“Yahweh your God is among you, a warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with gladness. He will bring you quietness with His love. He will delight in you with shouts of joy.” Zephaniah 3:17
Life is full of battles; physical, spiritual, and emotional. Ever since sin entered the world in the Garden of Eden, the enemy has been trying to steal, kill and destroy us in any sneaky way that he can. You’ve heard it before, “The battle is real.”
But before we get caught up in the battles, I want to share with you a unique God-focused, God-honoring strategy that is seen over and over in scripture, but particularly in the passage when Jehoshaphat defeats the armies of Moab and Ammon in 2 Chronicles 20.
The Israelites had been living in the Promised Land for many years when some men came and told Jehoshaphat that there was a vast army coming against them from the other side of the sea. Jehoshaphat was alarmed, but he didn’t go straight to his military leaders for advice.
- He resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
His first thought was to seek the Lord in prayer collectively as God’s chosen people. It says that they came from every town in Judah to actively seek the Lord through prayer and fasting.
- He prayed and praised God for who He is and what He had already done for His people.
As Jehoshaphat prayed, he asked God, “Are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?
- He looked to God for help and salvation.
“If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgement or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress and you will hear us and save us.”
- He confessed his weakness and that of the Israelites.
The battles we face are not unlike that of Jehoshaphat and the Israelites. The armies are big, the battles are bigger than we are and overwhelming. We may have warning of their coming like a hurricane, or they may strike unannounced like an earthquake, but no matter the battle, it threatens to undue us or even kill us. Let us confess like Jehoshaphat, “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 on you.” In the words of a friend of mine, “Lord, I can’t. You must.”
We know that in Christ, His grace is sufficient for every situation, for every battle we will ever face. The words Jesus told Paul are as true for us today as they were for Jehoshaphat and God’s chosen people, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.”
As Paul said, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Paul, like Jehoshaphat, and us long to have Christ power rest on us. He is our strength!
- He listened to God’s word and stood on God’s promises.
The Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the priest in the assembly and he proclaimed the word of the Lord to them.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” He proceeded to give them their marching orders and they were not at all what you might think. God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He didn’t tell them to get their weapons and attack from behind. In fact, His marching orders for His people were to stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.” Stand firm on His promises. Stand firm on His word.
Years before, Joshua had reminded God’s people as they entered the Promised Land, “You know with all your heart and soul that not one of all the good promises the Lord your God gave you has failed. Every promise has been fulfilled; not one has failed.” And Paul reminded the believers in Corinth and reminds us today, “For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.”
How many times in the Bible does it say to “Stand firm”? We are standing on the Rock of Ages, the Solid Rock of Jesus Christ. God’s word tells us over and over to stand firm on God’s Word in whatever battle we are facing. It will not fail you! He will not fail you! “He will hear us and save us!”
- They marched forward in worship.
With his faith and hope fully confident in the Lord, Jehoshaphat “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.’”
Did you get that? He didn’t put the infantrymen on the frontline that day. He trusted God’s way and sent out the choir ahead of the army! They marched forward into battle worshiping with their eyes focused on the Almighty God–Yahweh–who saves. They didn’t focus on the battle at all but the Lord, their mighty warrior.
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men who were invading Judah and they were all defeated. In fact, the armies that were attacking turned against one another and when God’s people came to the overlook where they could see the vast army of the enemy, they saw only dead bodies. No one had escaped. The Lord had fought the battle for them and won victoriously!
“The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” 2 Chronicles 20:29-30
Our God is fighting for you, friend. May you, like Jehoshaphat experience His perfect peace and rest on every side.
His servant and yours,