Courage to Obey

Courage to Obey

As God prepared to send Moses to lead the people of Israel from Egypt, the Lord gave him signs to convince the people he truly spoke for Yahweh. God told Moses to throw his staff on the ground. “So he threw [his staff] on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it” (Ex 4:3). Pharaoh’s daughter didn’t raise a dummy; the snakes in Egypt are some of the deadliest on the planet, and Moses wasn’t going to get too near.

However, what God told Moses next required faith and courage on Moses’ part: “Put out your hand and catch it by the tail” (Ex 4:4). The snake immediately became a staff once more when Moses grabbed it, but there’s absolutely no indication in the text Moses knew that would happen. Think about the courage Moses exhibited—he reached out and grabbed one of the deadliest animals on the planet because God told him to do so.

The record does not reveal the kind of snake Moses’ staff became, but just imagine being asked to reach out and grab a cobra by the tail. I think I’d pass. God doesn’t ask you to handle snakes today, but you need courage to obey God appropriately. In fact, God said that he will cast the cowardly into that eternal lake of fire (Rev 21:8).

Do you need courage to obey the divine?

  • Perhaps you need courage to repent of a public sin.
  • Perhaps you need courage to speak to a friend about Jesus.
  • Perhaps you need courage to reject the taunting of your family.
  • Perhaps you need courage to surrender your favorite sin.
  • Perhaps you need courage to keep your faith in the face of your friends.

Moses needed courage, and he found the courage. Because of his courage and faith, Moses enjoyed fellowship with God like no other mortal man: “The LORD used to speak to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend” (Ex 33:11).

No, obeying God isn’t easy. Our flesh wars against the spirit. Our culture lures us to the easy way. But the reward is great. Not only will God consider you a friend (cf. Js 4:4), but he will, one sweet day, say to you, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

This article was originally written by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., for the weekly newsletter at Church of Christ Deer Park in Deer Park, Texas.

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