The battle is the LORD’s
This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us! – 1 Samuel 17:47
2 Chronicles 20:2-20
2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. . ..”
3 Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.
6 He prayed, “O LORD, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!”
7 “O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham?”
8 “Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name.”
9 “They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’”
12 “O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
13 As all the men of Judah stood before the LORD with their little ones, wives, and children,
14 the Spirit of the LORD came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph.
15 He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
20 Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way, Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”
How to Pick Your Battles: Four Key Questions to Ask (Sally Percy, Forbes)
There is nothing laudable about running away from a battle that you know, in your heart, needs to be fought. Knowing which battles to fight – and which to leave for another day, or even walk away from altogether – is critical.
So how should you pick the battles that you really ought to fight? Here are four key questions to ask yourself before you take up the call to arms:
1. Is this your battle to fight?
2. What difference will winning this battle make in the long term?
3. What happens if I lose this battle?
4. If you don’t fight this battle, regardless of whether you win it or lose it, will you be able to live with yourself afterward?
The Father has promised to defend His children. Our battles are His battles.
Psalms 18:2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.
David knew this well and faced Goliath with confidence.
1 Samuel 17:47 This is the LORD’s battle, and he will give you to us!
When and how the Father comes alongside and fights the battle for us is His sovereign choice. However, children of the King can tap into His unlimited resources through prayer. The Father has a way of encouraging us to know and pray His will into existence.
King Jehoshaphat of Judah had made many terrible mistakes in judgment. As a result, the Lord was very angry with him. But on the other hand, the Father found some good in him for reducing idolatry and having committed himself to seek the Father (2 Chronicles 19:2-3). As a result, Judah experienced a time of spiritual renewal (2 Chronicles 19).
When Jehoshaphat hears of the approach of the murderous, irresistible army of Edom, he is terrified. Judah had no chance against such insurmountable odds. However, rather than cower in fear, he set his face to seek the LORD and pled with Him for protection (2 Chronicles 20:3).
He ordered the people of Judah to fast. He also called the people of Judah to join him in seeking help from the Father. And the people came from all of the cities of Judah.
Now was the time for Jehoshaphat to stand tall and act like a real leader that the Father intended him to be. And so he did.
He stood before the people in front of the new courtyard at the Temple of the LORD. He prayed, “O LORD, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!” (2 Chronicles 20:5-6) Jehoshaphat reminded the Father of His covenant relationship with the children of Abraham. They alone of all people on earth had the privilege of standing in the presence of the Father and to cry out to Him with the certainty that He would hear and be moved into action to defend them.
REFLECT & PRAY
The Father’s awesome power is released when children of the King humble themselves and call upon His name. Insurmountable mountains are reduced to pebbles beneath our feet.
Father may I trust you completely and turn over to you all the overwhelming circumstances I face.
One of the questions of the ages is why do bad things happen? Children of the King often rephrase it and ask something like this, “If the Father is a God of love and is all-powerful, why does He let bad things happen to good people?”
There are many answers to this question found in the Scriptures, 2 Chronicles 20 provides one of them. “The invasion followed Jehoshaphat’s religious and judicial reforms and so was not an instance of divine punishment but rather an opportunity to exercise faith” (ESV Bible notes).
Although Jehoshaphat had been terrified, it had passed. Rather than doubt the Father’s power, by faith, he latched onto it. He publicly proclaimed his trust and confidence in the Father. Jehoshaphat declared that he was putting all of his hope in the unlimited power of the omnipotent Father God. Jehoshaphat took his stance in total humility and weakness before the Father.
“He claimed no authority in or for himself. He said to God:
- You are the One who gave us this land.
- You are the One who has allowed Your people to dwell in it and build a sanctuary in it.
- You are the One who said that we should cry out to You in our affliction and You would hear and save us.
- You are the One who told us to spare these enemy people when we first came to occupy this land.
- You are the only One capable of judging these enemies who are rising against us—we have no power and no plan” (Stanley).
“He concluded his prayer by admitting, ‘our eyes are upon You.’ In effect, Jehoshaphat was saying, ‘If You don’t exercise Your authority in this matter, we are doomed. We are putting our entire trust and confidence in You and You alone’” (Stanley).
In very short order, Jehoshaphat went from fear to faith. He humbled himself before the Father. He recognized the Father’s sovereignty and simply asked Him to carry out His will for His people.
“He made no demand that God do something that God did not desire to do. Jehoshaphat claimed no authority in himself, and also no power for himself. But he wisely recognized that all power and all authority rest in God alone, and from that understanding, he petitioned the God of heaven” (Stanley).
The Father had served up an opportunity to Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah to trust Him. And so they did.
The army of Judah marched out. In front of the army, there was a singing marching band. They were singing to the Father and praising Him for His magnificent splendor. They sang, “Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever!” At the very moment they began to sing and praise, the Father caused confusion within the enemy army. They began to fight among themselves. Without the forces of Judah lifting a finger, the battle was over (2 Chronicles 20:21-23).
21 Pay attention, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I, the LORD, made you, and I will not forget you.
22 I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.