The next three days of the blogging challenge will all center around the word courage and the sneak peek for the letters D and E are (drumroll please): discourage and encourage.
I've had an eye-opening encounter with God as I've delved into the depths of these three words and bringing some application to myself and possibly to anyone who may be surfing over this blog this month.
So let's start.
Courage means, according to Merriam and Webster:
the ability to do something that you know is difficult or dangerous; mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.
Courageous means: very brave, having or showing courage.
Courage does not mean: chicken, coward, cowardly, gutless, lily-livered, spineless, and my favorite, yellow.
The NIV translation of the Bible used courage to describe a handful of Hebrew words. But the one which most intrigues me is the word Hazaq which means -
to be strong, hard, harsh, severe; to harden; to give strength, repair, encourage; to grasp, seize, hold; to make repairs; to establish oneself firmly; to encourage, to rally strength.
Among other things which intrigue about this word is the different words that are translated from Hazaq, a mere 290 times total, words like:
The interesting thing I found this time around is how physical the word courage really is when it's used in the Bible. When Nehemiah and the returning exiles were rebuilding the wall around Jerusalem they had courage in their hand right along with the tools they were using. (Nehemiah 3:4, 7, 8, 10, 16, 17, 18, 22, 23, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32). When Moses told Joshua to be strong and courageous as he led the children of Israel into the promised land it took physical courage to put one foot in front of the other as he led hundreds of thousands of people into a land promised centuries before. (Deuteronomy 31:6, 7, 23; Joshua 1:6,7,9, 18).
Sometime courage is strength. (Genesis 31:6) Sometimes courage repairs damages done. Sometimes courage fights. (Joshua 10:25). Sometimes courage hardens a heart for evil (Exodus 10:20, 27; 11:10, 14:8) and sometimes courage hardens to bring victory and justice. (Joshua 11:20)
Courage dresses in integrity, (1 Kings 2:2-3) showing itself strong has it takes a position of leadership appointed by God.
Following God and His decrees takes Hazaq. (Joshua 23:6).
Sometimes courage has to be taken hold of when faced with trying, dangerous tasks. (Exodus 4:4; 1 Samuel 15:27)
Sometimes hazaq clings to fear. (1 Kings 1:50; 2:28)
Sometimes hazaq holds on tightly to instruction. (Proverbs 4:13)
And then, more miraculously then anything, hazaq takes hold of me. (Isaiah 41:13; 42:6)
I have more questions than answers now, do you? I have my headlamp on, my pick in hand, ready to mine God's word even more. I will find treasure, but I have the feeling that as I bring my buckets of dirt and soot to the surface and sift it through the nets of God's truth, my questions will reveal more hidden treasure, spurring me on to more and more digging and mining and ruminating and searching.
I hope and pray the same for you. I pray you find peace with God. The God who gives the courage, who is the Courage we long for. He has the courage you need to face what needs facing. You simply need to ask. There's enough for every need, every time, all the time. He doesn't run out. May you run with courage as you face the paths that lie ahead of you. One foot at a time. One peck of courage at a time. Just "take courage."
C is for Courage.
Thoughts to chew on:
1. What synonym for courage stuck out to you?
2. What will you use to give yourself a physical picture of taking courage?
3. Where do you need the most courage today?