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Courageous Acts
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We have all heard of Samson taking care of a lion with his
bare hands, but what about the courageous acts of other people?
     “Courage consists, not in blindly overlooking danger, but in seeing and conquering it.” This saying shows us that in examining all odds there is a time and place that one must not think of taking the easy way out but of forging in one’s mind the fact that when a bad situation looks us in the face that we should do more than stand firm in our beliefs.
     Courage implies having a firmness of mind and the will to overcome a difficult task in the face of danger. We must conquer the odds and forge on to greater heights. We must have the mental or moral strength to resist opposition.
     But sometimes this may be easier said than done. What may look easy on the surface may be difficult when a task must be performed.
     Many of us have changed jobs in our life. In doing so, we usually had another job waiting for us in a place we have previously visited. But Abraham was told in Genesis, chapter 12, to leave his abode and go to a new land, a place he never visited, a place he knew nothing about. In verse 4 we read that he departed without questioning why. We also read of this in Heb. 11:8:
     By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went.
     Again Abraham illustrates obedience and courage in Genesis, chapter 22. We read that Elohim required that Abraham take Isaac, his son, to a place to offer him for a burnt offering. Abraham did not question such a request but obeyed. Because of Abraham’s obedience, Yahweh provided a ram to be used in place of his son, verses 11 through verse 13:
     And the angel of Yahweh called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I. And He said, lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest Elohim, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from Me. And Abraham lifted up his eyes, and looked, and behold behind him a ram caught in a thicket by his horns: and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the stead of his son.
     Abraham’s example of obedience and courage should show us that when we are in need that Yahweh will provide, just as the name Abraham gave to the place of this sacrifice, Yahweh-jireh, meaning Yahweh will provide, verse 14.
     When the Israelites bordered the land of Canaan preparing to enter the promised land, Moses sent 12 men, one from each of the 12 tribes, to spy. They were commissioned to determine the strength of the people and whether the land was good or bad.
     In Numbers 13:20 Moses tells them to “be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land.”
     When the spies returned, all but Joshua and Caleb said that the people of this land were strong. Joshua and Caleb tried their best to persuade the Israelites that the land was good and not to worry about the people because Yahweh would be with them,
     Only rebel not ye against Yahweh, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and Yahweh is with us: fear them not, Numbers 14:9.
     We may well remember the story. Because the people would not believe Joshua and Caleb, Numbers 14:10, that Yahweh would cause the Israelites to continue their forty year journey through the wilderness and that of all the people, 20 years old and older, except for Joshua and Caleb, would die in the wilderness.
     When Moses’ days were coming to a close, in Deut. 31:6 we read of Moses telling the Israelites to have courage as they were getting ready to go over the river Jordan:
     Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for Yahweh thy Elohim, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
     In verse 7, Moses spake similarly to Joshua:
     Be strong and of a good courage.
     In each case the Hebrew word amats, translated courage, means to be alert, be strong, to become steadfast and to remain confident.
     In verse 23, Yahweh charged Joshua,
     To be strong and of a good courage.
     Yahweh promised to be with him as he brought the children of Israel into the promised land. In Joshua 1:5-7, Yahweh again charges Joshua:
     There shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. Be strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses My servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest.
     What we should take heed from these verses is to remain steadfast in all that we do. We must not waiver from the truth. By doing so Yahweh will remain with us.
     As Moses told Israel to be of good courage when Israel was preparing to cross the river Jordan, David spoke to Solomon, his son, when David was old, concerning the building of a house unto the name of Yahweh. In 1 Chron. 22:11-13 we read what David told Solomon:
     Now, my son, Yahweh be with thee: and prosper thou, and build the house of Yahweh thy Elohim, as He hath said of thee. Only Yahweh give thee wisdom and understanding, and give thee charge concerning Israel, that thou mayest keep the law of Yahweh thy Elohim. Then shalt thou prosper, if thou takest heed to fulfill the statutes and judgments which Yahweh charged Moses with concerning Israel: be strong, and of good courage; dread not, nor be dismayed.
