When I look back over the painful experiences this world has given me, the times of paralyzing fear, the anxiety that clutched my lungs to the point I couldn’t breathe, and the doubt that whispers constantly in my ear, I understand why God filled the Bible with stories about courage!
We need them!
My word for 2020 is “thrive”. I can see the beautiful journey of healing God has put me on.
After I lost my beautiful Rebekah at 8 years old, God gave me the word “accept”. In all honesty, acceptance is an ongoing process. How do you accept a life taken too soon?
For 2019 God gave me the word “embrace”. Embrace the grief and pain, but also embrace the joy and peace found in Him. My anxiety reached crazy heights at this point and I was forced to constantly embrace the moment. The only way to calm myself down was to be present. I couldn’t mourn for the past or fear for the future, I had to think only of the present moment. You can read more about embracing in “Do You Have the Courage to Let Go of the Sunset?” and “A Call to Embrace the Moment”.
This year, God continues to push me toward healing. It is no longer enough to simply embrace, I need to learn to thrive where I am at. To grow vigorously through Him.
In an effort to “thrive” this year, I begin with courage because, well, I’ve always lacked it lol
Bible Stories about Courage
This post would be far too lengthy to include more than a couple of examples of Bible stories about courage, but I hope these both inspire and challenge you.
I included the story of Caleb in my post “Courage for Kids: How to Teach Bravery” so please, check that post out as well!
Courage is something I struggle with so I write about it often. “Even If: Lessons from the Book of Daniel” is the story of the three Hebrew men. My friend from Busy Blessed Women also has an excellent post on courage.
The Story of Abigail
The story of Abigail is found in 1 Samuel 25. The Bible describes her as a woman of “good understanding and beautiful appearance”. In the day of arranged marriages, she ended up in every girl’s nightmare. Her husband, Nabal, is described as “harsh and evil in his doings”.
David and his small army are living the life of outcasts as David hides from the jealous and angry Saul. During this time, he and his men help Nabal’s workers with his many sheep.
David politely requests of Nabal some form of payment for his help. He needs to provide for the men who are faithfully following him.
True to his described character, Nabal refuses.
David’s temper rages and he commands four hundred men to prepare for battle.
Abigail hears about David and his plan to destroy her family. She knows her husband all too well and takes matters into her own hands.
She quickly loads several donkeys full of food. Bread, wine, meat, raisins, figs, etc. She sends them ahead with the servants and follows behind on her own donkey.
She does not tell Nabal.
Ok, so I just have to pause here and point out Abigail’s courage. She is married to a wicked man who will most likely beat her when he finds out what she is doing AND she bravely faces the man who is bent on destroying her family.
She comes face to face with David just in time! She throws herself at his feet and begs him not to destroy her family.
David, realizing the sin he was about to commit, thanks her, accepts her gifts, and turns back.
Abigail’s wisdom is seen a second time when she returns home and finds Nabal drunk. She does not mention to him that she just saved his life. She waits until morning to confess. When he hears about it “his heart died within him and he became like a stone”. I’m not entirely sure what that means, but he dies 10 days later.
Although the Bible doesn’t exactly say it, I picture Nabal angry at Abigail for interfering and just as he’s about to strike her, God punishes him and saves her.
When David hears that Nabal is dead, he asks Abigail to marry him and she accepts. A Bible story about courage with a double happy ending!
The Story of Joshua
My little Joshua is five years old. He’s impulsive, fearless, and tough as nails. He likes to wear a belt and stick hotwheel tracks into the sides which he pretends are swords. I need to get a pic because he really is quite comical looking.
He came up to me the other day and says, “I’m a warrior! Just like Joshua in the Bible” except he can’t pronounce his “r” sound so it sounded like “woahwoah” LOL
I laughed. Yes, you are! Joshua and the Battle of Jericho is one of the first Bible stories we teach our children. What could be more exciting than the power of our great God seen as He crumbles the impressive stone walls of a huge city?
Let’s take a minute to look at the impressive responsibility God placed on Joshua and explain this Bible story about courage from a slightly different angle.
Joshua had witnessed all of the plagues of Egypt. He had stood faithfully beside Moses during the 40 years of wandering in the wilderness. It was finally time for the promise to be fulfilled. The Children of Israel would be given the land flowing with milk and honey.
Like everything else in life, it would be a struggle. The Children of Israel had a history of unbelief, rebellion, and complaining. How was one to rule these people? And not just rule, but remove the inhabitants of the land and set it up as their own country?
Without Moses. The greatly admired deliverer and leader would not enter into the promised land.
God knows exactly what is in Joshua’s heart and speaks to him
“Moses My servant is dead. Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. 3 Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses. 4 From the wilderness and this Lebanon as far as the great river, the River Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and to the Great Sea toward the going down of the sun, shall be your territory.
5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you.
6 Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. 7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. 8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.
9 Have I not commanded you? 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 1:2-9 NKJV)
With God’s blessing and reassurance, Joshua leads the Israelites across the Jordan River and into the long-awaited for land of Canaan. They are met by the huge walled city of Jericho.
Joshua goes off by himself and as he’s staring at Jericho, most likely coming up with a battle plan, the angel of the Lord appears.
And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped, and said to Him, “What does my Lord say to His servant?” (Joshua 5:14)
Do you see how willing Joshua is to put any preconceived notions about how he was going to lead a victory over the large walled city aside and listen to God’s instructions?
God gives Joshua a detailed plan which Joshua follows exactly and victory belongs to the Israelites!
Just like that.
What Does the Bible Say about Courage?
“What Christians Want to Know” gives an excellent definition of Biblical courage:
The common definition of the word courage is (1): (Noun)”The ability to do something that frightens one.” It originates from Middle English (denoting the heart, as the seat of feelings): from Old French corage, from Latin cor “heart.” Simply stated, courage is commonly defined as being motivated from the heart to do something brave.
Biblical courage, is also defined as the ability to do something brave out of a motivation of the heart. However, the Bible talks about what motivates the heart to produce courage. The Bible addresses these motivations as either being good or bad.
Good courage always relies upon the supernatural power of God to strengthen and motivate believers to be courageous as children of God (Romans 5:3-5). Bad courage relies on human abilities and motives such as the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride (James 1:19-27; 1 John 2:15-16).
Put into very simple terms, we can be brave because God is with us!
Good Scriptures for strength
Along with Bible stories about courage, let’s read a few good scriptures for strength.
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.” (Isaiah 43:1-2)
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,
“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, your God will come with vengeance,
With the recompense of God;
He will come and save you.” (Isaiah 35:4)
In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Do not fear;
Zion, let not your hands be weak.
The Lord your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing.” (Zephaniah 3:16-17)
Whenever I am afraid,
I will trust in You.
In God (I will praise His word),
In God I have put my trust;
I will not fear.
What can flesh do to me? (Psalm 56:3-4)
Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord! (Psalm 27:14)
For more verses, check out Bible Verses about Courage by Resounding His Love.
Are You Ready to Embrace These Bible Stories about Courage?
Are you ready to thrive?
I am forever amazed at the hope God provides for us through His word.
I’d love to hear which Bible stories about courage keep you believing and pushing through when life is hard. Which verses speak to you and lift your weary spirit?
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