I do not know what battles you are fighting, but I want you to know that peace is possible in the face of war. You may feel the urge to give in to fear, or accept defeat, but let me echo King Jehoshaphat’s words to the people of Israel as he led them to war, believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm |2 Chronicles 20:20|. Prior to these bold words, the king did four things.
- He cried out to God. When news of war came to his doorstep, the Bible says he was terrified |Vs.3|, and knowing the implications of war, we cannot fault his response. Jehoshaphat knew that in his own strength the battle was lost, and so he cried out to the Lord for guidance |Vs. 3|. He acknowledged God’s sovereignty, and rained praises on his God. He also reminded God of what He had done in the past, because He understood God’s character, and knew Him to be faithful. This is evidenced in his words, we can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us |Vs. 9|.
- He called for a fast. Fasting is about choosing God, and the things of God over your fleshly desires. It is you making the choice to sacrifice something; literally walking away from routine conveniences and distractions to make room for Him. It is your declaration of total surrender. It also prepares your heart, and serves as a blinking neon welcome sign for His Spirit. Fasting grounds you, and allows His life giving word gain ascendency over your thoughts, feelings and emotions. It shifts your focus, from your weakness to His strength, your inabilities to His abilities, your depravities to His glory, and your sins and mistakes to His love and salvation.
- He believed. King Jehoshaphat believed that God would show up, and He did by first giving His word; do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not need to fight. Take your positions, then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you o people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you! |Vs. 15|. Mind you, this was before they even stepped out to face his opponents, before the physical manifestation of promised victory. It was up to Jehoshaphat to take God’s word as truth and run with it. God’s word, which he believed gave him a new perspective, and in turn influenced his response to the situation at hand.
- He praised. It is highly possible that if the opponent had seen the king’s army being led by a choir, they would have burst out laughing, and pretty quickly determined that these were a bunch of unserious, unprepared and incompetent ‘soldiers’. It seems ridiculous quite alright, some might even say foolish, but praise is an expression of faith, a strategic move that can only be inspired by the Holy Spirit that is in you. I honestly wondered about where to place this one. Chronologically, it seems appropriate as #3, but also as #4. What matters is that you know that praise is less about what God can do for you, and more about adoring His heart. When you know that His thoughts for you are always good even when you are not, that is worthy of praise. When you know that He can take the things about your life that look haphazard, scattered or unfortunate and turn it around for your good, that is worthy of praise. When you know that in your weakness He is strong, that is worthy of praise. He is always worthy of our praise.
I love what vs. 30 says, so Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. This is my prayer for you, that as you sit at His feet, you are continually strengthened for your day. I pray that your heart is open to receive His word, but also believe that it is powerful enough to work out in you what it says. I pray that you remember His goodness, and continue to see it in you, and all around you. I pray that He guides you, and that you walk in perpetual victory. I pray for His peace for you, and His rest on every side. It is well with you in Jesus name.
Side note, how crazy is it that 2 Chronicles 20:20 is so applicable to year 2020? Some would say this year has been war. So I’m saying to you, pray without ceasing, and rejoice always, believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm.