“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.”
– 2 Chronicles 20:12
As I read my allotted Bible reading last night, I felt God speaking to me so strongly through 2 Chronicle chapter 20. I have been in a season of life where I look around and at times I don’t know what to do. My norm was stolen, trust was broken, and I have felt like the Israelites – powerless to face the attack. It’s such a bittersweet feeling when God brings you through a season that shakes your whole world. You find yourself with this need to control a situation that is uncontrollable and you’re forced to throw up your hands and say “I don’t know what to do,” as Judah cried out in 2 Chronicles 20. I think my current season has given me a new understanding of this Old Testament scripture. I read it through the first time not thinking much of it until I found the following line..
“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 the Lord will be with you.”
– 2 Chronicles 20:17.
See I’m not typically one of those readers that digs real deep and asks incredible questions that changes my perspective. I’m typically a reader that takes everything for face value. But when I read that line, this question popped into my head. “What did King Jehoshaphat do to warrant that response from God?” I sat there jealous of that response. God has been so faithful to me and has walked me through this season with so much grace. But I never really allowed Him to fight my battles for me. I was the one on defense, staging my next plan of attack on the situation. But this verse stopped me and made me seek out a response like that of God to Jehoshaphat. I back tracked and found a few key things that the king did to cause God’s response.
- There was an attack
I know that sounds so ridiculous, but I think we forget that there has to be a problem before there can be a resolution. It’s like I want the maturity and growth that hard times bring without having to walk through the hard times. I want to be able to say God is faithful but avoid a time in life that causes uncertainty in my worldly security. The Bible says that “the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat.” There are going to be seasons when friends, family members, situations, etc come to make war on you. But it’s in war time, more than peace time that God moves.
2. Jehoshaphat responded rather than reacted
“Alarmed, Jehoshaphat 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.”
– 2 Chronicles 20:3-4
When Jehoshaphat learned of the army coming to attack him he made a decision to seek the Lord instead of seek the gods of worry, anxiety, self-pity, hopelessness and despair. When we are faced with an attack or a difficult season we will learn a lot about the position of our hearts. If our hearts are trusting God our first response will be to seek the Lord and His deliverance. If we are doubting God, then we instead will react with worry, fear, anxiety, and stories in our minds of things that haven’t even happened yet. Jehoshaphat resolved, meaning he made a decision, to inquire of the Lord. He not only sought the Lord but initiated an action that demonstrated how desperate he was to see God move. I have found myself more and more desperate to see God move in my life. This season that God is walking me through has brought me to tears of desperation more times than I can count. I’m at a place in my life where I don’t just want to know God, I need to know God. I need to know His word because it has everything that I need. His promises are so certain and lasting – unlike this world.
3. Jehoshaphat praised God before the battle
Jehoshaphat does something so precious in verse 6. He praises God before he even enters the battle field. He praises God before God has even done anything! God hasn’t even said that He is going to save him. He declares victory through praising God. His praise tells God “Yes, I see death all around me but I choose to walk by what I know not by what I see.” And in that praise he says one of the most honest prayers someone can pray. “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.” – 2 Chronicles 20:12. This verse has been my anthem this week. When I feel hopelessness, anxiety or uncertainty begin to creep into my mind I stop and remind myself that I have no power and I have no idea what I’m doing but my eyes will not be taken off of the one thing I know to be true – that God is good, God is good to me, and God is good at being God. (Shout out to Lysa TerKeurst for that beautiful concept.) We can’t let our minds wonder into defeat before the battle is over. Yes, life can look so dry. We walk through seasons that don’t feel like they are ever going to end. But they are going to end.
4. Jehoshaphat positioned himself
After Jehoshaphat seeks God, he gets that most incredible reply. “He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! 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. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” – 2 Chronicles 20:15-17. God has given me such a sweet response like this during my season of hurt, confusion, and insecurity. He has declared victory over my life and reminded me that He fights my battles. It’s not my responsibility to fight a battle that I obviously can’t win. But it’s not my job to just hide in the corner while God takes care of it. The Lord commands Jehoshaphat to position himself; to stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give him. How can I see the deliverance the Lord will give if I’m too busy looking at the things that I lack? How can I stand firm if I’m complaining about the battle or comparing my life to other’s?Comparison is the thief of joy and it will take and take and take until you find yourself empty and insecure. Yes, God will fight my battles. But it is my job to position my heart to receive His victory. I can’t carry the flag of victim and victor at the same time.
5. Praise God through the battle
“Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever. 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.” – 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 As we walk through hard seasons in life we have to declare that His love endures forever. It is not reliant on circumstance, emotion, or human power. God’s love is outside of all of the wavering things of this world. Praising God during the battle is the fuel that you need to make it to the end. There is something so beautiful about bringing a sacrifice of praise. When everything around you looks contrary to praiseworthy…. keep praising.
After God brought deliverance to the people of Judah, He also brought them “a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value – more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.” – 2 Chronicles 20:25 God doesn’t just bring us through a battle in vain. These battles bring greater value than we could ever imagine. Sometimes it is monetary gain like finances or material goods. But God also lavishes wisdom, confidence, maturity, growth, understanding, and closeness with Him that outweighs all of the equipment, clothing and articles of value you could ever have. I am learning, everyday, that my eyes have to stay fixed on Jesus or else I will wear the crown of defeat. My first response to something hard is typically comparison or complaining. But in this new season God has brought a fresh understanding and maturity that I don’t think I have ever experienced. And I am so grateful to know a God that fights my battles, even when I don’t deserve it.