Red Village Church

Be Courageous – 1 Samuel 19: 1-24

1 And Saul spoke to Jonathan his son and to all his servants, that they should kill David. But Jonathan, Saul’s son, delighted much in David. 2 And Jonathan told David, “Saul my father seeks to kill you. Therefore be on your guard in the morning. Stay in a secret place and hide yourself. 3 And I will go out and stand beside my father in the field where you are, and I will speak to my father about you. And if I learn anything I will tell you.” 4 And Jonathan spoke well of David to Saul his father and said to him, “Let not the king sin against his servant David, because he has not sinned against you, and because his deeds have brought good to you. 5 For he took his life in his hand and he struck down the Philistine, and the LORD worked a great salvation for all Israel. You saw it, and rejoiced. Why then will you sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause?” 6 And Saul listened to the voice of Jonathan. Saul swore, “As the LORD lives, he shall not be put to death.” 7 And Jonathan called David, and Jonathan reported to him all these things. And Jonathan brought David to Saul, and he was in his presence as before.
1 Sam. 19:1-7


We know there are certain elements or traits that are to be present in our Christian walk. We know we are to be loving, we are to be kind, we are to be patient. We are to be long-suffering, among other similar traits. But this morning, as we gather together, there is an element or trait of our faith that is to be present. That perhaps we don’t think about as often as we should. The element or trait of courage. Courage to do the right thing, to say the right thing. Courage to live our faith, even when it might bring with it difficulty or challenges.


Perhaps the most famous verse in Scripture that speaks towards the need for courage to be present in our faith is from the book of Joshua chapter 1, which says this: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”


Now I say all of this to you this morning to help set us up for our text of study from 1 Samuel 19, which is another text that details the ongoing struggle with sin that King Saul was falling into as he tried to hold on to his kingdom which was being taken from him. Saul’s example serves as a warning to us. However, this morning, where I am hoping for us to concentrate this time is not by focusing on Saul’s negative example. Rather, this morning, I think where the text is leading us to focus is actually with Saul’s son Jonathan, his daughter Michal, and Samuel the prophet and priest, who we will see in this text. Each showed courage in their love towards David, who was anointed to be the king and whose life was at risk.


Now before we dig into chapter 19, a quick reminder of where we have been recently in our study. As mentioned, Saul has continued to struggle with many different sins. And one of the great reasons behind those sins was Saul’s consuming desire to keep his power as king, even though the Lord told him a couple of different times that the kingdom would be taken from him and given to a king that was from God’s own heart, which was David.


At first, I don’t think Saul understood who this king after God’s own heart was going to be, who would be given the kingdom. However, over the last few texts, it seems that Saul was starting to piece things together and have a more clear understanding that David was going to be the king, the one from God who would come to take his place. And as Saul began to piece things together, he came to the conclusion that the only way he could keep his kingdom was by killing David, even though David was Saul’s trusted servant, who accomplished some great military victories on his behalf.


And our text today is just another attempt by Saul to take David’s life. However, in our text today, as Saul was trying to once again take David’s life, we will see Jonathan, Michal, and Samuel show great courage in the way they sought to protect David and his life, which in doing so, put their own lives at risk.


So with that as a little refresher of where we left off, look back with me starting in verse 1. And as you look back with me, our passage today will be broken up into three different scenes, one scene for each courageous character.


Scene 1, which will be verses 1-7, details the courage of Jonathan. Scene 2, which will be verses 8-17, details the courage of Michal. And finally, Scene 3, starting in verse 18, is where we see the courage of Samuel.


So, in Scene 1, starting in verse 1, we see Saul having a conversation with his son Jonathan and all of his servants. In that conversation, we see Saul give them an instruction, which was to kill David. This shows us just how far Saul’s sinful quest for control continued to spiral, as well as how much the root of bitterness had continued to grow. At first, Saul was a little more private in his hatred and bitterness toward David, who was the threat to his control. Now, he did have times of trying to kill David by throwing a spear at him, which no doubt others witnessed. So, he wasn’t private in those moments.


But there were other moments in previous passages where Saul was private in his plans to kill David, scheming and manipulating things around him. Remember how he pretended to honor David with a military role, just so he could easily put David on the front lines of war, a place where his life was at great risk. And remember how Saul devised a plan of telling David he could marry his daughter, but first he had to pay the bride price of killing 100 Philistines, once again putting David at risk. Those were more private, manipulative attempts of Saul seeking to kill David, where Saul could get what he wanted but save face and not look like the bad guy.


