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Be Of Good Courage

Close-up of the word COURAGE and its definition
by Sister Shannon Shafer
For Our Young People

In Joshua the seventh chapter, Joshua found himself in a very difficult and discouraging place. With his clothes rent and dust upon his head, he laid upon his face before the ark of the Lord until the eventide.

Israel had just suffered a crushing defeat, and as their leader, Joshua was in agony. Earlier that day, in his conquest of Canaan, he had sent men to view Ai, with the intent to take the city.

“Let not all the people go up, but let about two or three thousand men go up and smite Ai, and make not all the people to labour thither, for they are but few.” The men advised Joshua. 

As a result, three thousand men were sent out to fight, and fled in bitter defeat from the men of Ai. Thirty-six of them died.

Verse five tells us “And the men of Ai smote of them about thirty and six men for they chased them from before the gate even unto Shebarim, and smote them in the going down, wherefore the hearts of the people melted, and became as water.”

After an exhilarating victory over Jericho, this defeat delivered such a blow that the people’s heart, or we can say, their courage, melted.

As Joshua cried out to God for answers, God told him “Get thee up; wherefore liest thou thus upon thy face?”

The easy thing for Joshua to do was continue to lie upon the ground and wallow in his despair. That was not the answer. God wanted Joshua to get up, take courage, and face the situation before him.

Sometimes we want to act like Joshua did. Disappointments come, we are mistreated, or maybe a time of affliction or severe trial has come upon us. The easy thing to do is to lie on our face, so to speak, and feel sorry for ourselves, but just like this was not the answer for Joshua, it is not the answer for us.

This account of Joshua ends with God revealing to him the reason of the defeat, and later blessing him with a victory over Ai, but none of this would have happened if he would have stayed on his face.

Psalm 31:24, “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.”

Another example of courage is the three Hebrew boys in Daniel the third chapter. They would not bow to the king’s idol even though everyone around them was. It takes courage to live for God in this world: to go to work and school and to stand up for what is right. You may have to do something that is hard for you to do. You may have to take an unpopular stand against others who want you to do wrong. Do not back down.

God wants us to be of good courage.

Courage can also be understood as “the strength of purpose that enables one to withstand fear or difficulty. A reliance on the presence and power of God and a commitment to His commandments.”

How can you gain courage?

Encourage yourself. With God’s help you can face anything that comes your way! God will always be there to help you. David is a perfect example of this in 1 Samuel the 30th chapter. Verse six says, “And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every one for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.”

Rejoice in past victories. Think about what God has done for you in the past and remind yourself that he will come through for you again.

 Get a promise and stand on it.

Attend all the church services and young people’s services that you can and allow the songs and the Word of God to strengthen you.

Psalm 3:1-3, “Lord, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me. Many there be which say of my soul, There is no help for him in God. Selah. But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.”