     David reiterates this charge to his son Solomon in 1 Chron. 28: 20:
     And David said to Solomon his son, Be strong and of good courage, and do it: fear not, nor be dismayed: for Yahweh Elohim even my Elohim, will be with thee; He will not fail nor forsake thee, until thou hast finished all the work for the service of the house of Yahweh.
     Yes, if we wish to remain and be on the good side of Yahweh, then we, too, must abide by His laws.
     Asa was king of Judah for some forty one years. The prophet Obed told Asa, in 2 Chron. 15:2:
     Yahweh is with you, while ye be with Him; and if ye seek Him, He will be found of you; but if ye forsake Him, He will forsake you.
     Obed further tells Asa, in verse 7, to be strong and by being strong his work shall be rewarded. In verse 8 we read that Asa
     Took courage, put away all the abominations out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and renewed the altar of Yahweh.
     Jehosaphat was the son of Asa. He sought after Yahweh, 2 Chron.17:1-5:
     And Jehoshaphat his son reigned in his stead, and strengthened himself against Israel. And he placed forces in all the fenced cities of Judah, and set garrisons in the land of Judah, and in the cities of Ephraim, which Asa his father had taken. And Yahweh was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; but sought to Yahweh Elohim of his father, and walked in His commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. Therefore Yahweh stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance.
     As a result he prospered,
     Now Jehoshaphat had riches and honour in abundance, and joined affinity with Ahab, 2 Chron. 18:1.
     During his reign he set judges in all the fenced cities in Judah, 2 Chron. 19:5. In verse 11 he charged these judges to “deal courageously, and Yahweh shall be with the good.”
     The lesson to learn from these words is to be strong and act. By remaining true to Yahweh He shall be on our side. He will be there when our need is great.
     In 2 Chron. 32, we find that Sennacherib, king of Assyria, along with his armies, came upon Jerusalem to besiege the city. In verses 7 and 8 we read what Hezekiah told the people:
     Be strong and courageous, be not afraid nor dismayed for the king of Assyria, nor for all the multitude that is with him: for there be more with us than with him: with him is an arm of flesh: but with us is Yahweh our Elohim to help us, and to fight our battles.
     What Hezekiah told the people was exactly what Yahweh told Joshua. Yahweh promises to be at our side if we remain true to Him.
     Because Hezekiah and Isaiah prayed and cried unto heaven, Yahweh saved the inhabitants of Jerusalem from king Sennacherib, verse 20-22:
     And for this cause Hezekiah the king, and the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz, prayed and cried to heaven. And Yahweh sent an angel, which cut off all the mighty men of valour, and the leaders and captains in the camp of the king of Assyria. So he returned with shame of face to his own land. And when he was come into the house of his mighty one, they that came forth of his own bowels slew him there with the sword. Thus Yahweh saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.
     In verse 26, we further read that Hezekiah humbled himself before Yahweh because pride momentarily got the better part of him. Because he did so we read in verse 30 that Hezekiah prospered in all his works.
     Yes, no matter what danger comes upon us, if we remember that Yahweh is our protector, defender and supplier, then Yahweh promises to be with us to give us those things we need.
     We read in I Samuel, chapter 17, at a time when the Israelites were battling the Philistines, the champion of the Philistines, Goliath, spoke to the Israelites to send out their champion to make battle. Whoever won the battle, the Philistines’s champion or the Israelites’ champion, would indicate which side won the battle between the Israelites or the Philistines.
     This pronouncement dismayed and caused great fear among the Israelites because of Goliath’s stature, verse 11:
     Then Saul and all Israel heard those words of the Philistine, they were dismayed, and greatly afraid.
But David proved otherwise. He volunteered to go. He even refused to wear Saul’s protective armor as it was not “proved,”
     And David girded his sword upon his armour, and he assayed to go; for he had not proved it. And David said unto Saul, I cannot go with these; for I have not proved them. And David put them off him, 1 Sam. 17:39.
