Since we seem to be living in Old Testament times, I’ve decided to use my devotional time to see how the Israelites handled the many obstacles they faced. I read 2Chronicles 20 yesterday. It had such a profound effect on me, I had to read it again today.
At the time, Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah in Jerusalem. “A vast army” of the Moabites and Ammonites came to wage war on them. Knowing they were powerless to defeat the army, King Jehoshaphat stood before “the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord” and called out to God for guidance. What humility we see in the king here. He doesn’t stand before his people attempting to instill confidence in himself. He doesn’t make promises he knows he can’t keep. He calls out to his God for help.
God answers him through the words of the prophet, Jabaziel:
“…Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them…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 and tLord will be with you.” (v. 15-17)
Here we see God answering the king’s plea immediately. There is no delay. The men are most likely scared and feeling this impending war will be futile, but God tells them twice not to be afraid or discouraged. When God repeats Himself, He really wants us to get His point. Then he gives them marching orders. Despite the fact that they are afraid, he directs them to show up for the fight. “March down against them.” “Take up your positions.” They don’t have to fight, but they do have to show up for the battle.
Sometimes that’s the hardest part: showing up for the battle. I don’t really want to go to that doctor’s appointment. I might get scary news. I’m not sure I want to go back to work. What if I get sick? I don’t want to talk to my spouse/kid/friend about that thing that’s bugging me. What if it causes an argument? I’m not even sure I want to go to the grocery store right now. But what if we took these ancient words to heart as if they were God’s love letter to us?
“You will not have to fight this battle.”
Hmm. . .that changes things a little. All I have to do is show up? God will do the work? Wait. Let me look at that again. What’s my part?
“Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.”
Stand firm. How do I stand firm? That verse harkens back to putting on the whole armor of God in Ephesians 6, beginning at verse 10. In that letter, Paul encourages us to suit up with spiritual armor, describing each piece and its function. And after we have done everything, to stand. Like a strong, brave, confident soldier, to stand firm. Just as God called the people of Judah and Jerusalem in the passage above. If they remained scared and discouraged, they could not stand firm. But God was with them. This passage also reminds me of Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.”
God does indeed show up for King Jehoshaphat and his people. He not only sets up an ambush against the Ammonites and Moabites, but Judah’s enemies actually fight amongst themselves. The result? All of Judah and Jerusalem’s enemies were defeated. Can you imagine this scene and the awe and wonder instilled in the victorious people that day?
How does the story end?
“And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” (v. 30)
Ahh. Yes, Lord. I want rest. On every side. I’m taking a lesson from these brave folks today. These battles in front of me are not mine to fight.
God’s got me.
He’s got you, too.
Seek Him. Find peace.