Points to Ponder: The battle is not yours
Points to Ponder
The battle is not yours
The battle was coming. A combined force of enemies, in overwhelming numbers, was intent on crushing the tiny nation of Judah. The King, Jehoshaphat, was scared as were all the people. What do you do when the odds against you are stacked so high that it seems that your defeat is all but certain? (II Chronicles 20).
Jehoshaphat was determined to seek the Lord. He proclaimed a fast and called a prayer meeting (v. 3-4). People came from everywhere. They prayed fervently:
"O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You." (II Chronicles 20:12, NKJV)
A crisis really makes you ponder your priorities. Today many churches struggle and strategize to get attendance up, to build the youth ministry, establish a children's ministry, to fill the nursery with babies to raise and train up to know the Lord. When times are good and peaceful, being in the Lord's house is a low priority option; one among many possible activities for a Sunday. But, at Jehoshaphat's prayer meeting attendance was no problem.
"Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children stood before the Lord." (v. 13)
No padded pews, no nursery, no air conditioning - no problem. A crisis had come. They all stood together before the Lord. Sometimes we need a good crisis to face, to face it together so that we will cancel our plans and gather together before the Lord to hear His.
The term "crisis" in the Chinese language is composed with two characters: one for danger, the other for opportunity. A crisis is a circumstance, which comes filled with both danger and opportunity.
Jehoshaphat saw the danger and in fear called the prayer meeting. When all the people had gathered with him before the Lord they saw the danger. But then the Holy Spirit awakened one of their men to know and to reveal the opportunity, which these overwhelming odds were presenting.
"Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's." (v. 14-15)
Jahaziel was not a government official, a military leader, or a priest. He was a Levite, a descendant of David's choir leader, Asaph. He was "in the midst of the assembly," not a prominent leader out in front. And the Lord spoke through him.
What a great message to hear and to remember when we stand before the Lord in the face of a crisis: "The battle is not yours, but God's." The battles we face are ultimately for the purpose of God's glory. The additional benefit is that we come out on the other side strengthened in our faith and more firmly grounded in our walk.
Jahaziel tells them to go out and face the enemy without fear. "The Lord is with you" (v. 17) Then before they went they paused to give thanks for the victory. They praised God "with voices loud and high" (v. 19).
What an interesting contrast in attitude from how they first began. Fear was replaced by faith. What they saw as an insurmountable enemy coming upon them became a defeated foe coming up against Judah's insurmountable God. Do you think of God like that?
In this battle (v.17), the Lord had assured them they would not need to fight. So Jehoshaphat armed them with a praise chorus to go out before the army. And as they sang praises to the Lord on the battlefield, the Lord caused the enemy nations to turn upon each other. In their evil intent they destroyed each other and were defeated as the
praise music filled the air. What a picture! (v. 22-24).
The amazing victory against enemies who had joined forces to conquer Judah began with a prayer meeting, with an assembly of people who made it a family priority to be there. Their most powerful weapon against the power of men was the double-barreled firepower of prayer and praise.
But even with this miraculous deliverance, compare that to the regular practice of the people. Other gods still held prominence in their lives.
"Nevertheless the high places were not taken away, for as yet the people had not directed their hearts to the God of their fathers." (v. 33)
If prayer and praise, inspired by a sure and certain trust in God can vanquish an army, what could we accomplish in the normal course of daily life if we sought the Lord with our whole heart?
If we only seek Him in times of trouble, is it because we have "high places," other gods who rule our lives the rest of the time? You really cannot see your current crisis in the proper light unless you're seeing all of life from the Highest place, through the eyes of the Lord.
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com. Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.