Chutzpah, a Yiddish word, means audacity, utter nerve, effrontery, nearly arrogant courage, impudence, supreme self-confidence, unbelievable gall, insolence. It sounds bad and often is, most frequently, perhaps in New York City when jaywalking pedestrians stride into traffic oblivious to car, taxi, or bus, then pound on the hood and holler at the car that would have hit them had the driver not slammed on the brake.
There is bad chutzpah. Arrogant insolence. Don’t do that.
But there is good chutzpah. Abraham had a good chutzpah. He argued with God over His plans to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah. “What if there are 50 righteous? 45? 40? 30? 20? 10?” (Genesis 18:23-33) Moses had good chutzpah. He, too, argued with God to save His own people, even when they were wrong (Numbers 14:13-19). Jacob wrestled all night with what appeared to be a man, but was at least an angel, and he won, or survived, at least (Genesis 32:24-32). In the morning God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, “for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed” (Genesis 32:28). Jacob’s chutzpah was on display and the very name of the nation Israel is a kind of chutzpah. It means “wrestles with God.”
Jesus draws a picture of prayer by telling a story of a widow pounding all night long on the door of the town judge, demanding justice against an adversary (Luke 18:1-8). It seems God invites a certain kind of chutzpah, good chutzpah, into our relationship with him. How’s your walk with God? 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 You have my best in mind. 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. Transform me, God, into a person of bold, even audacious faith.