This week we look at how some monumental Bible characters played important roles during times of crisis. The author of this lesson week’s lesson pointed out how each of the persons in the lesson was instrumental in a period of deliverance needed for God’s people. But what was it about these characters that led to their being used by God?
I believe it is courage. They had courage to do the unusual in times of difficulty. One definition of courage is “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.”
Using David as an example for all of our subjects, his encounter with Goliath was a clear example of courage. Even in the face of tremendous odds against him and with the potential to lose his life in the battle, David showed remarkable courage as he faced off against Goliath.
But what brought David to that moment in history? Why did he risk life and limb to fight a giant warrior? That answer is in our second definition of courage which is “the courage of one’s convictions, the confidence to act in accordance with one’s beliefs.” Listen as David confronts Goliath on the battlefield.
“Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword, with a spear, and with a javelin. But I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand.” 1 Samuel 17:45-46
David’s trust was in God – not in himself. David’s courage was not in defense of his own honor. Instead, David was motivated by the honor of God. His relationship with his God was such that he could not stand idly by while the name of God was being blasphemed.
Years later as David’s son Solomon was charged to build the temple to honor God, we find David sharing the secret of courage.
“And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for the LORD God, even my God, will be with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.” 1 Chronicles 28:20
All of us need courage to stand by our convictions and to do the right thing at the right time. The odds against us making a difference in a world full of turmoil and confusion may seem small. But just like David, Esther or the other characters of this week’s lesson, we stand tall because it is the right thing to do, not just the convenient thing to do.
Picture Elijah as he stood before powerful King Ahab. All alone he would deliver a message outlining the devastation that would befall the kingdom. That took courage. And who can forget the brave words of Queen Ester as she put her life on the line for her people. She too knew the source of her help could only be in God.
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:16
In times of crisis both King Hezekiah and Nehemiah knew who to turn to. Their help could not be in armies. The favor they needed must come from Someone bigger and stronger than the issues they faced.
“Then Hezekiah prayed before the Lord, and said: “O Lord God of Israel,the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth.” 2 Kings 19:15
Courage to defy the odds or to stand against great powers has been a hallmark of righteous men and women throughout the ages. Many have had the courage to risk everything to be true to their convictions. Even in our generation we find men and women who set examples of great courage and conviction.
We wish that David’s history of courage continued unbroken throughout his life. Unfortunately even David, with all of the evidences of God’s love and favor, succumbed to temptation. And when David fell, he fell hard.
But even in David’s great sin against Bathsheba and Uriah the Hittite, we find another useful example of courage. If David could be overcome with temptation, certainly any of us can also be overcome. Our need of prayer and watching to guard our souls never ends. The enemy as a roaring lion is seeking who he can destroy. And he is often successful.
For us, the time for courage is often when someone falls. Who among us has the courage to restore the fallen and to work tirelessly for their reconciliation with God? Many times it will take courage to show support for those who have made a public spectacle of themselves. It is easier to shun than it is to uphold. We need more courage to show others the pathway back to a relationship with God.
As believers, our courage must be grounded in God. And as we stay connected with Him He gives us courage to faces life’s trials and difficulties. The promise is ours that “greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
Here are a few Hit the Mark questions for this week’s lesson discussion:
- What does it mean to have convictions?
- What, if any, is the difference between a conviction and a belief?
- Is it ever acceptable to compromise one’s convictions? Why yes or no?
- Is courage a gift from God or is it something an individual develops over time? Explain your answer.
- What are any character traits that complement being courageous?
- Is blunt speaking an evidence of courage?
- Is it true that telling others what they are doing wrong (sins) is a sign of courage? Explain your answer?
- Is the following statement True, Mostly True, Somewhat True or Not True: It takes more courage to confront my own sins than the sins of others. Explain your answer.
We close this week’s lesson on The Controversy Continues with a simple reminder of what being connected with Christ means:
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13
Until next week, let’s all continue to Hit the Mark in Sabbath School.
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