But now, over time, Saul was not hiding anything anymore. He wanted David dead, so he very publicly put out a hit on his life, telling Jonathan and all of his servants they were to seek and kill David. However, as Saul was giving his orders, this did not sit well with Jonathan, who delighted in David and had a deep friendship with him. So in verse 2, Jonathan did a risky, potentially costly, courageous thing. He went to David to let him know what his father, King Saul, was up to, telling David how his father was seeking to kill him and advising him to be on guard and find a safe place to hide. And while David was hiding in safety, Jonathan let his friend know in verse 3 that he would go to his father, stand in the field where he was, and talk to his dad about David, just to hear what Saul might say. Then, Jonathan promised that he would tell David any information he learned.


This act was risky and potentially costly for Jonathan. If his father caught wind of what he was doing, who knows how Saul might turn on him. After all, a few times in our study, we have seen it was clear that Saul had no problem sacrificing his own kids to keep that which he wanted. For Jonathan, the easy thing to do, the cowardly easy thing to do, was nothing – to hear the order to kill David and just keep it to himself.


Verse 4 shows that Jonathan not only met with his dad to hear his thoughts about David, but he also went even further in his act of courage by speaking well about David to Saul and even giving Saul a rebuke in his thoughts about David. This was a courageous act, as it was uncertain how Saul would respond to Jonathan saying nice things about the very person Saul harbored bitter hatred towards, while also telling Saul he was wrong.


And as Jonathan spoke up to Saul, he said to his dad, “let not the king sin against his servant David. Dad, don’t do that because you know that David did not sin against you. Rather, you know David actually brought forth good for you by his deeds.” In verse 5, Jonathan reminded Saul that David put his life on the line when he went against Goliath in the valley and struck down the great Philistine, where the Lord worked a great salvation that all in Israel, including Saul, got to enjoy. He told Saul that he saw it and even rejoiced, so he questioned why Saul was willing to sin against innocent blood by killing David without cause.


As Jonathan put himself out there for his friend David and gave a rebuke to his dad, it actually struck a chord with Saul in verse 9. To the point that Saul not only listened to Jonathan but even agreed with him in such a way that he declared that as the Lord lives, David shall not be put to death. This was a very risky action by Jonathan, a courageous act that could have been deadly for him if Saul did not receive it the way he did.


In verse 7, as Saul made this decree to spare the life of David, we read that Jonathan called for David to give him the promised report, which might have been a surprising report for David to hear. David heard the good report, learning that not only did Saul take the bounty off his head, but also declared that no one was to touch David. As David received this report, he clearly trusted what Jonathan told him, and we read that David agreed for Jonathan to even bring him to Saul, to be back in his presence as he was before. This ends scene 1 in our text, an incredible act of courage by Jonathan that God used to spare the life of David, His anointed one.


Moving on to verse 8, which starts scene 2 and the courage of Michal. In the text, we read that there was war again in Israel. We don’t know how much time has passed between scene 1 and scene 2, perhaps weeks, months, or even longer. We just know that Israel was back at war, fighting against their common foe in 1 Samuel, the Philistines. As they were at war, David was also back again fighting. As David and Israel fought, the Lord continued to be with David, giving him favor, so that through David, Israel was able to strike the Philistines with a great blow, causing the Philistines to flee. This has also been a common outcome in the many ongoing battles between these two parties.


However, even though David was once again used by God to bring forth victory for his people, we see in verse 9 that the victory did not lead Saul to celebrate. This is because a harmful spirit from the Lord came upon Saul yet again.


As Saul sat with the harmful spirit, we read that he also once again sat with his spear in hand, which seemed to be his security blanket. And as Saul sat in misery, we read that he called David over to himself to play for him the lyre. In previous chapters, this was a means of grace in Saul’s life that drove the harmful spirit away.


However, as history often repeats itself, especially with Saul, David played the lyre, and as he was present trying to bless miserable Saul, we see that once again Saul’s bitterness got the better of him. So, in verse 10, he took the spear in his hand and once again hurled it at David as Saul tried to pin David to the wall. Only for once again, David being able to dodge the spear and flee and escape from Saul that night.


This is history repeating itself. This is Saul once again falling into the same trap, the same pattern, where he not only never learned from his past failures, but he also never seemed to repent of them. He just kept himself in the same state of ongoing cyclical misery.


