There’s a story in the Old Testament that I think shows such an awesome example of how God desires us to walk out our faith in Him. I’m just going to highlight some parts on here but if you’d like to read the whole story it’s 2Chronicles 20:1-30.
So King Jehoshaphat receives word that armies are coming to attack him. He is of course terrified, as we all most likely would be. That’d be like if you found out a mob of people were planning to come attack your home and kick you and your family out of it. You’d be pretty scared. They’re not just going to politely remove you, it’s going to get violent and end in death. All of your deaths.
So King Jehoshaphat does the first right move, he immediately begged for the Lord’s guidance. It doesn’t say he asked a friend or family member. He immediately went to God. How often do we do that? When we find out scary or troubling news do we immediately go to God? Or do we turn to a friend or our own wisdom to figure it out first and THEN bring God into it? I typically go to myself or a person immediately first. Jehoshaphat shows who he trusted the most by who he went to first….God. Who you go to first really says a lot. It’s only been in my most extreme low points that I’m pushed finally to immediately seeking what God says and no one else. Maybe that’s the point Jehoshaphat was at. That’s how it should be ALL the time. We shouldn’t need to be brought so low before putting Him first, but sadly that’s usually how it is.
King Jehoshaphat then gets all of Judah to start praying and fasting. He doesn’t just do it himself, he gets the whole family involved. Jehoshaphat starts declaring who God is. About His Lordship and all He’s done for them. He humbles himself and says to God, “We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” And then God answers, His Spirit falls on one of the men and gives him a word for everyone. That’s all it takes. A lot of us just keep running around frantic in worry thinking we’re just waiting for God’s word and direction. Then we get more worried and aggravated because we aren’t hearing from Him quickly enough. When God actually is speaking. He’s saying to stop, humble ourselves, seek Him FIRST, and quietly wait for that answer WHILE declaring who He is. We keep focusing on the problem and demanding an answer from God, but God wants it the other way. He wants us focused on Him and then HE will focus no the problem.
So God says to them, “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. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, o people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” And then all the people praised and worshipped God. They again immediately went back to focusing on God. They didn’t question His word or the fact that He told them to still march out. They trusted Him. I know I would’ve probably questioned the marching out part. But God will always require a stretching action on our part. He doesn’t do anything without our involvement in some sort of way. It’s all throughout the Bible. God requires a faith action in us before He will move. Sometimes that action will be something like simply praising Him in the middle of the storm and sometimes it will be walking out into the fight in faith. But He is always faithful to state His promises with it. He didn’t just say to walk out. He said He will be with them and that they won’t even need to fight. We get so worried about the action He’s asking of us sometimes that we completely forget the promise of HIS action.
So the next day they do what God told them to and they march out to the fight. Jehoshaphat reminds his army, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.” Singers get put ahead of the army and they start singing,“Give thanks to the Lord; His faithful love endures forever!” So they’re singing and praising the whole way to the fight. Keeping their focus on God and not their own abilities. Right at that very moment, the Lord causes the opposing armies to start fighting among themselves. By the time Jehoshaphat and his army arrive, all they see are dead bodies.
God comes through right in the middle of their faith and praise. Not right in the middle of their fear and worry. Worry is the opposite of trust. Worry takes up all the room to where God doesn’t even have a place to come in. If we just trusted and had faith like this we could experience so much more peace and ease. It doesn’t mean we wouldn’t ever encounter a problem, but our whole attitude could be different and we could still maintain a sense of joy throughout it instead of anxiety.
We overcomplicate things when it’s so simple:
- Situation comes
- Immediately humble ourselves and seek God
- Receive God’s word
- Trust and believe what He says
- Praise Him in faith
- Receive victory
All of these steps are taking our eyes off the problem and on to the ONE solution…..God. I pray today that each of us can turn to God like this. That we can live in that firm faith and trust. And that we can learn to step aside and let God come in. So the world can see HIM and just how awesome and able He truly is.