Can you be courageous and afraid at the same time?

Today, please read this section from Judges 6. God called Gideon to deliver the oppressed Israelites from the mighty and powerful Midianites. Gideon was a man of great faith, but he also needed to have reassurance from God on multiple occasions. He also showed great courage, but at the same time he was very afraid. Is that possible – to be afraid and courageous at the same time?

Gideon showed us by his example that he had fear, but his courage and faith carried him past that fear. God called Gideon to destroy his father’s idols…think about that. You are going after a man’s religion, and not just any man, you are directly confronting the idols of your father. This was necessary for Gideon to do if he was going to lead the people of Israel against the Midianites.

Read the following excerpt from Judges 6:

Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD and called it, The LORD Is Peace. To this day it still stands at Ophrah, which belongs to the Abiezrites. That night the LORD said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and the second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it and build an altar to the LORD your God on the top of the stronghold here, with stones laid in due order. Then take the second bull and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah that you shall cut down.” So Gideon took ten men of his servants and did as the LORD had told him. But because he was too afraid of his family and the men of the town to do it by day, he did it by night. When the men of the town rose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah beside it was cut down, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. And they said to one another, “Who has done this thing?” And after they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” Then the men of the town said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has broken down the altar of Baal and cut down the Asherah beside it.” But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? Or will you save him? Whoever contends for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because his altar has been broken down.” Therefore on that day Gideon was called Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he broke down his altar.
(Judges 6:24-32)

Men, please meditate upon this today. We have all kinds of fears, but that does not mean we lack faith or courage. It is what we do in the face of our fears that shows our faith and courage. Take a page today out of the life of Gideon. Face the fears; confront them in faith. Remember God is with you supporting you just like He was with Gideon.

His Knees Knocked Against Each Other

Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other (Daniel 5:6).

My daughter, Jess, scared me to death the other night. I haven’t been scared like that in awhile. One of my kids always tries to scare me, but it never works. This time, Jess was crouching in the hallway, and just at the right time when I turned the corner she pounced at me. I really think I lost five years of my life. She really got me good. Of course, like a good father, I am plotting my revenge (bwah ha ha ha).

His Knees Knocked Against Each Other

For some reason, I thought of the above passage in Daniel where King Belshazzar sees a vision of a hand writing a message on the wall. It scared him to death. The Bible says he was so scared that his joints loosened and his knees knocked together. That’s pretty scared!

Being afraid or scared can be a good thing. It can be a useful motivation to lead us to God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), and the “beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:10).

Fear can also be absolutely pointless. For King Belshazzar, this fear did him no good, because he did not have a humble heart toward God (Daniel 5:22). Someone can sit and hear a sermon about the Judgment Day and be scared, but then go home and go right back to his ways without change. Its like a doctor telling us that if we don’t change our dietary habits we will have a heart attack, and we get scared. We then proceed to the nearest burger joint and pig out. What good did the fear do for us?

So, what describes us? What do we do with that fear? When we realize our life is fleeting, how do we respond? As we consider the holiness and awesome nature of Almighty God, and our position before Him, what do we do with that awe and reverence?

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your body and refreshment to your bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).