Are you fighting a battle that isn't yours?
"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.” Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.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.’”Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 20:12-18
Have you ever been in a situation where you were confronted with a circumstance so overwhelming, so unmanageable, that you literally did not know what to do next?
Sometimes, I feel like I'm facing something so big and discouraging, I don't know what to do. I imagine this is how Jehoshaphat felt when he realized the army was vast and defeat seemed to be approaching.
Personally, when I'm facing a big decision that I can't sort through on my own, or something that makes me immediately feel discouraged or afraid, I don't always go to God first. I usually go to my husband. I go to my friends. I rely on my own mind and I think it through.
And that often results in increased anxiety, fear, or discouragement.
Watching King Jehoshaphat's leadership in this passage challenges me. His first response when faced with something unmanageable is to look to God.
He led everyone who was following him to do the same. He admitted his own weakness, "we have no power to face this vast army," and looked to God.
Usually, I'm one to round up my girl gang and strike a few power poses in the mirror and start telling myself, "it's cool, I've got this."
But when he went to God first he was told "the battle is not yours, but God's" and "you do not have to fight this battle." I wonder if God might be gently reminding you and I of the same thing this morning?
God claims the battle for Himself and takes full responsibility for it. He tells them they don't need to fight, He just says take your position and prepare to watch me handle this, because I promise you I will.
And then Jehoshaphat falls on his face in worship, and leads all the people to do the same.
Sometimes, I think I'm quick to take responsibility for a battle that might not be mine. I try to convince myself I can handle it if I just try hard enough, if I just think long enough, if I just drink one more cup of coffee...
And then I end up staying up all night worried, confused, well-aware of my vast enemy, and my inability to accomplish what needs to be done on my own.
Sometimes, it takes me a bit to turn to God. To admit to Him, this is too much for me to carry and I need you. But when I do, I think He's always ready and waiting to say, this is not your battle, you don't have to keep fighting.
When I fully surrender my battles to God, I can trust Him to do what He says He will do. He will handle the battle. And while I wait to watch Him show up and fight the battle, I want to respond in the same way all of the people did. They were worshipping and praising God, even before the battle was won.
God can handle the battle. We can trust Him no matter the size of the enemy.
We have to give God the opportunity to fight for us. We can keep fighting for ourselves. We can keep doing our best in our own strength. But it's going to be harder, and it's going to be exhausting. All we are doing is robbing God of the opportunity to be our deliverer and to fight the battle.
Or, we can look to Him, listen to Him when He says this battle isn't yours, release it to Him, and worship Him while we prepare for Him to win.
-Is there a battle that comes to mind that you are still fighting on your own?
-How could you give this battle over to God?
-Reflect and write about a time when you released something to the Lord and how He managed it for you.
Think of one person who might feel alone, discouraged, or set back in an area of their life. Focus on praying for God to fight their battle this week.
Hey God, thank you for inviting us to come to you with the things we cannot manage, and for handling them for us. We pray you would empower us to accept the invitation you gave us when you said you do not have to fight, and that you would strengthen us in faith and trust as we wait for you to bring victory. Amen.
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