2 Chronicles 18-22; Psalm 73; Ephesians 3

Week Number
84

It was news that made brave men alarmed, even frightened. A vast army from Edom was on the march; their destination was Judah; their goal was conquest. They had the manpower and the equipment to do exactly that, and their march would lead to suffering, destruction, death, possibly even annihilation for the people of Judah.

King Jehoshaphat knew he and his nation were vastly outnumbered and could not win this battle. In his hopeless situation, he asked the Lord for help and ordered that the nation observe a fast, gather in Jerusalem, and seek God along with him.

With the men, women, and children of the nation surrounding him, King Jehoshaphat wisely called to God. Getting right to the heart of the matter, he prayed, “O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (2 Chron. 20:12).

God heard this cry for help and, in the presence of all the people, sent His answer. Through the voice of Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, God said, “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…. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory” (2 Chron. 20:15-17). King Jehoshaphat may have been outnumbered, but he was not outgunned!

God had made a promise that “tomorrow” there would be victory. But there was the remainder of this day before tomorrow dawned. There were many hours to test a person’s faith and trust. Each man, woman, and child had heard what God had promised, but as the hours slipped by, what were their thoughts, and what were their fears? As family groups gathered together for the evening, they would have discussed little else but what they had experienced during this day in the presence of the Lord and what they would experience during the next.

Some of these people would have been rejoicing, fully confident in God’s promises. Their confidence would have been built on their remembrances of other promises made by God and their recognition that every promise ever made by Him had been kept. They may have wondered how God would accomplish what He said He would do, but they would have already been praising Him for the victory.

Others would also have remembered promises made by God and even recognized that the promises had been kept. As they reviewed the day, they, too, would have wondered how God would accomplish this thing He said He would do, but doubt would have crept into their thoughts. Although God had honored His promises before, this time was different, this time they were involved! They would be people torn between head and heart belief, one moment doubtful and one moment believing.

Still others would judge God by their own beliefs of who He was. They would cut God down to their size and find Him lacking for such an impossible victory. Yes, they had heard the voice, they knew the stories of other promises kept and other miracles performed, but to them it was hearsay, and what they would be facing in the morning was real—alarmingly real. They would be a people relying on themselves, burdened by what lay ahead. No comfort awaited them during the night.

The night passed, and early the next morning the army of Judah gathered for battle: those who trusted in God’s promise completely, those who were torn, those who did not believe. Jehoshaphat, knowing there were different levels of trust and belief, challenged the people: “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm” (2 Chron. 20:20). Then Jehoshaphat rallied the people further with additional reminders of God’s power and faithfulness by “appointing singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor” and faithful love (2 Chron. 20:21).

As they sang, the army of Judah advanced toward the enemy. Those weak in belief gathered strength from those with more. Doubt did not stop those with little faith, their participation not differing from those with great faith. In obedience they moved forward.

When they arrived at the lookout point they saw the battle was already over. God had kept His promise, as He always does, for at the exact moment the singing and praise had begun, God caused Judah’s enemies to destroy each other. As God’s army gazed out over the wilderness from the lookout point, there was no enemy to fight, for they were already dead.

There are plenty of battles in our lives, battles taking many different forms and time spans. God has given us many promises applicable to the battles we face. We have God’s promises, and we have even seen some of God’s promises fulfilled. This knowledge can give us great faith, but at some point in our various battles, we are going to experience reactions similar to each of the groups of Judah.

When we are confident and believe strongly in God’s promises, may we remember to lead those who are not. When we are shaken and doubting God’s promises, may we remember to follow those who are not. But whether confident or doubting, may we remember to obediently follow God, for He is faithful in all His promises.

“Take your positions…and watch the Lord’s victory” (2 Chron. 20:17).

© 2010 Arlina Yates

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