In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat had finally solidified his throne by fortifying the nation of Judah and appointing regional judges. Now, during a time when his throne should have been secure, and the nation should have been able to live in peace, Jehoshaphat learned that a huge army was planning on attacking him. In his fear, with the eyes of his subjects upon him, he cried out to God, exalting and praising him (20:6), and asking for His help (20:10).
God responded in a powerful way, with words that I sense Him whispering to my soul so often:
“Do not fear or worry about this army. The battle is not yours to fight; it is the True God’s… Stand and watch, but do not fight the battle. There, you will watch the Eternal save you. Do not fear or worry. Tomorrow, face the army and trust that the Eternal is with you.”
2 Chronicles 20:15, 17
Scripture tells us at this point that Jehoshaphat, and all the assembly, fell prostrate before the Eternal and worshipped Him. They trusted the Lord completely. Jehoshaphat instructed his people to, “Trust in the Eternal Once, your True God, not in your own abilities, and you will be supported (20:20).”
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, went on to win the battle without lifting a finger to fight. God fought and won the battle for him.
I find it interesting that, although Jehoshaphat was a king who was totally committed to God, his reign was not without trials. God promises us that we will face trials. The battle I mentioned above is not the only one Jehoshaphat fought. He fought many battles and was successful because of his complete reliance on God.
And not only did God give Jehoshaphat victory over his enemies time and time again, but God also used those battles to give Jehoshaphat greater power. He used the hard battles to expand Jehoshaphat’s territory… To give Jehoshaphat more than he could have ever imagined.
We have to give our battles to God in order for Him to claim victory over them. We must unclinch our hands, and give our dreams, our desires, our battles, and our struggles over to the God who loves us. Victory comes when we let go; when we open our hands, and give thanks to the Lord for His enduring love. This is what Jehoshaphat did, even when he was facing a powerful and quickly approaching enemy. He counted his blessings in the heat of battle, in the face of danger.
God means to heal the holes in our souls. He means to give us victory. But we have to choose to say yes to what God freely gives. We have to trust Him completely, and give our battles to Him. In the heat of battle, in the midst of shattered dreams or unmet expectations, we must count our blessings, and give thanks to the God who loves us, and who is our Salvation.
Last night was the first night of a women’s Bible study that I am attending at our church. The study is Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts. I chose the study because I was familiar with her blog. I knew that she was a homeschooling mother of six (which would be such a dream come true for me) who lives on a farmer, with her farmer husband, in Canada. Other than those few little nuggets, I went to the study blindly, and not knowing what to expect. And it is going to be so good!!!
Her last words in the DVD for the first session were as follows:
“In the silent times, seek God.
In the painful times, praise God.
In the terrible times, trust God.
And at all times….
At all times,
Instead of panicking recently when Andrew and I learned that our egg retrieval resulted in only four “normal” embryos, our first inclination should have been to do what Jehoshaphat did: Fall prostrate before the Eternal and worship Him. Our first inclination should have been to thank God for those four chances.
Now, I thank God every day for those four embryos, believing that they will all survive the thawing process. Believing that they will all grow healthy and strong. Believing that they will grow inside me, and become healthy babies, who become healthy, God-serving children, who become healthy, God-serving grown-ups.
And if none of that happens, I will still thank God every day. I will thank Him for all the other good gifts He’s already given.