     So David took his sling along with 5 smooth rocks to meet Goliath. For a fact David knew that Yahweh was his protector and provider. David had sure confidence in Yahweh when he told Goliath, in verse 47, that:
     The battle is Yahweh’s, and He will give you into our hands.
     With one stone thrown with his sling David felled Goliath and went and cut off Goliath’s head with Goliath’s own sword and the battle was over.
     The courage David shown here further exemplifies the faith we should have in Yahweh keeping His word that He will be on our side if we remain true to Him.
     Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah, Est. 2:5-7, was the cousin of Mordecai, a Jewish captive, who held an office at Shushan and was the foster father of Esther. During the captivity, Esther was placed in the custody of Hegai, the keeper of the women under king Ahasuerus.
     When the king’s wife, Vashti, refused to comply with the king’s request to have her come to him, he became very angry with her. He requested his wise men to help him to determine what to do with the queen. The king feared that if the queen’s behavior went unpunished that contempt and wrath would bear fruit amongst the princesses of the kingdom against their husbands.
     The advice of the wise men, to which the king agreed, was to give the queen’s estate to another and then “all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both small and great,” Est. 1:20.
     The method which the king chose to select a new queen was to select officers to search the provinces for women to be brought to Shushan for a period of twelve months for purification. After that they were presented to the king, one at a time, to receive whatever she wanted.
     When it was Esther’s turn to go before the king she requested nothing new. Because she won grace and favor in the king’s sight, she was made queen.
     Even at this time Esther had not revealed who she really was, as Mordecai, her foster father, had charged her:
     Esther had not yet shewed her kindred nor her people; as Mordecai had charged her: for Esther did the commandment of Mordecai, like as when she was brought up with him, Est. 2:20.
     So the king did not know that he had made a Jewish woman to be queen.
     Soon a new person came to power under the king. He must have influenced the king very much because all the king’s servants bowed and held this man, whose name was Haman, in very high reverence. The Hebrew word used for “bow” was the same one used in relation to idols. It is a different word than that used to indicate bowing to a king . So Haman must have been a very important person in the king’s court.
     Problems soon arose when Mordecai did not bow to Haman. Haman was full of wrath, Est. 3:5, and conceived a plan to destroy all of Yahweh’s people. What he told the king was that there was a group of people who lived in his kingdom who would not obey the king’s decrees. He thus persuaded the king to allow him to have all these people destroyed:
     And the king took his ring from his hand, and gave it unto Haman the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, the Jews’ enemy. And the king said unto Haman, The silver is given to thee, the people also, to do with them as it seemeth good to thee, Est. 3:10-11.
     The king agreed to this, not realizing that his queen, Esther, was part of this group.
     Haman commanded, in the name of the king, all of the king’s lieutenants, governors and rulers of every province in the kingdom, that on a certain date that they were:
     To destroy, to kill, to cause to perish, all Jews, Est. 3:13.
     There existed a standing king’s decree that if a person came in to the presence of the king, and was not called to do so, that the king could have the person put to death, Est. 4:11. Esther was aware of this decree, but she also knew, and was persuaded by Mordecai, that if she did nothing that she and her house would be destroyed.
     Esther requested that Mordecai have all the Jews in Shushan, along with her maidens, to fast for three days and nights. After the three complete days and nights were completed, she went before the king, not knowing what to expect.
     When the king saw her he extended his scepter to her indicating he would not have her put to death. The king asked her what her request was. Knowing Haman’s plans but not wanting to tell the king at this time, she requested that Haman and the king join her at a banquet.
     When Haman was told of the queen’s request he was delighted, Est. 5:9, and he told his family and friends of what was to be done. About this same time Haman saw Mordecai once again and his indignation towards Mordecai was rekindled. On the advice of his friends and family Haman had gallows built in order to hang Mordecai.