In verse 11, David fled, and we see that he went back home. And as he went home, Saul somehow learned of his whereabouts. So, Saul put forth an order to his messengers, which I am assuming were trained military warriors, and they were to go to David’s house. Their mission was to get there by morning so that they could kill David without any more delay.


However, as Saul sought to kill David, Saul’s daughter Michal, who we read in our text in chapter 18 was also David’s wife, knew what Saul’s intentions were for David. Maybe she heard what Saul told the messengers, or perhaps she just knew her dad and how he was. However, she knew what was going to take place.


We read about her move in courage, where she sat down with David that night for a talk so that she could tell what was going to happen from here. She warned David, “Listen to me. I know my Dad, and I know his intention. If you do not escape tonight with your life, if you do not get all the way out of here, come morning, my Dad is going to kill you. He is raging mad right now, and he is not going to stop until you’re dead. We have gone well past the point of being able to rationalize with him, which is what Jonathan was able to do in scene 1. In scene 2, rationalizing was not an option. They were not going to be able to talk this through to help cool Saul down.”


The only option was for David to flee for his life. So, in verse 12, Michal courageously helped David escape through a window so that he could flee to safety, away from the men Saul instructed to kill David. And as David fled, Michal understood she needed to give her husband as much time as she could to get to safety. In further acts of courage, in verse 13, Michal came up with a plan to buy David added time.


Now, she could have just told David what Saul was going to do and leave it at that. She could have maybe just helped him out the window and said she did enough. But here, she is going above and beyond, with an even greater act of courage that would have put her in even greater risk.


And as Michal went above and beyond, we see her plan to buy time for David was the original Ferris Bueller move. Now, if you are not familiar with Ferris Bueller, this is a famous movie from the 80s where a teen devised a plan to skip school for the day. And in this plan, it involved him putting a mannequin in his bed to trick his parents to think he was home sick.


That is basically what Michal did here in our text. We read that she took an image that was in the shape of a man and laid that image in the bed. She then took a pillow that had goat’s hair flowing from it, so that it gave the appearance of a human head. And then to top it off, she covered the image in cloths.


So in the morning, when the messengers of Saul came for David, they would look to the bed, see the image, and assume it was David. And much like Ferris Bueller, Michal would then tell the messengers that David was sick and unable to get out of bed. Now, we don’t know what the layout of the house was like, but you get the sense that as Michal met the messengers at the door, they were able to get at least a bit of a glance at the image in the bed. And between seeing the image in the bed and Michal’s story of sickness, the plan seemed to work; the messengers bought the story.


And as they bought the story, it seemed like the messengers did not know what to do from there. So in verse 15, Saul once again had to send his messengers to insist that they see David. So with one voice, they told Michal, “I don’t care if he is sick, bring him up out of the bed, so that I may kill him.”


Which this here proves that Michal was correct—nothing was going to stop Saul. In verse 16, eventually Michal could stall them no more. No more time to buy. Because the messengers were not going to wait any longer, so they pushed her off to the side and headed straight to the bed. But as they got closer, they could see there was a problem. They could see what was actually in the bed, and it was not a sick David. And as they could see what was actually in the bed, they knew they were just duped.


And as it became obvious what had happened, how Michal bought time for David to flee to safety, Saul spoke to his daughter in disbelief and, I am sure, anger in verse 17, “Why have you deceived me? Why would you let my enemy go? How could you let him escape?”


To which Michal responded back to Saul with a little more deception, telling Saul, “Well, he said to me that I had to let him go or he would kill me.” It’s hard to know what this conversation looked like. But I kind of wonder if, as Michal said this, she did so with a slight grin, with Saul fully knowing that wasn’t true, fully knowing that his daughter helped his great enemy escape.


And this ends scene 2: Courageous Michal, who basically aided and abetted David, who although was innocent, was declared guilty in Saul’s court. To not only help David escape but then put together this entire plan to further buy him time.


Starting with verse 18, which begins scene 3 of the passage, we see that as David fled and escaped, he went to his old friend Samuel, the great prophet and priest, who was at Ramah. This is where Samuel was after he anointed David to be king in chapter 16, which was also the last time Samuel appeared in the text.


In verse 18, as David got to Samuel, they spent some time catching up. David told Samuel everything that Saul had done to him and the many times that Saul tried to kill him. And as Samuel heard this report, he clearly had compassion for David, who was the Lord’s anointed king.


