Both of today’s passages, 1 Chronicles 28 and Revelation 13, call for courage in the face of fear. In light of today’s world news it makes me wonder about when it is I avoid some pretty negligible fear altogether, rather than confronting and being courageous in the face of it for our Lord’s sake.
In verse 20 of today’s Old Testament passage, David urges his son Solomon in relation to the future construction of the temple as follows:
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you until all the work for the service of the temple of the Lord is finished.
David presents the faithful Lord who will guide Solomon in all his work. Construction of the great temple for The Lord must have been a terrifying thing, but we know from later passages that Solomon followed it through with the Lord’s guidance.
Revelation 13 then speaks of two brutal beasts – of great worldly power and dominion who, by worldly standards, appeared incapable of being defeated. They are vested with Satan’s (the dragon’s) power, and at the very least appear to refer to the might of Rome (the first beast) and the regional authorities to whom Rome delegated its power (the second beast). The symbolism might also extend to later worldly authorities.
The call of The Lord for the saints in the face of such worldly power in verse 10 is very confronting:
“If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity they will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword they will be killed.” This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of God’s people.
This obviously is all the more confronting when we consider the plight of our brothers and sisters in northern Iraq. Many are dying at present for their faith, in the face of radical Islamic militants. Many are holding faithfully to Jesus’ words, knowing that He will have the final victory. They know that with God’s help, their faithfulness is building the temple of His people just as Solomon’s did the temple of His sanctuary and the kings of Judah.
In today’s NSW, by contrast I feel like the greatest fear may be of a difficult conversation or of being thought of as “weird” for professing Christian faith. Of course God will be victorious in guiding the outcome of those situations if I would just face up to them. May we pray today for the persecution of the Iraqi Christians to stop, and if it will not then that our brothers and sisters may remain courageously faithful. May we likewise face whatever much less grave fears we have, and serve our Lord this day.