Daily D – 1 Kings 2:1-2
As the time of King David’s death approached, he gave this charge to his son Solomon: “I am going where everyone on earth must someday go. Take courage and be a man.” 1 KINGS 2:1-2 (NLT)
One of my all-time favorite movies is The Wizard of Oz. My mother used to read that to me when I was a young boy. In one turning point scene, the Cowardly Lion makes a speech about courage.
Cowardly Lion: How? Courage! What makes a king out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on a mast to wave? Courage! What makes an elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? What makes a muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the Seventh Wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like THUNDER? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the “ape” in apricot? What have they got that I ain’t got?
Dorothy, Scarecrow, Tin Man: [in unison] Courage.
Cowardly Lion: You can say that again! [short pause; realizing] Hmm?
King David was about to lay down his crown. Solomon his son was about to try it on for size. Among the old king’s famous last words were these: “Take courage and be a man.”
One mistake often made is thinking courage is something we either have or do not. Courage can be commanded, as David commanded Solomon. God commanded Joshua to “be strong and courageous,” (Josh. 1:9).
Courage is about resolution. It is a determination to do the right thing the right way for the right reason in the right timing. It is doing that hard right thing knowing criticism is coming from somebody no matter what you decide.
In Acts 10, Peter sucked it up and went to a Gentile’s home in response to a heavenly vision and the Holy Spirit’s direction. God poured out the Holy Spirit on those Gentiles the same way he had Peter and the 120 gathered in the upper room on the day of Pentecost. When Peter got back to Jerusalem, “the Jewish believers criticized him,” (11:2).
Aristotle famously said, “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.” David was not a do-nothing, say-nothing, be-nothing kind of guy. Neither was Peter.
King David knew his son Solomon was wise. He also knew he was human. He was confident he would rule well. No doubt he was just as confident he would fail spectacularly from time to time. The king told his successor and son to follow God’s clear directions (1 Kings 2:3, 4). This would keep him on the right path and ensure his son and his son and so on would sit on the throne of Israel.
Leadership requires courage. This is true for us individually as we lead ourselves. Sometimes we have to mark difficult personal decisions requiring us to let go of security and past success to reach for something different, something which focuses our lives more intently on pursuing God’s dreams for us.
Courage is required in leading others. People will not always agree. They will not always like what we say and do. At the end of a long life filled with adventure, King David could say, “Take courage.” Be courageous. Live courageously. Dare to trust God in all things at all times.
It’s Monday as I write these words. What are you facing which requires courage today or this week? Be courageous. Or, as a retired general and artillery officer used to say, “Suck it up, sister.” Since he was talking to young men, that is probably not politically correct today. Depending on where he said that it could get him fired. I don’t think he much cared.
Brother, sister, friend: All the courage you need for all you face is available when you decide to honor God and serve others. The life without lack Psalm 23 declares includes ample measures of courage. Live courageously.
I will live courageously.
Our Father, what can make my heart stop its fluttering? What can deepen my shallow breaths? What can stop my knees from knocking? What can move me from where I am to where I need to be? Fill my life with your courage. Encourage me. Make me an encourager. Make me a man of resolution to live courageously and to inspire others to do the same. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”