So, in an act of courage, Samuel invited David to stay with him and to live with him in Naioth, which perhaps was a town or more of a shepherding camp. In short, Samuel agreed to harbor a fugitive, which was a risky and courageous act.


As David and Samuel lived together in Naioth, they did not remain fully hidden from Saul. In verse 19, someone told Saul of their location at Naioth in Ramah. And as Saul learned of David’s whereabouts, he sent out his messengers to seek and destroy David once again.


But when the messengers arrived on the scene, they were met with a company of prophets who were prophesying, with Samuel present at the head over them. This was a further act of courage. Samuel could have easily said that the gig was up and that David should leave while he still could. But instead, Samuel and the other prophets courageously stood in the gap between David and those seeking to kill him and prophesied.


It’s hard to know exactly what that looked like; perhaps they were preaching or praying out loud. Whatever the prophesying was, the Lord was clearly at work through it. The Spirit of God came rushing onto the scene and came upon the messengers of Saul to keep them from harming David. Amazingly, as the Spirit fell on the messengers, they too started to prophesy, seemingly becoming convicted and moved into agreement with what Samuel and the prophets were saying.


In verse 21, as this report got back to Saul, it wasn’t enough to convict him or even slow him down to ponder or re-evaluate his decisions. Because we read that Saul sent other messengers to capture David and to get the job done.


But amazingly, the end of verse 21, the same thing happened. Samuel and the prophets were still with courage in front prophesying. This was used by God to send the Spirit of God to come on these messengers as well, so they too started to prophesy as God continued to protect David.


And even this second time of this happening, it still wasn’t enough for Saul to relent. So we read a 3rd time, Saul sent messengers. And a 3rd time, the Lord was at work to not only protect his anointed but also to convict and move the messengers as the third group joined in and started to prophesy.


This really had to be an amazing sight to see. Even though it is hard to know what this all looked like, at the same time, it is easy to picture David surrounded by Samuel and the other prophets who were prophesying as they stood guard in front while the messengers came. And as the words of prophesy landed on the ears of each group of messengers, God worked in such a way that he stopped them in their tracks. In ways that they started to agree and join in with what the prophets were saying.


In verse 22, as Saul got the latest report of the latest group of messengers, this still was not enough for Saul to relent. His heart was still hard. So Saul decided that he himself had to see what was happening, so that he himself could kill David once and for all. So we read in verse 22, Saul went to Ramah. He came to a great well at Secu, which presumably was somewhere in the general area where he knew Samuel, David, and the prophets were located.


And as Saul arrived on the scene, he started to ask around to the locals to see if they knew where Samuel and David were. And as he asked around, one responded back to Saul to tell him exactly where they were located at Naioth in Ramah. So in our text, verse 23, Saul went to where they were. And amazingly, the same thing that happened to the messengers happened to Saul. As the Spirit of God rushed on Saul, he too started too prophesy. And as he began to prophesy with words of agreement with Samuel and the prophets,


Our text ends with Saul stripping off his cloths as he lay naked night and day, prophesying before Samuel. Which it seems here, this action perhaps had a double meaning, perhaps even a third meaning. First meaning, probably the most clear meaning, was God was absolutely humbling Saul. This act would have been a shocking embarrassment and disgrace for a respected king to partake in, lying naked on the floor in front of everyone.


Second meaning is more a symbolic meaning. As it appears that this action of Saul’s clothes being stripped was symbolic of the Lord stripping the kingdom from Saul. And perhaps a third meaning is perhaps a callback to 1 Samuel 5, where the statue of the false God Dagon toppled over laying prostrate before the ark of God. Where here, the false king Saul is toppled over laying prostrated before the great prophet and priest of God.


And as this scene finishes up, our text tells us it does with the people saying once again, “Is Saul also among the prophets?” Which was a phrase used by the people in chapter 10 at the start of Saul’s reign. However, in chapter 10, as this phrase was being said, it was more of a positive. In that there were some positive traits in chapter 10 that Saul seemed to be growing in. But here, today in our text, this phrase that is said seems to be on the negative, where people were confused by what had just happened to once proud King Saul who was now naked and lying on the ground.


Now for the rest of our time together, from this text, I want to flesh a few things out when it comes to courage. Which to say it again, is a trait that is to be present in our faith. We are to be courageous followers of God.


So how I want to work through is first by giving us a few characteristics of courage from our text. Then I want to pass on to you some avenues for us to be courageous in our context. And then lastly, I wanted to speak to you, as pastorally as I can, as it relates to growing challenges you might have to be courageous in the society we currently live in.


