Encouragement for the battle. 2 Chronicles 20.1-3
It is no secret that our faith usually does not grow too much unless there are tough times. Could it be that FAITH is much like a muscle? It grows bigger and stronger when we exercise it; and conversely, when we do not exercise it, our faith shrivels and … well maybe even dies. COVID HAS GIVEN ALL OF US AN IDEA ABOUT OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN GOD AS OUR FATHER. Sometimes, there is absolutely nothing we can humanly do to effect change; however, God can act. The fact is, God does act in response to the prayers of those who place their trust in him and turn to him in prayer. It is ours to pray in faith and his to come and do what only he can do.
Come with me to 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. link: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=2%20Chronicles%2020&version=NIV
This is an incredible story--one I remind myself of often. Here's the scene--Jehoshaphat is made aware that he is about to be attacked by a 'vast' army. To say that his back is against the wall is an understatement, but what is his response? Jehoshaphat prays to God for help and declares a fast, (as a respected leader, the people heed his words). From the temple courtyard, he stands and addresses his Commander in Chief, God. Notice how he starts his prayer with adoration and then recalls how God has taken care of the people up until this point. He concludes his prayer with, "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."
This is the place of surrender. This is the time you decide you want God to lead your life... pray to him and transfer what you are carrying on to him.
So, Jehoshaphat? The Lord hears his prayer and sends a message to the people:
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.”
For the battle is not yours, but God's. (verse 15)
What are you up against, my friend, trying to fight, control or solve on your own? God is saying, 'do not be afraid or discouraged. . . the battle is not yours, but mine.'
Could we stop right here and pray? From Southern California to New York, down to Florida to Portugal, the Netherlands, to Kenya and South Africa, the Philippines and India---let us join together in prayer: Dear God, WE ARE IN A BATTLE RIGHT NOW… nothing escapes your notice, and nothing has caught you by surprise. You told us to pray continually, to bring our needs to you. Won't you take our situations--COVID, the cancer diagnosis, the test results that will soon be given, the premature baby in the NICU, our economy, etc. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you, Lord. We will not be afraid, we will not let ourselves be discouraged. We take you at your word--the battle is not ours, but yours. Our trust is in you, sweet Lord. Come, move. . . In your powerful name we pray, Amen.
Meanwhile back on the hillside with Jehoshaphat . . . what happens? Well, as his men are marching down to face the battle, Jehoshaphat appoints men to sing praises to God-- (can you just imagine what the opposition was thinking as they heard them coming? Crazy Jews)-- so sure of the victory God had promised them (verse 17). The opposing armies then turn on each other, destroy one another, and Jehoshaphat's men never have to fight! Isn’t that crazy? Oh, how I love this story of God's faithfulness!
What was the response of Jehoshaphat's people? Led by Jehoshaphat, they went back into Jerusalem, went to the temple to praise God with musical instruments, giving him the glory he deserved.
Once again, we see how different things are when we are operating in God's economy--God didn't just help Jehoshaphat's armies, he caused the other armies to destroy each other so that Jehoshaphat's men never had to fight the battle! Not much has changed in 3000 years. God is still willing . . . no, not just willing, but wanting to fight our (just) battles.
Surrender yourself to God,
and then surrender whatever concerns you today;
go ahead, he's big enough.
What’s more, he’s good enough.
Man, I love a good story, especially when it shows the power of our God wielded through the prayers of the faithful. God wants to fight our battles ... let him?
Throughout the Old Testament, every time God's
people cry out to him, he comes and answers--he performs a rescue.
Crying out to God on your behalf,