Chutzpah, a Yiddish word, means audacity, utter nerve, effrontery, nearly arrogant courage, impudence, supreme self-confidence, unbelievable gall, insolence. Most of those sound awful. Author Ruth Pennebaker says New York pedestrians have chutzpah; “They step into traffic, no matter what color the traffic light is, no matter whether it’s a Greyhound bus or some hybrid toy car bearing down on them. These pedestrians do not look, they do not flinch, they only move forward in any direction they want to go. When they come face-to-face with a car and driver, they show total disdain and the purest scorn.” That’s bad chutzpah. Arrogant insolence. Don’t do that.
But there is good chutzpah, and it is audacious, as well. Abraham had a good chutzpah when he negotiated with God. Imagine that, God shares his plan with Abraham to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah, and Abraham challenges God. “What if there are 50 righteous?” he asks. “What about 45? What about 40? What about 30? 20? 10?” (Genesis 18:23-33).
Moses had good chutzpah, too. The Israelites were rebellious, and God had had enough. He was ready to choose another chosen people. Like Abraham, Moses argued with God, asking for grace, even though the Israelites deserved judgment (Numbers 14:13-19). God said, “Okay.” It seems like God likes people to come to him with chutzpah. King David is another one. He stood with God and could not fathom why anyone would be afraid of a giant. “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin,” David barked at the giant, “but I come to you in the name of the Lord of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand!” (1Samuel 17:45-46). That’s good chutzpah. Of course, Jesus had chutzpah, “On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not stand against it!” (Matthew 16:18)
How’s your prayer life? Routine? Perhaps it could use some chutzpah.
My God, I love Your promises. Ask anything in faith and it will be done for you. You do not have, because you do not ask. God, may I be bold with You. May I trust You so much that I believe You go before me. That what You have in mind will be best for me. Not my will, but Yours be done. Delight myself in You and I will have the desires of my heart. All things work for good to those who love You.
With great boldness, God, may I step out in faith and call on Your promises. May I walk in expectation that You mean what You say, and that my life has meaning because You set my path in front of me. God, I trust You.