But first, a few characteristics found in courage. I could say a lot more but let me give you a handful:


1st. Courage often comes at the expense of comfort. Now we all want to be comfortable. However, at times, to act in faith, to do the right thing, to be courageous, we have to be willing to sacrifice comfort.


And I do think this is often where the dividing line is when it comes to courage and being cowardly: whether or not we are willing to sacrifice comfort. In the text, in each scene, with each character, they could have stayed in comfort, which would have been the easy thing to do. But as we read, they did not do that. They sacrificed comfort in order to act in courage. In fact, they were so courageous they were even willing to risk losing everything that could have easily come by upsetting Saul.


Friends, if you and I are going to be people of courage, at times, when the situation calls for it, we have to be willing to give up our comfort. We have to be willing to do the right thing over the easy thing.


And by the way, a couple of things that we talked about this week in small group that relates to the willingness to sacrifice comfort is that courage has a real component of counting the cost. Where you count the cost of leaving comfort to act in courage. This was certainly true of the characters in our text. They knew the cost that could come for courageously protecting Saul. They knew the comfort they would have to give up in order to save David’s life.


In small group, we also talked about the reality that as they counted the cost, it seems likely in this scene they were nervous, perhaps even scared as they moved in courage. Counting the cost to act in courage doesn’t mean feelings of nervousness are not present. But it does mean that in the end, the desire to be courageous and do the right thing simply wins out.


2nd. Courage seeks the good of others. Which is why courage is different from being obnoxious. You and I can be bold, take bold stands, really throw ourselves out there. But, if in the end, we are self-righteous, proud, and self-serving rather than serving others, that is just being sinfully obnoxious. It is fake courage.


Courage often is standing up, doing the right thing, giving up personal comfort for the good of others. That is what each character in this scene displayed. For the glory of God and the good of David, God’s anointed king, they moved in courage to protect David and his life. They were courageous; these acts were not for their benefit but the benefit of another. Courage is self-less, not selfish.


Third, courage often brings forth more courage. In our study of 1 Samuel, one of the things we have circled around several times was the snowball effect of Saul’s sin. How sin produced more sin, that produced more sin, as Saul’s sinful negative behavior brought forth more sinful negative behavior. Well, I think the same principle can also happen on the positive. Where an act of courage can build off itself in ways that it snowballs into more and more acts of courage.


And I don’t want to press this too far from our text, but we do see each character act in courage. That was followed up by more acts of courage, which were even greater acts of courage than the previous acts. Jonathan was courageous to tell David his dad’s intentions, which led to even more courage to Jonathan even advocating for David to Saul. Michal was courageous to also tell David her dad’s intentions, which led to more courage to help David escape and even greater courage of helping buy David extra time. Samuel was courageous to let David stay with him, which led to even greater courage to stand in the gap multiple times between David and the messengers.


Friends, if you are hoping to grow in your courage, as opportunity comes, take a step of faith and be courageous. And trust that one act of courage can be used by God in your life in ways to snowball into more acts of courage. Which leads to the last thing I want to mention in this section.


Fourth, courage is used by God for the sake of his anointed. Courage is a means by which our God accomplishes his will. Which really, in the end, this story in each scene is ultimately pointing us to the work of God, who used the courage of his people to stand in the gap and protect his anointed one, David.


Friends, God uses courage in great ways. In fact, the message of the gospel or good news of Jesus is dripping with acts of courage. As the Lord Jesus, the eternal Son of God who became flesh, God’s true anointed one, the true Christ, was filled with all courage. In fact, Jesus was filled with such perfect courage that he was the one who counted the cost and laid down his life for the sake of his people, which he did on the cross. So that on the cross, rather than the people standing in the gap for the anointed one, which is 1 Samuel 19, the anointed one, Jesus, stood in the gap for his people. Because it was on the cross that the Lord Jesus bore the wrath of God by taking on the punishment of all of our sin in our place as a substitute, including taking on all of our sins of when we have not acted in courage but have been cowards or obnoxious.


Friends, on the cross, there has never been a greater act of courage. And friends, because Jesus rose again from the dead on the third day, not only do we have full confidence that indeed our sins have been forgiven, that God did indeed use that act of courage done by Jesus. But tied to the theme of this sermon, we also have full confidence that we can be courageous because we know that our anointed one lives and our anointed one Jesus is victorious. So any and all acts of courage where we might walk in faith, that we do for the sake of Jesus, those courageous acts are not in vain. God will use them. He will use them to bring glory to Christ and to build his kingdom that will have no end.


