Where Is Your Confidence?
Everyday we’re hearing the latest news about one terrorist group’s threats or one terrorist act after another here at home and abroad. And there seems to be a certain posture of inevitable acceptance of these things by many Christians as being “just the way things are.”
But, is that the response God expects from His people; to be fatalistic? Are we able to do no more than wring our hands and sigh or just rail against the situations or complain about the politicians’ response or lack of response to it? Are we to just hunker down and cower in fear while we stockpile all the goods we can and get ready to hide in our steel reinforced shelters and wait for the violence and destruction to pass? Are we to sit idly by and accept that “things are just going to get worse”, so, there’s nothing we can do about it? “After all, doesn’t the Bible prophecy that all these terrible things would come to pass in the last days?”
Or is there something more strategic that we as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ can do to respond to these things in ways that will effectively thwart them and remove the threat, death and destruction of their terror far from us?
Yes, the Bible does warn of evil times to come and wars and rumors of wars and the like. But, I find no accompanying Scriptures that say, “Therefore, just sit back and let the evil run rough shod over your life and the lives of your loved ones and friends. The thief is coming to steal to kill and destroy you, so just let him do it. Don’t try to stop him.” It’s not there.
Fatalistic acceptance of the condition of the world is never God’s plan for His people. And that is not His promise to His Church.
When Jehoshaphat faced the threat of invasion and destruction by the Moabites, the Ammonites and those allied with them his initial response was understandable, he was afraid. But then he did something strategic.
“It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” 2 Chronicles 20:1-3
There is no sin in being afraid when bad news hits you like a ton of bricks. That’s just human. Jesus knew that and He experienced it as a man. Having fear initially does not disqualify us from also coming to a place of victory over the thing that brought the fear. There is something fundamentally missing in the understanding of those who would judge a person to be lacking in faith simply because they didn’t initially meet bad news head on with, “Hallelujah!” “Praise the Lord!” Sometimes and in some situations we are able to do that, but when the life or death of those you love and even of yourself is on the line fear is the most natural and understandable response. But, then what we do with that fear will set the course of our destiny.
Those who live in that fear when they hear bad news, they immediately start devising a plan and scheme a defense that they hope will scare the enemy off or at least delay their advance on them. They call for their troops, their horses and chariots, they gather in all their weapons, they call in the generals and start mapping out the battle plans. They reach for their armor and try to figure how they are going get ready for the attack. They start putting up barriers at the gate to hopefully delay the enemy from overtaking them too quickly. They do all sorts of things motivated by their fear that they are about to be overwhelmed by a superior force.
But though Jehoshaphat was afraid for a moment he then set himself to seek the Lord and he proclaimed a fast throughout Judah. (Israel was a divided kingdom at the time). And all the people came together to fast and seek the Lord.
“Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying,
“If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.
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.” 2 Chronicles 20:5-12
There is much to be gained from a study of this prayer, but in the simplest terms what Jehoshaphat prayed was an affirmation of where his confidence and the people rested. “O Lord God of our fathers…our eyes are upon You.”
They did not waste time rehearsing the threat or making themselves weary in railing against their enemies. They did not focus their energy and attention on anyone but, “Lord God of our fathers.”
The lesson for us is simple we can consternate and rail against the current state of world and domestic affairs or we can turn from our fears to seek the Lord God of Abraham, of Isaac, Israel and the Father of our Savior Jesus Christ. We can remember that greater is He that is in us than He that is in the world. We can bind the works of the enemy and of every terrorist group in the world and all who sympathize with them. We can call to naught the sources of their money and render their weapons powerless. We can speak life into their hearts and motivated by love we can pray for their salvation in Jesus Christ, and turn back thousands of years of indoctrination into a lie, that their hearts will be turned from evil and turned to God to follow after Him in righteousness and the wisdom from above.
We can bring the glory of the collective light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ shinning in our hearts to bear on the darkness in this world and eradicate it.
In the midst of the prayer and fasting of Judah the Word of the Lord came to them saying,
“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. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.” ’ ” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17
The Spirit of the Lord Spoke directly to the people and to Jehoshaphat and declared a victory for them but not by the might or power of their hands.
As you read through the rest of the chapter you find that instead of the army with weapons of death and destruction going out to battle the people went out with a great choir in front of the armies praising God saying, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.”
And when the enemies of God’s people heard them singing and praising God, the Lord set ambushes against the Moabites, the Ammonites and those allied with them and they were confused and they became disoriented and turned on themselves and destroyed one another.
After that it took three days for the people and the army to gather up the spoils.
Where has the enemy come against your life with the threat of bad news and caused you to be afraid? Wherever it may be you can turn your heart and attention to seek the Lord and trust Him in confidence to be with you.
“Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Corinthians 3:17