Abraham—A Man of Courage
Abraham looks at his family and servants as they prepare to head out into Canaan. (Genesis 12:1-5) Surveying this large group of people who depend on him for their livelihood, Abraham keenly senses his responsibility toward them. How will he provide for their material needs while in an unknown land? Might such a task have been easier back in Ur, a prosperous area with extensive pastures, fertile soil, and an ample water supply? What if he becomes ill or dies in the new land? Who will take care of his family? If Abraham has any such worries, he does not let his fears paralyze him. He is determined to act, to obey God’s commands, come what may—a sign of true courage.
WHAT IS COURAGE? It is the quality of being strong, bold, and valiant—the opposite of timidity or cowardice. Being courageous does not necessarily mean that we are never afraid. Rather, a person with God-given courage takes action in spite of his fears.
HOW DID ABRAHAM DISPLAY COURAGE? Abraham was willing to go against the crowd. Abraham grew up in an environment where people worshipped a multitude of gods and idols. Yet, he did not let fear of what others would think hold him back from doing what he knew was right. Rather, Abraham boldly took a different course in life, choosing to worship only one God—“the Most High God,” Jehovah.—Genesis 14:21, 22.
Abraham put his worship of the true God ahead of material interests. He was willing to give up his comfortable life in Ur and head out into the wilderness, fully trusting that Jehovah would care for his material needs. Of course, as the years went on, Abraham may have thought about some of the comforts he had enjoyed in Ur. But Abraham was certain that Jehovah would always provide for him and his family. Clinging to Jehovah as the most important Person in his life, Abraham found the courage to obey God’s commands.
WHAT ARE THE LESSONS FOR US? We can imitate Abraham by cultivating the courage to obey Jehovah, even if others around us do not do so. For example, the Bible teaches that those who take a stand for their belief in Jehovah God may be opposed, perhaps by well-meaning friends or relatives. (John 15:20) When we are convinced of what we have learned about Jehovah, however, we stand up for our beliefs, doing so in a respectful manner.—1 Peter 3:15.
We can also trust in God’s promise that he will provide for those who place their faith in him. Such trust gives us the courage to center our lives on spiritual things rather than on material concerns. (Matthew 6:33) Consider how one family has done just that.
Although having two young sons, Doug and Becky wanted to move to a country where there was a greater need for preachers of the Bible’s good news. After careful research and fervent prayer, they decided to go ahead with their plans. “It took courage to pack up the kids and move, not knowing exactly how things would work out for us,” says Doug. “But early in our decision-making process, we discussed the example of Abraham and Sarah. Thinking about how they trusted in Jehovah—and how he never let them down—really helped us.”
Regarding their life in a foreign land, Doug says: “We’ve been blessed in a tremendous way.” He explains: “Because our lifestyle is much simpler, we are able to spend most of our day together as a family—preaching, talking with one another, and playing together with the boys. It’s a feeling of freedom that is difficult to put into words.”
Of course, not everyone is in a position to make such a drastic adjustment. Yet, all of us can imitate Abraham’s example by giving priority to our worship of God, trusting that he will be there to support us. When we do so, we are heeding the Bible’s admonition to “be of good courage and say: ‘Jehovah is my helper; I will not be afraid.’”—Hebrews 13:5, 6.
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A person with God-given courage takes action in spite of his fears
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A Godly Woman and a Precious Wife
Sarah was married to an outstanding man of faith. But this godly woman herself set an example worthy of note. In fact, the Bible three times mentions her by name as someone whose example godly women do well to imitate. (Isaiah 51:1, 2; Hebrews 11:11; 1 Peter 3:3-6) Although the Scriptures reveal relatively little about this remarkable woman, we are nonetheless able to glimpse a beautiful picture of her.
Think, for example, of Sarah’s initial reaction when Abraham informed her of God’s direction to leave Ur. Did she wonder where they were headed and why? Did she have concerns about their material needs? Did she feel sad at the thought of leaving her friends and family, not knowing when—if ever—she would see them again? Undoubtedly, such thoughts crossed her mind. Even so, she willingly left, trusting that Jehovah would bless her for her obedience.—Acts 7:2, 3.
In addition to being an obedient servant of God, Sarah was an excellent wife. Rather than competing with her husband for control of the affairs of the family, Sarah cultivated heartfelt respect for her husband, lovingly supporting him as he guided their family. In so doing, she adorned herself—made herself beautiful—by her positive inner qualities.—1 Peter 3:1-6.
Can such traits benefit wives today? “Sarah’s example has taught me that I should feel free to speak up and express my viewpoint to my husband,” says a woman named Jill, who has been happily married for over 30 years. “At the same time,” she continues, “as head of the family, my husband has the responsibility to make the final decision. Once he has done so, it’s my job to do whatever I can to make that decision work.”
Perhaps the most touching lesson we learn from Sarah is this: Although she was very beautiful, Sarah did not allow her physical beauty to cause her to become proud. (Genesis 12:10-13) Rather, she humbly supported Abraham through the ups and downs of their life together. Without a doubt, Abraham and Sarah were a faithful, humble, and loving couple—a couple who truly brought blessings to each other.