”And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…..
Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel……
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
Have you ever experienced a time when it felt like you were facing a battle of your life alone…your enemies surrounding you, the attacks unyielding?
Did you ever think to yourself, “This is it! there’s absolutely no way I can win this?”
Jehoshaphat surely did….. his reaction can help me to have confidence in crisis when I am confident in my God and not in myself in this New Year 2016. Jehoshaphat had a character flaw that God saw and wanted to correct, so He brought a battle bigger and stronger than Jehoshaphat had ever seen. It seems that Jehoshaphat had a thing with making the wrong allies with godless men like King Ahab.
As the story goes God delivered the surprise package in the form of not one, but a multitude of enemies knocking at his front door as the Lord would be ringing in the year with spiritual reform for the nation of Israel. (19:4-11)
However, Jehoshaphat’s response was anything but confident as his intelligence sources came running in with horrifying news…… “A great multitude is coming against you fro beyond the sea, out of Aram, (Edom) and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar.” In other words, the enemy coalition was only 15 miles south of Jerusalem, on the western shore of the Red Sea. Needless to say it seemed that Jehoshaphat’s life and his entire kingdom were….on the ‘brink of extinction’! Enter panic!
So what does he do? I thought to myself, Marty, ‘what would you do’ if you heard threatening news that would affect your future and plans for your life?
Jehoshaphat known to be a godly king did the right thing: He called for a national prayer meeting and encouraged the people to….trust God as together, they faced a most overwhelming crisis…
The result? They did it! they won what seemed impossible by prayer alone…not swinging one sword! I like this description of my ENEMY and how he works daily to defeat me. Rodney Frye describes it as a 3-fold assault going on against us. The WORLD, the FLESH, and the DEVIL.”
We have our on flesh wanting to distract us with to sin. We have the World always enticing up back to our old lives and we have the Devil making sure everything goes according to plan. He describes a story in his own life to illustrate the point of this life being a battlefield and how we must take a stand against it but yielding to God and trusting Him to fight the battle.
He writes: “There used to be a bully who who would demand my lunch money every day….since I was smaller I would give it to him. Then one day I decided to fight back…I began taking Karate lessons but the instructor wanted $5.00 per lesson….that was a lot of money for me so I found it was cheaper for me to just pay the bully…..I gave up karate.”
To many of us easier to pay the bully than to learn how to defeat him. Face it, living in this world is a battlefield…NOT a playground! It is going to take the full armor of God to our prayer closets to battle with Satan.
Jehoshaphat and the nation of Israel did, and won the war by prayer alone! As we enter into a New Year in 2016 , we are sure of one thing, there will be a crisis coming our way, but when it comes, what confidence will we have? We can be confident that in that time of crisis, if we just let our great needs drive us to prayer God will not hesitate to fight our battles! You may have thought to yourself when the crisis comes knocking at your door, “I can do this!” only to find yourself collapsing under the weakness of what you perceived to be was your strength.
You know, one day you go to sleep; all’s well! and the next day ‘all hell breaks loose’… You didn’t know if you were ‘coming or going’.
For me on this New Year’s Day / 2016 it led me to ask myself 3 questions… While most people were making resolutions last night, I decided it was time to take inventory and see where my confidence during a crisis was going to be, in myself…or in the might of God’s power.
(1.) What challenges have i been facing that I just can’t seem to shake and have tried to ‘handle’ myself. (2) What obstacles keep me from ‘letting go’ and submitting to God in prayer?
(3) Have I allowed people around me to control my life and not trust God? My answers were yes, yes, and yes. And so I decided to write God a letter, writing these things down and looked up scripture promises and reminders of His faithfulness to me in fighting my battles and having confidence trusting God. relinquishing control attempts by the world, my flesh and the devil by taking every crisis to prayer.
Ephesians 6:12 is at the top of my list: ‘For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.”
Three times the word ‘against’ is mentioned. It doesn’t say ‘stand by’ and just ‘wait it out’….it says do something! In the following verses the command to put on the armor of God, in preparation for verse (18) : “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints..”
If only we take this to heart this New Year 2016! PRAY, STAND STILL, WATCH FOR VICTORY IN THE CRISIS as the LORD destroys my enemies!
Imagine a year filled with victory after victory as we exercise trusting God with confidence that His ‘yes is amen!’ “No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their vindication from Me, declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17) As the nation Jehoshaphat had gathered at the Temple for prayer, something quite remarkable occurred, the Spirit of God came upon a prophet in the assembly.(14) He begin to encourage them not to fear and went on to assure them that God would fight their battle…..for them. (15-17)
When the people heard these words through the prophet, everyone fell down and worshiped and stood up and sang loud praises! (18-19). What a display of humility that one man setting aside his own pride and chooses to humble himself and acknowledge in him is not enough, but in God he has victory! If Jehoshaphat had acted in pride and sent his troops out to ‘defend the honor’ they surely would have been wiped out….and then as he called this prayer meeting, God shows up and instead chooses to speak through someone else! If Jehoshaphat had acted in pride saying, “wait a minute! I’m the king! It was I who called this prayer meeting! Who does this prophet think he is to get a message from God? Instead, he was humbly willing to submit to God’s Word….through another man…. Confidence in Crisis this year means I need to keep myself, the world, the flesh, the devil from ‘stealing the show’.
