1 Chronicles 11:1-12:18; Acts 28:1-31; Psalm 9:1-12; Proverbs 19:1-3
So much valor in our Old Testament reading:
- Benaiah, who chose to go down into a pit after a lion (1 Ch. 11:22)
- The kinsmen of Saul (who we would expect to support Saul, but instead choose David as king), who "were armed with bows and were able to shoot arrows or to sling stones right-handed or left-handed" (12:2)
- The Gadites, with their "faces of lions,...swift as gazelles in the mountains" (vs. 8). There's beauty in that imagery, but a terrible, powerful, dangerous beauty. What fierce men!
In our New Testament reading, too:
- Just recovering from a shipwreck, Paul yet gathers the necessary firewood (Acts 28:3). Emotionally and physically spent, enduring rain and cold (see vs. 2), Paul girds up his loins and does what needs to be done.
- And he gets back onto a boat! Three days of violent battering by the sea (27:18-20), days without food or water (vs. 21), another ten days of being adrift (vs. 27), and then a terrifying shipwreck (vs. 41) under threat of imminent execution (vs. 42) - that would be enough to make anyone hesitate to return to sea. But Paul does not waver (28:11).
- The end of Acts shows the on-going perseverance and determination of this man: "For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ" (vs. 30-31, emphasis mine). Though in chains and under house arrest for years - though he is, ultimately, martyred for the sake of Christ - Paul is bold and unhindered.
Both our Old Testament and New Testament men are able to act with tremendous courage because of the steadfastness of their God. The psalmist describes this warrior-King, who upholds the case of the righteous, who judges fairly, who governs rightly, who is a refuge and a stronghold (Ps. 9:4-5, 8-9). These men can move forward in strength and confidence because they have experienced the truth that "those who know your name will trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you" (vs. 10). God is both merciful and just. "He who avenges blood remembers; he does not ignore the cry of the afflicted" (vs. 12).
Today, you may need the warrior-encouragement of our God; today, you may need the more tender response of God as he hears the cry of your affliction. May the Lord meet you in your need, so that you can be glad and rejoice in him, singing praise to his name (Ps. 9:2).
- Sarah Marsh
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