2 Chronicles 19-20, 1 Timothy 6
You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you. – 2 Chronicles 20:17 ESV
Life can be difficult. Even for the people of God. Our relationship with Him does not guarantee us a trouble-free life or provide us with a get-out-of-jail-free card. Jesus Himself warned us, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33 ESV). The thing we must constantly remind ourselves of is that God is with us. His power is never diminished. His love for us never fades or fails. His attention is never distracted from us. And He is never caught off guard by anything that may happen to us or around us. The key is whether we will trust Him to deliver us out of our troubles and predicaments. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, would learn a valuable lesson on trusting God. When the combined armies of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites came against Judah, “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3 ESV). He assembled the people of Judah, proclaimed a national day of fasting, and prayed to God on their behalf. In his prayer, he echoed the words of Solomon's prayer on the day he dedicated the Temple. “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save” (2 Chronicles 20:9 ESV). Jehoshaphat took his problem to God, saying, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about God?
And God heard the prayer of Jehoshaphat and responded. “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's” (2 Chronicles 20:15 ESV). It's interesting to note that the first thing God said was to not fear. Fear was the result of focusing on their circumstances. And fear is a natural human reaction. But to stop fearing would require that they focus their attention on God. They had no trouble believing they were in trouble because they could see the size of the army aligned against them. They were going to have to believe that their God was bigger and stronger. God went on to tell them, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:17 ESV). God made it clear – they were going to have to “go out” against their enemy. In other words, they were going to have to face them. But God was going to do the fighting. This situation is very similar to what happened when the people of Israel found themselves at the Red Sea facing the advancing armies of Pharaoh. They had no way of escape. But Moses told them, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent” (Exodus 14:13-14 ESV). They had ringside seats to what would be the greatest show on earth. God would miraculously part the waters of the Red Sea, allowing them to cross over on dry ground; then He would destroy the armies of Egypt by drowning them as they tried to cross over in pursuit. God brought the victory. But the people had to trust God. On the morning that God was to deliver the people of Judah from their enemies, Jehoshaphat encouraged the people, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets and you will succeed” (2 Chronicles 20:20 ESV).
What does this passage reveal about man?
The Hebrew word translated “believe” means “to be faithful, to trust, to stand firm.” Their belief was going to have to take the form of action. They had to get up and go out. They had to stand firm and face their enemies. They had to focus on the faithfulness, power, and promises of God. And they sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever!” (2 Chronicles 20:21 ESV). And it says that when they began to sing and praise God, “the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir” (2 Chronicles 20:22 ESV). God caused the enemies of Judah to slaughter themselves! And the people of Judah never had to lift a finger, except to carry off all the spoil. God had done exactly what He said He would do. But the people of God had to place their hope, faith, and trust in Him. They had to go out and anticipate a great victory, regardless of how bleak and desperate the situation looked. The end result was that the people were able to rejoice in the victory God had brought about. Their enemies found cause to fear God. And the nation of Judah enjoyed rest that was provided by God Himself. But all of this came about because they believed God. They heard His words and they stepped out in faith, trusting in the reliability of His promise. They could have run. They could have sought help from another nation. They could have tried to defeat their enemy in their own strength. But God had told them it was His fight. He had simply instructed them to “stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord.” The salvation of the Lord comes when we trust in Him to be our Savior. We cannot expect God to deliver us if we turn to something or someone else as our Savior. God is in the delivery business. He wants to deliver His people. He wants to reveal His power and display His salvation on our behalf. But we have to believe in Him. We have to trust Him. We have to stand firm, holding on to His promises, and trusting in His power to accomplish the impossible.
How would I apply what I’ve read to my own life?
Paul told Timothy, “But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (1 Timothy 6:11-12 ESV). There is a sense in which we are to fight the good fight, but never forget that it is based on faith. We are to pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness and gentleness – because they are all found in God alone. They are Spirit-provided fruit that can't be self-manufactured or duplicated in any other way. Paul told Timothy to “fight the good fight of the faith” because, at the end of the day, this is a faith battle. It is about who and what we will place our trust in. Every day we face a battle that will test our faith. We will be tempted to trust in ourselves or in someone or something else. But we must never forget that this battle is to be fought in faith. Paul reminded the believers in Ephesus of this very point. “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm” (Ephesians 6:10-13 ESV).
Father, help me to stand firm, not based on my own strength, but on Yours. May I learn to trust You more and more with each passing day, not swayed by the difficulty of my circumstances or the size of my enemy. You are greater and more powerful than my biggest problem. I want to learn to stand firm and see the salvation of the Lord. I want to watch You fight my battles. Forgive me for trying to fight them on my own or turning to someone or something else to deliver me when only You can provide salvation. Amen