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Words of Courage Words of Courage

Words of Courage


Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years for resisting apartheid in South Africa. He was forced into hard labor and often kept in solitary confinement, but he later said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Conquering fear is an enormous undertaking when an entire nation might be against your choices, even if you are making righteous choices. Both Joshua and Gideon understood the need to be strong and courageous in order to lead God’s people successfully (see Joshua 1; Judges 6). Later, Timothy would recognize that need while shepherding the people of Ephesus (2 Tim. 1:7). In today’s passage, Asa needed courage to change the course of Judah’s history of brokenness and their experience of God’s judgment on their idolatrous ways.

When the prophet Azariah son of Oded spoke, he charged Asa and all of Judah and Benjamin to have the courage to completely remove idolatry from their midst (vv. 1–7). He promised that the Lord would be with them and reward them and God would relinquish His judgment—if they forsake their idolatry.

Encouraged by the prophet’s word, Asa led Judah and Benjamin with courage to destroy the idols in the land and to restore true worship of the Lord. Notice the personal cost: he had to remove his own grandmother, Maakah (the wife Rehoboam had loved) from her position as queen mother because of her idolatry (v. 16). Like his forefather David’s, Asa’s heart “was fully committed to the Lord all his life” (v. 17). God was faithful to His promise. He did not unleash judgment on Judah, and they experienced peace.

Pray with Us

Please add the remaining MTS faculty and staff to your prayer list: Angela Edwards, Sajan Mathews, Valencia Wiggins, and William Thrasher. Express appreciation in prayer for their faithful ministry to their students and to the community.

BY Dr. Eric C. Redmond

Dr. Eric C. Redmond serves as a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and as associate pastor of adult ministries at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Ill. He is married to Pam and they have five children. He is the author of Say It!  Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition (Moody Publishers), Where Are All the Brothers? Straight Answers to Men's’ Questions about the Church (Crossway), a commentary on Jonah in the Christ-Centered Exposition Series (B&H Publishers), and a study guide on Ephesians in the Knowing the Bible series (Crossway).

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