Posted by: pastortomvabeach | March 19, 2020

Today’s Thought

Greetings to all who read this. I recently retired from vocational full time ministry and have not posted in my blog since January. With all the unrest, upset, and confusion that is overtaking our lives in recent weeks, I felt I might offer some perspective from the Scriptures.

During the reign of Jehoshaphat in Judah a vast army invaded the land. This army was far and away too powerful for the forces of Judah to repel, and the king lamented to the Lord that his people had no power and were putting all their trust in God’s power to help.

In answer, the Lord sent a prophet who 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…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.” (II Chronicles 20:15-17)

I think this speaks to us very powerfully. Notice how the Lord says to set their minds. Twice He says, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. That should be the mindset because this battle belongs to the Lord, not to them. When the Lord enters the fray, they understand that there will only be one winner. That gave them confidence and should also give us confidence.

But we must also note what God does not say. He doesn’t say, “Cower in your fox holes and do nothing.” God says to go out against the enemy, to take up battle positions, and to stand firm and face the enemy head on. While we trust the Lord to fight the battle, we also do everything we can to face down the enemy. I think it is prudent to be sensible in the situation we are in today, to heed the counsel of those whose life work is to know how to attack the invisible enemy we face. At the same time, we must recognize that we also have an invisible Champion on our side who has never lost a battle nor a war. As we stand against the enemy, we have the confidence that the God of battles will fight for us.

So how do we approach this unseen enemy? With spiritual weapons. In the narrative, we see that the king assembled his army in an unorthodox way: Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” (II Chronicles 20:21) This would seem very strange to the generals experienced in warfare. Wouldn’t it be wise to put the bravest, most heavily armed battalions on the front lines and have the musicians ready to follow with the victory parade after the battle is won? That’s not how God’s tactical strategy works.

Since the Lord will be fighting the battle and the outcome is always assured in advance, it makes perfect sense to put the parade at the front of the assault force. In fact, that’s how the spiritual battles are won. We take our eyes off of the forces arrayed against us and fix them unwaveringly upon the One who wins all battles.

Look what happened! As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. (II Chronicles 20:22-23) Now we must understand that they didn’t know what was about to happen. The victory didn’t materialize beforehand and give them reason to exalt the Lord. They went out singing and thanking the Lord before anything happened, in the midst of overwhelming foes, unsure of what was to come. In the midst of that, God showed up! Big time! He turned the enemy forces against one another until the entire force was destroyed.

Beloved friends, I believe that the Lord can and will do the same thing for us. We are up against an enemy that is bigger than anything we’ve ever faced. The enemy is not only this unseen virus, but it is also the unseen enemy of our souls. We understand that this whole mess is the work of principalities and powers, rulers of darkness of this age, spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12). The weapons of our warfare are not the things we can see. Ships and aircraft and tanks will not take down this enemy. Our weapon is leaning into the Lord of heaven’s armies, the One who can never be defeated.

Let’s take up the battle and stand against the enemy. Begin with Jehoshaphat’s strategy. Begin to sing, praise, and thank the Lord. The benefit of this strategy is that it gets our eyes off the discouraging virus statistics or falling financial markets and fixes them on the only One who is always stable and eternal. Instead of worrying or fretting, pray. Pray for your friends, family, churches, and localities. Pray that our leaders would hear from God as Jehoshaphat did.

And most of all listen to the Lord, Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. If the battle is the Lord’s, let Him fight the battle. Do what He tells you to do and let Him take care of everything else. Do you believe He can do it? I do. God bless you. Just a thought.

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