Be Strong and Courageous, Part 1: The Testing of Our Faith

“Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed
before the king of Assyria, nor before all the multitude that is with him;
for there are more with us than with him. 
With him is an arm of flesh;
but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.”
And the people were strengthened by the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
~ 2 Chronicles 32:7-8 ~

Preface

This is a journal entry from September 7-8, 2015; and now that I have hindsight, some additional insights. A bit of background:

We were experiencing a very difficult time financially; in addition, our apartment was permeated with gasoline fumes from an adjacent garage. We, of course, wanted out of our situation, but could not afford go anywhere else.

The night of the 7th, into the early hours of the 8th, I spent on studying a portion of Scripture about God’s deliverance of the people in Jerusalem from invasion by the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32:7-8). The study took me throughout the Scriptures; I found myself comforted by what I read and was given to understand.

Study, Part 1

When Hezekiah, the king of Judah, learned that the king of Assyria was going to make war with him and attack Jerusalem, he prepared himself for war by strengthening his weaknesses:

— “he strengthened himself”
— the springs were stopped up (to keep the Assyrians from having a water source)
— broken walls and other areas were built up or repaired and a new wall was built
— “weapons and shields in abundance” were made

He also “set military captains over the people, gathered them,” and spoke encouragingly to them. “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed before the king of Assyria, . . . with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.” As a result, the people were strengthened.

Hezekiah knew the people were afraid; so was he! But, Isaiah and Hezekiah cried out to God and He heard them:  An angel “cut down every mighty man of valor, leader, and captain in the camp of the king of Assyria” (2 Chronicles 32:21). The Assyrian king left Jerusalem in disgrace.

Cathy Clark self-portrait © 2015

Cathy Clark self-portrait © 2015

Application

What do we do to prepare ourselves for those things that make us afraid and bring dismay to our lives?

These words, “Be strong and courageous; do not be afraid nor dismayed . . .” appear many times throughout the Bible. It is reassuring to know that God knows what is in our hearts and minds and desires that we trust Him with everything—all that makes us afraid, discomforts, discourages, dismays, or overwhelms us. Nothing can overshadow who He is in our lives. Nothing is impossible for Him; for if our Creator, who loves us best, has shown His power in raising the dead back to life, and has given all He has for our sakes, is for us, not against us, what more could we require of Him before we trust Him?

“In God We Trust,” should not only be imprinted on our coins and paper money, but also on our hearts and minds. Trusting Him should be the fuel that compels us to go forth each day with our eyes on Him so that we are not overcome, but through Him overcome the world and those things that set themselves against the knowledge of who He is. His Holy Spirit indwells us—through Him we can be strong and courageous; He enables us to overcome all things. (See Zechariah 4:6 and Acts 17:28.)

You may be asking, “Maria, how did you prepare yourself for what was coming? What did you do?” Because I had no idea what was before us, I took to heart the words that I read that night and let Him take control of the situation by giving Him every fear and every thought that set itself up against the knowledge of who He is. I let Him comfort me. Every day I spent time with Him, sought His face, and gave myself to understand what He was saying. As a result, His peace, which passes understanding, guarded my heart and mind.

Furthermore, Exodus 14’s parting of the Red Sea kept coming to mind. God was going to make a way for us to get through whatever was going to hem us in—He would part that sea of difficulty and we would get to the other side.

It was not easy, but I took courage from the examples given to me that night, Moses, Hezekiah, Joshua, David, Daniel, Paul, and Jesus. If they could go through the difficulties they faced knowing that God was for them and not against them, then why not me?

Is there something going on in your life right how that is making you “afraid or dismayed,” and is taxing your strength, faith, and confidence in your God? Then,

“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” ~ Joshua 1:9 ~

Take heart, dear one; He loves you, is for you, and is making a way for you to overcome. Do not be “afraid nor dismayed”—”be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10) as you place your trust in Him.

Dearest Father, we call upon You this day to help us to go beyond our circumstances and trust You with everything. Whatever is keeping us from trusting You, reveal it, and forgive us. We ask You to search our weary hearts and know our anxieties. Take us by the hand and lead us as we walk through each day, so neither fear or dismay will take us captive. We are “strong and courageous” because we find comfort and security in Your presence with us and in Your word. In Jesus’ name, amen.

 

 

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