And THEN, based on the ‘PROPHET’S’ word from God, the people got up early the next morning and marched to the battlefield …..led by Jehoshaphat? NO, they were led by a choir singing praises….of all things…(20:21)
God would cause the enemy armies to ‘turn against each other” All that was left for the people of Israel was collect the spoil and celebrate the victory!
Okay, the promise God gave through this prophet (14-30) was one thing….believing and taking action on it was something else. These singers were all about taking action staking their lives on the Truthfulness, (The fact of being true) of the word they heard from God.
Have you ever done something so crazy that it becomes life-changing? I remember when I first came to know Jesus as my Redeemer. Family and friends all had that same look on their faces; ‘Marty has done something really crazy, my goodness he isn’t becoming another one of those Jesus freaks is he?’ Pretty soon I’m attending church three times a week, going to anything to do with Jesus. Not long before I was going on Mission trips to Mexico, and then attending Bible College and Schools of Ministry and the latest, Marty and Patty moving 500 miles north leaving everything behind to follow God’s calling.
These singers had probably had that same spirit doing a ‘crazy thing’…..marching unarmed before an army, singing praises to God against a fully armed powerful enemy!
Jehoshaphat encouraged the people saying, “Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will be established, put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” (20) This led the people into putting some leather in their shoes and marching for the Lord!
When we become totally reliant on God, we are always rewarded by Him. He never fails all who trust Him and obey His Word. Of course this doesn’t mean that He will deliver those who trust Him from suffering and death. Hebrews 11 is full of saints who trusted God and lost their heads.
The wonderful thing is that there’s more than just this earthly life, this isn’t the final chapter. Just as God rewarded Israel with the spoil of victory, so will he reward the followers of Jesus.
Patty and I being baseball fans, I ran into this really neat T-shirt. It say’s: ‘Bottom of the 9th, down three runs, bases loaded, 2 outs, full count 3-2……the hitter swings and that ball is outta here!’ No fear! The shirt effusing the confidence in a crisis… As Christian’s, 2016 is a brand new page in our stories. Why not ‘take a page’ and join Jehoshaphat in rejecting anything to do with self-confidence and acknowledge, “O God, I’m powerless and I don’t know what to do….but YOU do! My eyes are on You God!
Corrie Ten Boom author of “The Hiding Place” and survivor of a German concentration camp used to have people come up to her and say, “Corrie, my, what a great faith you have!” She would smile and reply, “No, it’s what a Great God I have!”
Confident in Crisis 2016 starts with one person, one prayer at time and then comes the earthly dress rehearsal for heaven!
Maybe you’re like I used to be before I began my ‘free trial’ in day by day; crisis after crisis putting my trust in God and letting Him fight the battle. It wasn’t long ago when I was fighting my crisis against cancer.
It’s been three years since God delivered me. He gave His Word to Patty and I (John 11;4) asking us to simply trust in Him in the midst of the surgery, in the deep of the chemotherapy. One thing we learned was that God keeps His Word and simply asks us to believe it always remember that He is faithful!. (Philippians 1:6).
Jehoshaphat’s prayer teaches us that God alone will fight for you.
There is a story of a man who had a firewood factory who use a circular saw for cutting the timber. Until recently this saw was previously worked by a crank ….turned by men. It was slow work, until we bought a gas engine. The saw, now driven by this engine does more work at less cost! It’s the same saw, but the difference maker is in what powers and drives it. Before, driven by ‘hand power’ and now, by this engine, the only thing needed to keep the connecting band tight is adjustment. It is not a question of our abilities, but of the power behind us. (F.B. Meyer)
And so as 2016 officially begins, I am not entering this year blindly and deaf, I will ponder the words I have written and I will thank God that He will be with me when the crisis come. And I will lean on Him trusting that He is at work, faithfully completing the work He first began in me. (Philippians 1:6). Maybe you’ve been moved or challenged in what moves you in a time of crisis and you know about religion, but don’t know Jesus. He is the One who has come to set you free from yourself. Ask Him into your life. All He requires is you confess who you are, a sinner in need of forgiveness. He will wipe away every one. He loves you to the degree that He gave His life for you. Right now, right here, ask Him to be your Savior. “Because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, ‘Everyone who believes in Him will not be put to shame..’ for there is no distinction between Jew or Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing His riches on all who call on Him, for everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)