Hugh Latimer was a bold and courageous preacher in the early 1500’s, and was an influential voice as the Reformation movement spread into England. You can research for yourself some of his statements of courage. He was willing to deal with the consequences of King Henry VIII, and did not fear punishment from the King of England. His own words support the reason. He was more fearful of the King of Kings than the King of England. When Mary Tudor later ascended to the throne and imposed her strong Catholic beliefs on the country, Hugh was arrested and tried for treason which resulted in his being burned at the stake. Even in his death, Hugh exhorted the Gospel and acknowledged the grace of God would be a light that would not be extinguished by his death.
What courage! What motivation of an example of one who fears God more than people, government, or possessions. Even at the threat of death, Hugh serves as a model for us. Similarly, we consider the midwives in Exodus 1 who feared God more than the dictatorial threat of the Pharaoh. They were not willing to abide by his command to kill innocent babies. We could go on to look at Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego. We could admire Daniel who was put in the lion’s den. You may know of modern day example of courageous men and women who would not violate Scripture in the face of a threat.
We must recognize that God is faithful. Latimer’s courage did not exempt him from death. Yet, he honored God above all. You and I have opportunities to demonstrate this courage each day. It does not require physical threat or persecution. It may be the commitment to pay our taxes, speak with integrity, keep our promises, be faithful to our spouse, resist temptation, help a neighbor in need, engage in solutions to prevent crime in our city, and more.
Each of us are daily given choices to make that demonstrate that we fear God and choose to obey Him more than fearing man. I close this week’s blog with a passage quoting Joshua:
“For this commandment I give you today is not too difficult for you or beyond your reach. It is not in heaven, that you should need to ask, ‘Who will ascend into heaven to get it for us and proclaim it, that we may obey it?’ And it is not beyond the sea, that you should need to ask, ‘Who will cross the sea to get it for us and proclaim it, that we may obey it?’ But the word is very near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart,f so that you may obey it. See, I have set before you today life and goodness, as well as death and disaster. For I am commanding you today to love the LORD your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, statutes, and ordinances, so that you may live and increase, and the LORD your God may bless you in the land that you are entering to possess. But if your heart turns away and you do not listen, but are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you today that you will surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you today that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Therefore choose life, so that you and your descendants may live, and that you may love the LORD your God, obey Him, and hold fast to Him. For He is your life, and He will prolong your life in the land that the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”