This absessed tooth has unfortunately kept me from completing a Bible each day. My body has demanded rest, and I’ve complied. Today and tomorrow I will put up a couple of posts I already had ready, waiting in the wings. I’m working on my next post from James, but I don’t want to rush it. This first one is a great story of King Jehoshaphat facing trials, and is a wonderful model for us all.
I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about learning to truly lean on God, and not myself. I’ve been pinning many posts and articles on creating a war room. My husband and I are buying a “new to us” house and I’m thrilled that there are two closets in the master – his and hers. Not only will the “hers” house my clothes, but it will also be my prayer room/war room. In roaming around “War Room” boards on Pinterest, I came across a great blog, “True and Faithful: Eyes to See God’s Faithfulness Every Day”. This blog is written by Lisa Appelo. I highly recommend that you check out her page and subscribe! I am sharing a blog post from July 2015 below. Anything written in red are comments or scripture that I have added; these weren’t in the original post. Enjoy!-Sheri
I want to share with you today one of the most powerful chapters in the Bible. If you’re up against a difficulty which seems overwhelming, there are truths in this chapter you’ll want down to your bones. When I was facing the one year mark of Dan’s death, and I was in deep despair and grief, this chapter came up in my daily reading.
When you’re up to your neck in the hard, remember that the battle is not yours. The battle is the Lord’s. And 2 Chronicles 20 shows that in full splendor.
We’re going to jump right in with verse 1. Godly king Jehoshaphat was on the throne of Judah and had been working hard to institute just legal reforms. Suddenly, he found his tiny Judah facing unprovoked war from an alliance of three hostile neighbors that surrounded Judah.
“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom. . . it is already in Hazazon Tamar (that is En Gedi).’ ”
How did Jehoshaphat react? You would think he might rally his troops, plan a counterattack, reinforce the border. Or even panic. But note his six responses to the daunting threat:
1) He sought God’s guidance first.
“Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.” (2 Chron 20:3-4)
Before any plan was made, before he ran to any counselor, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)
2) He acknowledged that God was in control.
“O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” (2 Chron. 20:6)
The enemies weren’t driving the circumstance. They had no authority over God’s people. No matter how dire our circumstances, God is sovereign. “Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the Lord is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.” (Deut. 4:39)
3) He remembered God’s faithfulness and promises.
“O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword or judgment or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’” (2 Chron. 20:7-9)
Each new trial can cause a new crisis of belief for us. Remembering how God has already worked on our behalf bolsters our faith during trials. I cannot count the times I have whispered to my soul that God did not take us this far to drop us now. “Now I am about to go the way of all the earth. You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” (Joshua 23:14)
4) He acknowledged utter dependence on the Lord.
“’For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.’” (2 Chron. 20:12)
Such a vulnerable place. Was God unaware of their need? Was He busy with other matters and needed a tug to get his attention? When circumstances overwhelm us we can think that. But God knew their plight. And God — who only acts in perfect love — allowed His people to get to a place of utter dependence on Him.
A place of absolute dependence on God is a good place to be. It is where we learn to trust God the most, seek God the most and see God the most. And boy were they about to see God.
“This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” (2 Chron. 20:15)
That is THE central truth of this narrative. And while God was specifically assuring Judah, He spoke a universal truth for us. For the people of God, the battle is the Lord’s. He may call us to step up (David) or lead (Gideon) or endure (Joseph) or go forth (Ruth), but the battle is the Lord’s.
Praise His name. We could stop right here and have meat enough to feed on for days. But let’s keep going because what God does is jaw-dropping.
“Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the LORD will be with you.” (2 Chron. 20:16-17)
The battle was the Lord’s but they didn’t get to stay home in bed. In faith, they had to march out, take up positions and stand firm. But God would deliver beyond their wildest imagination.
How do we let God fight for us? (1) by realizing the battle is not ours, but God’s; (2) by recognizing human limitations and allowing God’s strength to work through our fears and weaknesses; (3) by making sure we are pursuing God’s interests and not just our own selfish desires; (4) by asking God for help in our daily battles. (From Life Application Study Bible)
5) He worshipped the Lord.
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.” (2 Chron. 20:18)
What had changed? The dark clouds of a gathering enemy still loomed, but Israel had traded fear for faith, ushering in praise. “and they believed. And when they heard that the Lord was concerned about them and had seen their misery, they bowed down and worshiped.” (Exodus 4:31)
6) They thanked God for His goodness before the rescue.
“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. . . Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.’” (2 Chron. 20:21)
God is Love and no circumstance that will ever exist on this good earth will change that. Can you even imagine how fragrant the thanks and praise offered in that hour was to God? Oh, to be men and women that know and declare that God is good before we ever catch the first glimpse of deliverance. “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good. His love endures forever.” (Psalm 136:1)
Now let this next portion play like a movie reel as the scene unfolds.
“As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.” (2 Chron. 20:22-24)
Picture the men of Judah marching in formation, the echo of praise coming from the front, the rush of adrenaline coursing through their bodies, cresting the hill that would bring them face to face with their enemy and then seeing instead a vast and still valley littered with the fallen bodies of every single enemy soldier.
They must have been stunned. Astounded. Overcome as they took in the scene and fullness of what God had done.
The battle was the Lord’s. Their role had been to obey and praise. “‘When you go to war against your enemies and see horses and chariots and an army greater than yours, do not be afraid of them, because the Lord your God, who brought you up out of Egypt, will be with you. When you are about to go into battle, the priest shall come forward and address the army. He shall say: ‘Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.’” (Deut. 20:1-4)
But that’s not the end of the story:
“So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder . . . more than they could carry away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.” (2 Chron. 20:25)
Trials and suffering, as hard as they are, can be plundered for great value. Right in the middle of suffering, if we will trust God and have eyes to see God’s goodness in the storm, He has lessons and blessings that will be ours to keep forever.