Cultivating Courage: Day 3

Since how to develop or foster courage is the focus of the post, it is essential that each one contains a definition of courage.

Charles Stanley defined courage as the quality of mind or spirit enabling us to see danger, face opposition, or the challenges of life with fearlessness, calmness and firmness.

Courage is doing what you are afraid to do.
Courage is fear that has said it’s prayer.
Courage is fear that holds on one more minute. General Georg Patton

We continue our exploration in the Word on how to develop courage. For several days, I have debating writing about Jehoshaphat. I finally came to the realization that we are not looking for perfect people to emulate. We want real people; people who are fallible like us who evidence that we too can make a difference in the kingdom of God.

Today, we look at the divided kingdom in the Old Testament. It is another study to recall the events that led to a divided kingdom; however, I will say that courage to do the right thing was at the heart of it. Ultimately, it was that factor that led to me highlighting Jehoshaphat. Today, we find Jehoshaphat being asked to help the northern kingdom of Israel with the capital being Samaria. Jehoshaphat was the king of the southern kingdom of Judah with the capital being Jerusalem.

1 Kings 22 captures the primary focus of today’s post – Ask God first before joining forces and taking action. 

Three years passed without war between Aram and Israel. In the third year Jehoshaphat the king of Judah came down to the king of Israel. Now the king of Israel said to his servants, “Do you know that Ramoth-gilead belongs to us, and we are still doing nothing to take it out of the hand of the king of Aram?” And he said to Jehoshaphat, “Will you go with me to battle at Ramoth-gilead?” And Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

Moreover, Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, “Please inquire first for the word of the Lord.” Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, “Shall I go against Ramoth-gilead to battle or shall I refrain?” And they said, “Go up, for the Lord will give it into the hand of the king.”But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not yet a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of him?” The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “There is yet one man by whom we may inquire of the Lord, but I hate him, because he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. He is Micaiah son of Imlah.” But Jehoshaphat said, “Let not the king say so.” Then the king of Israel called an officer and said, “Bring quickly Micaiah son of Imlah.”

I am not going to get into deeply analyzing the text about relationships though the history of how Judah related to Syria is important to how it related to Israel. It was called the divided kingdom for a reason that continued to perpetuate that division. Nevertheless, we see Ahab attempting to “normalize” relationships with Judah. In the Word of God, He describes His kings as 1. those who did right in the eyes of the Lord, as Jehoshaphat is described; 2. those who did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as Ahab is described.

I am not sure why Jehoshaphat considered partnering with Ahab, but he did. At least he made an effort to ask God for direction on whether to enter into battle or not. It was the expected norm to ask God for direction in regards to engaging in battle. (see 1 Sam. 23:1–42 Sam. 2:12 Kin. 3:112 Chr. 20:3–17).

Jehoshaphat was not impressed or convinced by the multitude of prophets that Ahab presented to answer whether God consented to their action of battle. He asked Ahab, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of him.” We do know that “Micaiah” means “Who is like Yahweh?” Irony? Obviously, there was a distinction between Ahab’s prophets and those “of the Lord”. Again, another matter for another day.

My purpose today is that it takes courage to stand on biblical principles and precepts when engaged with others. For the follower of Christ, God’s principles, precepts  and promises should always be our guiding light. Jehoshaphat means “Jehovah has judged“. As we prepare to make decisions today, let us consider Jehoshaphat’s example. Are we ready to seek and surrender as Jehovah has judged. Let us consider our ways and be blessed by following God. That is how to develop or foster true courage.

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