You (Joshua 1:6). In You, I can be "strong and very courageous; (not) frightened or dismayed, for the Lord (my) God is with (me) wherever (I) go" (Joshua 1:9). In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.