     The banquet was scheduled before that time when the Jews were to be killed. The night before the banquet the king could not sleep and he had the chronicles read to him. In the chronicles it was written of the help that Mordecai had given to the king to prevent a rebellion against the king.
     The king asked what had been done for Mordecai as a reward.
     When no one knew of anything he requested that whoever was in the king’s court at that time to come to him to give advice. The only person in the court at that time was Haman.
     When the king asked Haman what should be done to a man in whom the king delighted to honor, Haman thought the king was talking about him. His answer was to have this man arrayed in royal clothes, placed upon the king’s horse and paraded through the streets proclaiming:
     Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delighted to honor, Est. 6:9.
     Haman’s ego was put down when the king told him that the person he wanted to honor was Mordecai. When the king told Haman to do so to Mordecai, Haman fulfilled the wishes of the king. After he completed the task, Haman quickly went to his house to be consoled by his family and friends. While being consoled the king’s chamberlains came to bring Haman to the banquet.
     Chapter 7 of Esther tells us that at the banquet Esther told the king that she was a Jewess and that Haman had planned to eradicate the Jews. This irritated the king to no end so that he had Haman hanged on the gallows which had been prepared for Mordecai.
     The last two chapters of Esther tell us how Mordecai rose to be second in power under the king, the position which Haman held.
     The story presented here concerning Esther again shows us that when we are presented with a situation involving our beliefs that we should not be afraid to express them. Yahweh has shown us that He is beside us, that He will provide us with the help we need if we remain true to Him.
Shaddrach, Meshach And Abed-nego
     Shaddrach, Meshach and Abed-nego were the Babylonian names of the three Hebrews (Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah) given to them by Ashpenaz, master of the eunuchs, under king Nebuchadnezzar, Dan. 1: 3, 6 and 7.
     In all matters of wisdom and understanding the king found them, along with Daniel, to be much better than all the magicians and astrologers in the kingdom,
     And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm, Dan. 1:19-20.
     Thus, the king set Daniel to be the “chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon” and Shaddrach, Meschach and Abed-nego to govern the affairs of the province of Babylon, Dan. 2:48 and 49.
     Ezra 1:7 and 5:14 tell us that Nebuchadnezzar had taken the religious vessels from the house of Yahweh and placed them into the temples of false mighty ones. Perhaps he had done this because he was religious.
     In Dan. 3 we read that this king made an image which was to be worshipped by all people whenever the sound of certain musical instruments were played. The penalty for not doing so was to be cast into a fiery furnace, verse 6,
     And whosoever falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace.
     When the king found out that these three men, whom he had set up to govern the affairs of Babylon, would not bow down and worship the image, the king had them brought forth to ask them why.
     Verse 18 states their reason that they “will not serve thy mighty ones, nor worship the golden image which thou has set up.”
     This infuriated Nebuchadnezzar so that he commanded the furnace be fired up seven times greater than normal and had these three men placed in the midst of the fire.
     The rest of Dan. 3 tells us that an angel of Yahweh protected Shaddrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, and when Nebuchaddnezzar saw that they were not hurt he promoted them in the province of Babylon and made a decree saying that anyone speaking amiss against Yahweh to be killed, verses 29 and 30:
     Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the Elohim of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other Elohim that can deliver after this sort.
     This is another example of showing courage when confronted even with the difficult choice of life and death. It is much better to make the choice of following Yahweh’s ways which lead to a better life ahead than to go against Yahweh in order to improve one’s physical life in the present.
     Daniel was a Jewish captive who was educated in the king’s court. Because Daniel interpreted the king’s dream in chapters 2, 4 and 5, he was promoted to chief president, or minister, over the entire kingdom, Dan. 6:1-3.
     The other men whom the king set over the providences sought to find fault in Daniel, but they could not, except if it had something to do with Daniel’s religious beliefs, Dan. 6:5.
