Prepping for the Storms of Life

For whatever things were written before were written for our learning,
that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 
~ Romans 15:4 ~

I thought that having all the “Be strong and courageous” lesson in one place would be helpful. I’m still amazed by what I continue to learn and am daily reminded of how our Lord loves, cares for, and prepares us for the storms that come into our lives. If, our response is, “Lord, Your will be done,” we acknowledge His sovereignty over our lives; and faith and trust in Him, though tested, grow.

Going through storms is never easy, but we can be confident of this one thing:  God is with us and for us, we are not forsaken. That alone, is comforting. My prayer is that this study will help you when you or someone you know needs encouragement and hope. ◊

“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 ~

nightlight_2chron32When 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.

pond-scene_jos-23_14Before Moses died, God started encouraging Joshua in order to prepare him for the next part of the journey into the Promised land. Twice Joshua hears God’s encouragement in Deuteronomy 31:6,7-8:

“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

“Be strong and of good courage, . . . the Lord, He is the One who goes before you. He will be with you, He will not leave you nor forsake you; do not fear nor be dismayed.”

God speaks these words to Joshua, repeatedly, in the first chapter of Joshua, verses 6, 7, and 9:

“Be strong and of good courage…
“Only be strong and very courageous…”
“Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed.”

Joshua, in turn, spoke them to the people in Joshua 10:25, when they were fighting five kings:

Then Joshua said to them [the men of Israel and the captains of war], “Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.”

Joshua is not the only one to hear or speak these words, David also spoke them to his son, Solomon, in 1 Chronicles 28:20:

“Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the Lord God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, . . .”

Daniel heard them from an angel in Daniel 10:19:

And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

Throughout the Old Testament God told many to “be of good courage”; their witness to us is found in Numbers 13:20, Deuteronomy 31:23, Joshua 1:18, 8:1, 2 Samuel 10:12, 1 Chronicles 19:13, 22:13, 2 Chronicles 19:11, Ezra 10:4, Psalms 27:14, 31:24, Isaiah 41:6.

Photo: Teri Gilbert, @ 2015

Photo: Teri Gilbert, @ 2015

The New Testament also contained the same message found in 2 Chronicles 32, with slightly different words.

Acts 23:11, But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; . . .” 

1 Corinthians 16:13, Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong.

Ephesians 6:10, Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

2 Timothy 2:1, You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.

Notice that these encouraging words, found in both the Old and New Testament, are spoken

— when a transition from one leader to another was about to happen:  Moses to
Joshua, David to Solomon, Paul to Timothy; and

— prior to significant events or trials occurring:  God to Joshua before entering
and conquering the Promised land. God to Hezekiah when confronted with
the Assyrian invasion. Jesus to Paul regarding his testimony in Jerusalem
(Acts 23:11). Jesus to Paul before the shipwreck (Acts 27:24).

The Lord says to us, “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); but do we believe and accept His encouragement? How do we respond to His testings?

If we believe Him, He strengthens our hearts and minds and prepares us for the future with:  Be strong   •   Be of good courage   •   Be of good cheer   •   Be brave.

If we do not believe nor trust Him, then our hearts and minds will be consumed by fear and dismay.

Psalms 27:14 and 31:24 encourage those “who hope in the LORD” to “Wait on the LORD and Be of good courage” because “He shall strengthen your heart.”

Hebrews 11:6 reminds us that “. . . without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”Heart

Once again, Father, I’m thankful for the way in which you prepare us for the storms that come our way. Even now, as my body struggles to keep up, You surround me with a family of believers who pray for me; and You hear their prayers and make me strong.

Thank You for this study on being strong and courageous, and the continual reminder that You’re with us as we go through life’s highs and lows. Every day, the question remains, “Is anything too hard for the LORD?” (Genesis 18:14); and the answer is, “No. I trust You, Lord.” Therefore, trust and faith continue to grow—even though we don’t understand the reason for the storm.

Jesus, thank You for interceding for us; and Holy Spirit, for leading us in the way we should go. Amen.

 

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