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cropped-rose-white-and-pinkDaniel 5:17, “I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation”

Acts 5:29, “We ought to obey God rather than men”

When you hear the world courage what comes to your mind? Webster’s Dictionary defines courage as the quality of being brave or having valor. The American Heritage Dictionary says that courage is the state of quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger with self-possession, confidence, and resolution. While considering how I would begin this devotional on courage, my thoughts went to the movie entitled “The Wizard of Oz.” I have watched this movie so many times I practically know it by heart. En-route to the Land of Oz, Dorothy met up with three individuals, one of which was a Lion. After talking to Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man, the Lion was persuaded to tag along with them because he lacked courage, and was hoping the Wizard could give it to him.

Then my thoughts were directed to the writers of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. They were historical heroes, who when faced with incredible odds, even the threat of death actually increased in boldness; and their courage became the hallmark of their life. I’m sure you can think of many historical heroes also. Down through the centuries, some of God’s servants have also faced the possibility of an agonizing death unless they renounced their faith. They knew that God could deliver them; however, they also knew that in keeping with His own purposes, He might not answer their pleas for supernatural help. Some biblical characters, which stand out in my mind, are Moses, Jeremiah, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. Moreover, I am always mindful of Daniel when he went before King Belshazzar.

It was a very darkened night in Babylon. Even darker than your workplace, school, or community. King Belshazzar had willfully blasphemed God by desecrating the sacred goblets looted from the temple in Jerusalem. Now Babylon and Belshazzar were about to face God’s judgment. Yet, in the midst of this gross darkness shone the light of a single witness … the prophet Daniel. Because of his reputation as a man with “the Spirit of the Holy God” (Daniel 5:11), Daniel was summoned to interpret the mystifying message on the wall. Daniel could have softened God’s warning to give it a meaning the king and his court would rather hear.

He could have omitted the part about judgment and death. Instead of muddling the message to please the king, Daniel remained true to God. Standing alone before Belshazzar, his drunken lords and dignitaries, the courageous prophet declared God’s whole counsel and boldly spoke the whole truth regarding the writing on the wall. My friend it took enormous courage for Daniel to do that, but the threat from an earthly king was nothing compared to his allegiance to the King of heaven. Daniel feared Belshazzar so little because he feared God so much. When we share Daniel’s heavenly perspective, we too can find that God will give us the courage to be a faithful witness for Him in this darken world in which we live.

Further thoughts:

Peter and John had upset the religious elite in Jerusalem. The city’s power brokers were disturbed by the message the two men preached and the miracles they performed. They had to be stopped. Peter and John were arrested and thrown into jail. They had every reason to be afraid. Yet, the next day they stood up to their accusers with great courage. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge,” they boldly said (Acts 4:19). They feared God more than they feared their persecutors.

Maybe you are the only person at your job or in your family who has accepted Christ as your Savior. Maybe you are having a struggle and don’t have the courage to be a witness for Christ. If you are tempted to be quiet when you should speak up for our Lord, we must remember that we can speak and act with conviction because we know our God. His authority outranks all others. He is the One we need to please. He will give you the courage, and He will give you the words to be an effective witness for Him. Have the courage to stand alone like:

(1) Daniel did before King Belshazzar.
(2) Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego did before King Nebuchadnezzar.
(3) John the Baptist before Herod.
(4) Peter and John before their accusers.

When we know God stands with us, it doesn’t matter who stands against us.