     So these rulers conspired against Daniel by meeting with the king and persuading the king to make a decree that if anyone, except the king, prayed to anyone in the next thirty days, that they be cast into the den of lions, Dan. 6:7,
     All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any Elohim or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
     Hearing of this decree did not faze Daniel one bit. As was his custom, he continued to pray to Yahweh three times a day, Dan. 6:10,
     Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his Elohim, as he did aforetime.
     When these men found out that Daniel prayed to Yahweh and did not according the king’s decree, they went and told the king.
     The king tried his best to deliver Daniel from being put in the lion’s den. In the end the men convinced the king that the king’s decree was law and Daniel was put in the lion’s den, Dan. 6:16,
     Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy Elohim Whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee.
     We should remember well the outcome that Yahweh sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that Daniel was not harmed. Because Daniel was favored by the king, when the king found out that Daniel was spared he had Daniel replaced by his accusers and their families.
     The lesson to learn from this example in the life of Daniel is to remain steadfast in our faith no matter what is placed in front of us.
Joseph Of Arimathaea
     Joseph of Arimathaea was a secret follower of Yahshua, John 19:38. Disregarding what the Pharisaical Jews may do to him, he went to Pilate and requested Yahshua’s body after Yahshua died.
     Another secret follower of Yahshua, Nicodemus, prepared Yahshua’s body for burial in the tomb which had been prepared for Joseph, John 19:39.
Peter and John
     Peter openly criticized the Jews for requesting that a murderer be released in Yahshua’s place, Acts 3:1-15.
     This story continues when the family members of the high priest confronted Peter and John concerning the healing of the lame man. Acts 4:16-21 tells us that these people threatened Peter and John not to speak in Yahshua’s name.
     Acts 4:19-20 indicates their reply:
     Whether it be right in the sight of Yahweh to hearken unto you more than unto Yahweh, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
     These verses again show us that we should have no fear of mankind when speaking of Yahweh and Yahshua.
     Later when the high priest confronted Peter and John about not speaking in Yahshua’s Name they told the gathered people that it is better to “obey Yahweh than man,” Acts 5:29.
     The people wanted to slay Peter and John, but a doctor of the law, Gamaliel, persuaded them not to. Instead, the people beat Peter and John and again told them not to preach in Yahshua’s name, Acts 5:33-40.
     Did this beating persuade Peter and John to stop their preaching? No, quite the opposite.
     They rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His Name and daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Yahshua the Messiah, Acts 5:41b-42.
     In Acts, chapter 9, we read that soon after his conversion, Paul began to preach in the synagogues that Yahshua was the Son of Yahweh, verse 20. This the Jews of his day did not like and they plotted to kill him, verse 23.
     Fearing for Paul’s safety, the disciples of Damascus secretly brought Paul to Jerusalem. The disciples at Jerusalem were hesitant to believe that Paul’s conversion was authentic. It was only after Barnabas told the disciples at Jerusalem of how he had witnessed Paul preaching courageously in the name of Yahshua that Paul was accepted. In Acts 20:22-24, we read that Paul was willing to go and testify before men the evangel of the grace of Yahweh. Paul was unaware of what things he might encounter. But still he went to finish his course.
     With joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Messiah Yahshua, to testify the evangel of the grace of Yahweh, verse 24b.
     In 1 Thes. 2:1-2, Paul tells the people of Thessalonica how he was shamefully treated by the people at Philippi. Even so, Paul tells the people that he took courage to speak to them of the evangel of Yahweh.
What Can We Do?
     As we have seen, the Scriptures are full of times in which the people of Yahweh have shown courage because of their beliefs. We have seen how hardships seemed to make the people more bold and to show more courage.
     Paul tells us in Phil. 1:12 that the reason for things happening to him were to further the evangel. We can take each of these examples and make them work for us.
     Paul writes for our edification in Hebrews, chapter 13, that we are to live a life free of covetousness and to be satisfied with what we have.
     Even though perfection will elude us until Yahshua returns, we must strive towards perfection. This striving will take courage.
-Elder Roger G. Meyer

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