What’s your battle?
I’m the first one to admit I’ve fought the same battles over and over–be they marriage struggles, remnants of eating disordered habits and behaviors, jealousy of others, bitterness, boredom in my walk with the Lord … simple frustration. These aren’t characteristics that describe a thriving believer in the one true God–one who has firmly grasped the Gospel and is influenced by nothing more than the Gospel.
So this morning, after a perfect Thanksgiving holiday with family, I sat back down before the Lord for my usual morning quiet time–the sanity of routine returned. But the luster was gone.
I got the best kind of answer. Guess what? I’m not doing anything wrong. I’m simply doing when I should be waiting, listening, leaning …
Walk with me through Jehoshaphat’s problems. He was facing the ancient enemies of Israel. The Moabites and Ammonites were chronic irritations for the Israelites–generational plagues. It might have been tempting to look back and see what he’d done before to hold them at bay. Or, to muster all the armies of Israel in “the name of the Lord” and go out to do battle against this horde of evil. After all, doesn’t God want us to valiantly resist at all times?
That would have been a safe assumption–I think: I’ve got a nation here to protect, a nation called by the name of the Lord! Surely, God would have me take up arms and do diligent battle!
Instead, Jehoshaphat was admittedly afraid. The Bible makes no effort to hide this “weakness”. And, “he set his face to seek the Lord.”
Jehoshaphat’s next words are stunning:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, 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. 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? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, 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.’
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will you not judge them? 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.” 2 Chronicles 20:6-12
Can you imagine? Have you ever just looked at God and said, “Guess what? I don’t know what to do, so I’m just going to sit right here in front of you, shut up and look at you.”
Rather than have you go look up the battle plans God gave to Jehoshaphat, I’ll outline here what happened next:
- God told Jehoshaphat to not be afraid. He told him exactly where the enemy would be, what they would do and that he didn’t need to do a thing: “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf … “
- Jehoshaphat bowed
- All Israel fell down and worshipped
- The priests stood up and praised loudly
- Jehoshaphat stood and commanded everyone to hear and believe the Lord
- He told them to give thanks — even before the battle was fought or won
So, I ask again: What’s your battle? How are you fighting? Have you drawn up your battle plans yet? Have you told God that you really need to be involved a bit more?
What would happen if you said: “I don’t know what to do, so I’m just going to sit right here in front of you, shut up and look at you.”?