Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Men with Faith-Driven Courage

Hanun of the Ammonites was trying to make his bones on the world stage by picking a fight with the new king of Israel. That king was David. He responded by mustering his soldiers for battle. The king was prepared for all attackers and would not back down. Being the shepherd-king of Israel was David's charge to keep and no pagan prince would intimidate him away. Joab was David's lead general. It was his responsibility to lead the army- his and his brother Abishai's. Hanun had recruited Aramean mercenaries to join the Ammonite army in attacking the Israelites so Joab set his fighting force against the Arameans and put Abishai's soldiers against the Ammonites. They quickly found themselves outnumbered and outflanked.

In the midst of the battle Joab set forth a determined battle plan but a plan that relied on faith in a great God. He said to Abishai, "If the Arameans are too strong for me, then you shall help me, but if the sons of Ammon are too strong for you, then I will come to help you. Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the Lord do what it good in His sight". They fought tooth and nail until the Lord gave Israel the victory. I love this story. The resolution. The courage. The faith. The greatness of God. The pages of the Bible are full of stories like this. There was nothing particularly extraordinary about Joab or Abishai- except their faith. The power and the victory is God's.

This story came to my mind as I was told of yet another man in our church who used to attend but "dropped out" because he got his feelings ruffled. It grieves me heavily when men of God cower and disappear because another person intimidated them away. In many case it isn't even intimidation that causes the spiritual leaders of the church to abdicate their responsibilities. Often it is just a matter of pride. We men need to muster the courage that we see in Scripture- a faith-driven courage. We've been given a charge to keep as leaders of our homes and the local church. Let us not find excuses for "Hanuns" to scare us off our post and let us not put our pride and egos above obedience to our great God.

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