It takes courage to be a Christian in today’s world. It seems that everyday something else happens to erode away some of the foundation of who we are as followers of Jesus Christ. When so many in the world appear to stand opposed to who we are, it takes real courage to stand tall with confidence.
This reminds me of a story in the Old Testament. Samuel was a prophet who had anointed Saul as king. He then gave him instructions to go to a certain place and wait for him to come offer the sacrifice. In the mean-time he (Saul) assembles his army of 3,000 people. This was rather insignificant compared to the endless supply of men the Philistines had as they came after Israel. We can imagine the fright they would have felt as they looked at their army by comparison. Yet, they really should not have been scared because their leader was anointed by God and should have sounded the clarion call to trust God. Instead most of then run away, hiding under rocks and in caves. In fact, some of them even swim across the river to get away.
When the Israelites saw that their situation was critical and that their army was hard pressed, they hid in caves and thickets, among the rocks, and in pits and cisterns. Some Hebrews even crossed the Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. – 1 Samuel 13:6-7a
Where is their courage? Where is their trust in the Lord? Where is their leader? Even the ones who stayed with Saul were said to be ‘quaking in fear.’ Eventually the day when Samuel is supposed to arrives comes with no sign of him. Saul gets nervous and offers the sacrifice, a clear violation of God’s command. Samuel tells him that he will not endure as king, but someone else will take his place because he did not obey God.
But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command – 1 Samuel 13:14
I think this story relates well to our current place in the world. We might look at our numbers and wonder how we will ever defend ourselves against the opposition. It would be easy to jump ahead of God and try to soften the blow of the enemy, like Saul was trying to do. But God has not changed. He has promised to go with us. Even if we don’t get the answers we want right now, or the opposition seems to be gaining ground, God is still in charge. We must trust Him wholeheartedly. Truth is truth all the time.
David became king after Saul – a man after God’s own heart. David was not perfect, but He did make his way back to God. There is hope for all of us as we seek the Lord, learn from our mistakes, and decide that we will not turn back from the God who saves us. We must have courage to remain faithful in the world today. It is risky, but boy is it worth it!