The other day was bad. And then it was good. You know what I’m talking about. After it got good and I was reflecting on the day and its badness and the previous few days and how they had been bad too, I heard the Lord say “Little girl, the battle you have your eyes on. It’s not the real battle. It’s not the most dangerous one. It’s not the one that should be getting all of your attention.” And I instantly remembered that verse from 2 Chronicles 20:15
Do not be afraid or discouraged…For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
After I looked up this verse, I decided to read the whole story and it’s quickly become one of my favorites. The jist of the story is this- Jehosophat, the king of Judah, gets word that “a vast army” is coming against him. Jehosophat was alarmed but here is where he makes his one crucial decision. Scripture says that he “resolved to inquire of the Lord” (20:3). He did nothing else first. He didn’t call his friend or his mom or his trusted advisor. He resolved to inquire of the Lord and then he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah. Jehosophat sought the Lord in front of the people. Verses 5-12 explain how Jehosophat reminded God that he knew who He was and he knew what He had done for His people in the past.
And then he says “We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you.”
We do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you. What vulnerability? What trust? What faith?
Jesus, when my children are wild , let me say “I do not know what to do but my eyes are upon you.”
When it looks like I can’t pay my bills, let me say “I do not know what to do but my eyes are upon you.”
When my child is sick, let me say “I do not know what to do but my eyes are upon you.”
When my friend betrays me, let me say “I do not know what to do but my eyes are upon you.”
The Bible says that all of the men and women and children stood before the Lord. I don’t know where Jehoshaphat was. I don’t know if he was on his knees. I don’t know if he was weeping. I don’t know how he was feeling but whatever he was feeling, he was feeling it in front of his people. And all the people were with him standing before the Lord.
Verse 14 says the spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah and he 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 not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”
I love that the Lord acknowledges that the army is vast. It’s a small detail but He does. He acknowledges that the army is big. I love that. He doesn’t downplay the size of the army coming against them. He doesn’t say it’s no big deal. He’s about to show them just how much He can handle the big deal that this is. Isn’t that cool? In your life and mine, Jesus doesn’t say “honey that’s no big deal. Go handle it.” No, it’s like He’s saying “yeah that’s big and I see why you are scared. Let me handle it.” That is so much different than a placating God who tells us we shouldn’t be afraid of what we are afraid of and then expects us to handle it.
After acknowledging the vastness of the army, He goes right into “sweetheart, this battle is not yours to fight. I got this.” I love that He tells them to march down. It’s like God wants them to have a front row seat. He doesn’t send a few down there. He doesn’t send a messenger to bring the message back. He tells them to march down. The Lord tells them exactly where the enemy will be. He reminds them that they will not have to fight and then tells them to take up their positions and stand firm. And He tells them to “see the deliverance of the Lord”. O God, you are so kind.
God does it guys. He delivers them and in a big way. The three armies that joined forces to bring this fight to Judah end up turning on each other and annihilating each other in the desert. And they did this annihilating while the men of Judah were on their way to the desert and while they were singing and praising the Lord for the splendor of His holiness. They were singing “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” And the armies of the Moabites and Ammonites and Meunites were turning their swords on each other. All while the men of Judah were singing and praising.
Whew! Do you hear that? There are a few lessons I got from this chapter.
First, this battle you think you’re facing. It’s not yours. Don’t make it yours. Don’t pick up your sword. Don’t lash back in anger or fear. Don’t make it what it’s not.
Second, inquire of the Lord. Seek him. Not your friend or IG or Facebook. I hope we’ve all learned by now that FB and IG are not good council when it comes to matters of the heart and spirit. Which pants or shoes look better- yes? But how to respond to this hard situation- not an issue for social media. Inquire of the Lord. Remember what He has done. Remember where He has brought you from. Remember His promises.
Third, take up your position and stand firm. Stand firm in your conviction and in the truth. Stand firm in your faith. Stand firm in who God is and in whose you are.
Fourth, praise. Praise along the way. Praise on the road. Praise in traffic. Praise on the way to court and on the way to the grocery store. Praise when you’re getting your kids up for the day.
And while we’re praising, He is in the desert fighting the real battle. See the things that I see that I think are the battle- they’re not the real battle. They are not the battle for my soul and the souls of those I love. The fact that my son hit his sister or my daughter won’t pick up her dirty clothes- that’s not the real battle. But the enemy of my soul, the one who doesn’t want me to fight for the hearts of my children, would love for me to get so caught up in the mundane of that battle that I lose sight of the war.
He would love for me to be so exhausted and spent fighting that battle that I’m not even aware of the bigger battle. He’d love for me to be so completely wrapped up in this that I can’t even seen that. Because that might be the bigger thing. It might be the enemy crouched at my door waiting for someone to leave it open so he can sneak in and really wreak havoc on my family and on those I love.
Guys, I don’t want to miss this. I don’t want to miss the war. I don’t want to be so caught up in the battle, the minor one that doesn’t even matter, that I miss the real stuff. I want to be in tune and aware of the war He is waging on my behalf. I want to be available to pick up my sword and fight for those I love but I can’t do it if I’m not even aware of the battle. I can’t do it if I’m so focused on that grudge and my bank account and whether today was a “good” day or not. I can’t do it if I’m caught up in gossip and slander and unforgiveness.
Jesus, give me eyes to see and ears to hear the real battle. Give me fortitude to walk away and not dwell on the things the world throws at me and the clanging of their symbols and Instagram Lives. Help me to see you and see you at work in my life and in my home and in my city and in my community. And help me to know when to pick up my sword and fight and when to praise you on the way.