Which leads to the second part of how I want to close our this time, which is simply some thoughts on where you and I might walk in courage in our context. Once again, there is a lot I could say here, but let me just toss a few out there.


I think perhaps the most obvious act of courage we can and should by faith walk in is by sharing our faith in Jesus with the world around us. Starting with those who God has already placed in our lives who do not yet trust in Christ. Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers. Which, no doubt, is not an easy thing for most of us to do. It can be terrifying.


We know the more comfortable thing to do is nothing, cower in silences. But friends, if we are going to be courageous, we must tell others about Jesus. We can’t hide. We must courageously speak up and tell others about the good news of Jesus. But that is not the only place we can show courage.


For some here, perhaps an act of courage for you is to get more involved in church life, where you are pressing in, using your gifts, serving the church as a whole. Which could be terrifying to you, especially if you have been burned in the past or if you’re a little insecure.


For others, an act of courage might lead you to become very open and vulnerable with your small group or to a trusted friend, to confess a sin that you have been hiding for too long as it has been destroying you from the inside.


For others, an act of courage might lead you to stand up for the vulnerable, maybe specifically those still in the womb or a child who is facing some type of abuse or neglect, something like foster care.


For others, an act of courage might lead you to have to give up something that you have been holding onto way too tightly, that it has become an idol to you, which was something we have seen many times Saul did not have the courage to do.


For others, an act of courage might lead you to take a stand for what is right, whether it be at work or maybe even in the college classroom.


For still yet others, perhaps the act of courage you might need to take will lead you to the foreign mission field. To serve God in a dark, lonely, maybe even dangerous place. As mentioned, I could say a lot more, but friends, let’s not waste this text today and the examples in our text, and do nothing. Rather, let’s trust in the Lord and whatever opportunity he puts before us to act in courage. Let’s set our heart to be faithful.


And this leads to the final thing that I want to close this sermon with, which as mentioned is where I hope to be as pastoral as I can. And how I want to do that is simply by acknowledging that we live in a world, a society that is becoming more and more hostile to the truth of God’s Word.


Where society seems to becoming more and more demanding that we submit to the ideals they are promoting, even though they often go against clear teaching in Scripture. And as I acknowledge this, I want to further acknowledge that for some here, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be a faithful Christian at work or in the college classroom.


So let me leave us with a quick story. Let me close with this story which takes us to Romania in the late 1940s as communism was taking over. Among the many things the communist wanted control of was what was taking place in churches. So they gathered together all of the pastors of the area to tell them what they could and could not do going forward, which severely cut against the teaching of the Scripture and the gospel of Jesus Christ to the point that they were insisting on a new religion.


And as the communist were laying this out for the pastors, in the crowd was a young pastor named Richard and his wife Sabrina. And as this meeting went on, Sabrina was not having it. So she looked over to her husband to tell him, “Go up there and wipe the shame off of Jesus’s faith and let them know we are not going to compromise our faith.”


To which Richard responded, “Do you know that this will mean? Do you know the cost of doing this?” This would mean he would no longer have a husband because certainly, he would be arrested for going against the governmental powers. To which Sabrina responded, “I don’t need a coward for a husband.” So Richard counted the cost and in an act of courage went forward to wipe the shame off the face of Jesus by taking a stand, which indeed did lead to his arrest where he would be in prison for 13 years.


But while in prison in further acts of courage, God used Richard to not only preach the gospel of Christ to fellow prisoners, but even to prison guards who at times severely beat him for doing so.


However, through the 13 years in prison, God worked through this act of ongoing courage in such a way that he brought forth many conversions to Christ. And in time, after Richard was released from prison, God used Richard and Saberina to start a ministry called Voice of the Martyrs that has continued to be used by God in ways to advocate for Christians around the world who have taken courageous stands for Christ, many of which paying the ultimate cost of death for doing so.


Dear friends, to say it again, I know right now some of you are already facing various crossroads, which perhaps will only get more intense as time goes by. Where you will have to pay more and more of the cost to stand for Christ.


So if I can humbly encourage you here when you get to the crossroads, remember that Jesus promises to never leave us or forsake us. Remember that his steadfast love is worthy of any and all costs we might pay for acts of courage. And remember what he told us:


“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”