Spirit of the Lord Inspires Faith – My Daily Bread!
An example of God’s encouragement to his people in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds is found in the Old Testament at 2 Chronicles 20: 15-17, NIV. These words have inspired the hearts of Christians for centuries, I pray they increase your faith and courage for God: It reads:
“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. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you”!
The events that resulted in the awesome statement of Faith in today’s reflection occurred during the reign of King Jehoshaphat, one of the good kings of Judah who was noted for his devotion to the Lord and many reforms to return the people back to the Lord; for by this time the Israelites had fallen into idolatry and sinful living. In chapter 20 we find them surrounded by 3 different armies who are set to attack.
What unfolds is a beautiful story of relying and trusting in God when there is no foreseeable solution to a hopeless situation and some very important lessons about the right things to do under pressure. How the King reacted is a model for us today when faced with our own battles. Here is what he did:
Although the Word says he became “alarmed”, he was not dismayed, or overcome to the point of inaction; he prayed; and redirected his attention totally to God. He then declared a day of fasting, the purpose of the fast was to take their eyes off of the things of the world and concentrate on the things of God, to focus on their relationship with God. The Word says “he 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”. (vs. 3-4)
He admitted their limitations in the situation, and pointed the people to God for a solution. He stood up in front of the entire assembly which included “all the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones” (vs. 13), and admitted in prayer “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” (v 12).
GOD IN ACTION: At this point “the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel” (vs. 14) and he actually uttered the words of encouragement noted above in front of the entire assembly. God answered their prayers!
He humbled himself before the Lord in front of the people and led them in worship. After hearing these words from God, we are told “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord”. (vs18)
He recognized God’s power working on their behalf and encouraged them to be strong. The next morning as they left for battle he told them “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld” (v 20). Surely he believed the words of the Psalmist who said “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him” (Psalms 115:3)
He praised and thanked God for His loving kindness before they set out for the battle. He “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.” (vs. 21)
GOD IN ACTION: “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”. (vs. 22-23) God caused the armies to destroy each other. By the time the Israelites got to the battle, everyone was dead; they did not have to fight, but experienced God’s salvation in a mighty way!
They returned from their battle and praised and worshiped the Lord with great joy. “Then lead by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets”. (vs. 27-28)
God in His infinite mercy answered their prayers. The Battle was truly the Lord’s! However God did have some specific requirements for them. They had to move out confident in God’s promise that He was their salvation. They had to go to the battle field and take up their positions. They had to stand firm. They had to exercise their faith in God and here is the miracle: believing on God enabled them to act in accordance with His will!
Saints, this is the same recipe for us today! Many times we too will find ourselves on the “battlefield”; do not be alarmed, afraid, or discouraged: humble yourself before God in prayer; acknowledge your limitations in the situation and seek God’s solution; devote yourself to God and the things of God and to improving your relationship with God; recognize His power at work in you and be encouraged by seeking Him in His Word; Worship Him in the splendor of His Holiness; Offer God praise and thanksgiving before you seek His solution. And most importantly: ‘Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you’ and exalt Him for the victory in Christ Jesus, yes even before you know what that victory looks like – for ‘the battle is not ours but the Lords’!
Copyright© 2011-2013 Colleen Holton All Rights Reserved.