“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are Mine.
2 When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1-2
Bravery. How often do you really see that in your own life? I know bravery is severely lacking in mine. I like to live safely. I never take unnecessary risks. It’s illogical for me to take a risk if there is an alternative path. God doesn’t call us to live a safe life.
Just look at how many times God called His servants to go through some really crazy and scary stuff! Without a plan, He told Abraham and Sarah (Abram and Sarai at the time) to pack up and leave the only home they ever knew. If you read Genesis, you discover that Abraham and Sarah were asked to do some really brave stuff like waiting for a son, sacrificing that same son, and lots of adventures to strange lands with strange people.
I was reading I Kings, and I came across the story of Elijah. He was a prophet of God during the evil reign of the King Ahab and Queen Jezebel. Because of the wickedness of the leaders, God told Ahab via Elijah that there would be no rain in the land for many years.
For the next three years of famine, Elijah basically became Israel’s most wanted dead or alive. He knew what he was getting into when he obeyed God, and God was faithful in providing all of his needs even while he was on the run. Then God told Elijah to go show himself to Ahab.
I’m going to be straight up with you. If I were Elijah, I would have asked God, “Are you sure you want me to just waltz into Ahab’s presence? You know… the guy who has been hunting down prophets all over Israel?” Elijah didn’t hesitate. He just obeyed.
Concurrently, there was a man named Obadiah who was a governor over King Ahab’s house, but he was secretly hiding prophets in caves and feeding them bread and water. While Obadiah was on assignment for the king to look for grass, he ran into Elijah. When Elijah told Obadiah to tell Ahab that Elijah was there, Obadiah started to freak out! He created this scenario in his mind that God would whisk Elijah away and that when Ahab arrives to find Elijah gone he would kill Obadiah in the end.
From first glance, you would think that Obadiah is a great guy and pretty brave to hiding the prophets under Ahab’s nose. This act of “bravery” was done in secret. As soon as he is asked to do something as open as talking with Ahab, Obadiah just balked at the idea and went into self-preservation mode. Elijah had to promise Obadiah that he would not disappear before Obadiah obeyed.
The really sad thing is that I see a lot of myself in Obadiah. I like to be a Christian in secret because it’s safe. By being an open Christian, I have a fear of ridicule, possibility of hurt feelings or broken relationships, and just hitting a brick wall of discouragement. In other countries, being an open believer of Christ could mean a death sentence, but they serve the Lord without a second thought.
God promises to be there for us, so why are we so fearful? His work will always be accomplished! He is the one who makes us brave because we already have the assurance of victory! Choose to believe Him today. (Sidenote: You should really read Isaiah 43. It’s SO GOOD!)
I, I am the Lord,
and besides Me there is no savior.
12 I declared and saved and proclaimed,
when there was no strange god among you;
and you are My witnesses,” declares the Lord, “and I am God.
13 Also henceforth I am He;
there is none who can deliver from My hand;
I work, and who can turn it back?” Isaiah 43:11-13