Show Up For The Fight!

“A great multitude [a huge force] has come against you from beyond the Dead Sea—there’s no time to waste…”

[2 Chronicles 20:1-2]

Having received this intelligence report, Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was aware of the significance of the threat against his people. Conscious of his own frailty and the weight of his responsibility as leader, Jehoshaphat set himself to seek the Lord.

[Pause]

At first glance, it may appear that this account in 2 Chronicles is just another example of a leader putting their trust in the Lord in preparation for a battle. Yet, we’ll see that Jehoshaphat’s attitude under the weight of such a threat is worth paying attention to. First, we see his immediate devotion to the Lord in the word “seek” in verse 3. This word, which becomes a beautiful thread throughout King Jehoshaphat’s reign, means to discover God’s will in “worship.”

While I consider Jehoshaphat’s posture in a moment of impending doom, I compare the gravity of this threat to my own life and the ones that I love. I think of a dear friend who has just been diagnosed with cancer, and the weeks and months of therapy and surgery to come. I think of another whose husband has lost his job. I recall the face of a precious sister who recently lost her baby and a conversation with another friend who is grieving the choices made by her daughter. I think of those who have been emotionally and physically abandoned. I consider those facing battles in secret. I contemplate my own struggles and how they take a toll on my mind and my heart.

In reference to Jehoshaphat’s devotion to the Lord, we see that it was immediate—without delay. He did not reach out to other trusted leaders or counselors (or friends, like we often do). His trust was placed higher than man, higher than the army of his people, and this became a springboard for guiding his people. While he declared a fast throughout the land, he also entered into prayer…

“O GOD, God of our ancestors, are you not God in heaven above and ruler of all kingdoms below? You hold ALL power and might in your fist—no one stands a chance against you!

And didn’t you make the natives of the land leave as you brought your people Israel in, turning it over permanently to your people Israel, the descendants of Abraham your friend?

They have lived here and built a holy house of worship to honor you, saying, ‘when the worst happens—whether war or flood or disease or famine—and we take our place before this Temple (because you are present here!) and pray out our pain and trouble, we know that you will listen and give us victory.’

[2 Chronicles 20: 5-11 the message]

“We’re helpless before this great force against us.

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

[verse 12 AMP]

Jehoshaphat’s disposition towards God is stunningly beautiful, full of belief and honesty. His prayer is compared to that of the late King of Sweden, Gustavus, who would pray in the middle of battle…

“as if prayer alone were the surest piece of his whole armour” [Trapp].

In full trust, Jehoshaphat confessed among his people that he didn’t have the answers, nor did he know what to do. Yet, he would look to God for help.

Scripture implies that at the conclusion of this prayer in the Temple, the Spirit of God fell upon the people. Spontaneously, through the prophet (Jahaziel), a word was spoken…

“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, you’ll go after them. You won’t have to lift a hand in this battle; just stand firm, and watch God’s saving work for you take shape. Don’t be afraid—do not waver. March out boldly tomorrow—GOD is with you.”

[verses 15-17].

Face to the ground, Jehoshaphat, along with all of Judah and Jerusalem, worshipped God.

As it happened, the next morning, Jehoshaphat gathered his people to march into the wilderness, but not without one final exhortation…

“Believe and trust in the LORD your GOD and you will be established [secure]” [verse 21]

With that, Jehoshaphat did something astonishing. He assembled a choir, dressed in holy robes, and placed them in front of the army. They marched towards the enemy singing,

“Give thanks to the LORD, for His mercy and love endures forever!”

“Give thanks to the LORD, for His mercy and love endures forever!”

“Give thanks to the LORD, for His mercy and love endures forever!”

The LORD sent a series of ambushes, and the enemies ultimately defeated each other. No one escaped, and the army of Jehoshaphat never lifted a weapon.

Reflection

When it comes to facing the intimidating, insurmountable obstacles in life, I have learned to practice control in many cases. In other words, I’ve been able to pick and choose, seemingly dodging battles here and there. Though an illusion, I feel as though I have control, to a certain extent. Yet, more and more, God is saying,

Show up for the fight! The battle is not yours—it is mine!

Friend, what are you wringing your hands over?

When the prophet Jahaziel assured the people of Judah and Jerusalem that the battle was not theirs, there was a sense that all was quiet.

“Oh, when you know the Lord means to deliver you, bow your head and just give him the quiet, deep, solemn worship of your spirit.” {Spurgeon}

Pray –

You deserve every ounce of every breath of our praise, God! Your love never quits.

Give us rest today and a quiet, submissive spirit. Equip us, and when we are ready, let us march out as singing worshippers, thanking you for your massive mercy and endless love.

 

 

 

Summer Pendley

Hi there 🙂 I'm Summer, daughter of Jesus...saved, restored, & known by Him. I've been married to my love, Jason, for 15 years, and am a happy mommy to a son, Noah, and daughter, Sailer. I love quiet mornings, coffee, listening to music, reading, running, and dreaming 😉 I'm passionate about simple things, and making time to encourage and love others well. The intentionality of Jesus, in pursuing me, hemming me in, gathering the ruins of my life, and lavishing grace over me overwhelms me daily. You'll find me here, in story after story of Him rescuing me, loving me, teaching me, and drawing me into worship. In honesty, I'll share of the emotional and psychological strains of my life & how Jesus continues to reclaim & rebuild, from the inside out. Let me always speak of His faithfulness & goodness...so that you will know that He is good.

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