We ought to be expectant as we open the beautiful pages of Truth. As we listen for the voice of the Holy One, for His Spirit to fill us with His Truth.
Ought to, but not always are.
We have this enemy, and he whispers to us, whispers that God my Father will not meet me here today, not here, in the pages of 2nd Chronicles. It’s just part of your “daily reading plan,” he says…it’s the Old Testament. He’s not going to meet you here.
“He (Satan) has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Ephesians 6:12)
The whispers echo, stirring doubt, yet the deeper longing persists and stirs the soul, and Truth draws me in anyway, despite my doubts. Past the whispers of lies, pushing through the doubts, my soul tugs deeper, presses in, and Truth wins…even here in 2nd Chronicles. Truth wins, meets me in the story of a king named Jehoshaphat. Pages rustle and He smiles as I fight to meet Him here. He’s been waiting patiently…as He always does…for this time with me. I’ve been thirsting for it.
“I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You, as a parched land.” (Psalm 143:6)
I meet Him in the story of a king that turned fervently to God in a time of fear, and stirred his people’s hearts to turn fervently with him. To seek the Lord in fasting and prayer.
2 Chronicles 20:1-4
Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).” Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD.
Terror so often turns us to God, turns us to fervent prayer.
Lord, let it instead be the knowledge of Your love burning in our hearts that turns our hearts fervently to You. Let us desire a life of conversation with You.
But, when terror comes, let it be You that we run to for help, You are our Refuge. And let us bring others with us, instead of running away in fear and confusion.
Memories of 9/11 come to mind…reporters and newscasters urging us to pray. The nation struck by terror came together and the word prayer was used freely…the Name of God was used desperately and unashamedly. Yet in the calm of normalcy His name is shunned and prayer is a forgotten thing, a thing to be used only in such times of desperation.
Yet we are told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “Pray without ceasing.”
Let us wake up to Your love without the prompting of terror and fear.
You said in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Let us humble ourselves before You, let us pray and seek Your face.
Here’s what Jehoshaphat prays in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem…
2 Chronicles 20:5-7,12-13 (read the full passage here…http://biblehub.com/nasb/2_chronicles/20.htm)
5Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD before the new court, 6and he said, “O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. 7“Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?
12b…For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” 13All Judah was standing before the LORD, with their infants, their wives and their children.
Jehoshaphat starts out his prayer proclaiming the truth of who God is…God of our fathers…God in the heavens…ruler over all kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in His hand…NO ONE can stand against Him.
Puts things into perspective, doesn’t it? He doesn’t come and immediately start pouring out his problems…he comes and lifts the mighty Name of God up first.
- Do I enter into conversation with God by proclaiming the truth of who He is, or do I immediately jump into pouring my complaints before Him? (He wants us to bring our requests and complaints before Him, but, we are to “enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.” (Psalm 100:4)
He reminds himself, and the people, of God’s faithfulness to them in the past. “Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?”
- Do we take time to remember what God has already done for us? Don’t we sometimes forget how faithful He’s been? That He’s already proven to us that “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU…” (Hebrews 13:5b).
I love the last part.
“For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
We need to OWN our powerlessness.
We need to ADMIT that we don’t know what to do.
We need to FIX our eyes on God…TRUSTING in Him alone.
- Am I o.k. with owning my powerlessness, or do I have a “power struggle” with God?
- Can I admit that I just don’t know what to do, or do I want too badly to look like I have it all together?
- Do I fix my eyes on God alone…trust in Him alone, moment by moment…or, do I only give Him a partial glance on Sundays and fix my eyes elsewhere?
Sometimes we will face “visible” or “tangible” terror attacks. But the fact is, we are always in a battle with our enemy in the spiritual realm. In a battle with satan…the father of lies…our enemy…the one who wants to knock the Sword of Truth out of our hands, or simply convince us that it’s not necessary. He doesn’t want us to be in constant conversation with our Father. He doesn’t want us to turn to Him alone, to run to Him for refuge.
The point is…we always need to be praying fervently, as if we have an army coming up against us, because we do! We need to admit that we are powerless against it, and we need the power of God to help us, we need His guidance and direction for every step that we take. That there is nothing safer than fixing our eyes on Him alone and trusting His ways, not ours.
More on this story next time…but for today, lets take notes from Jehoshaphat’s prayer. Let’s own that we are powerless, admit that we don’t know what to do, and fix our eyes on God. Let’s seek Him fervently in prayer and in His Word today…and let’s start out by focusing on who God is. It will put everything else into perspective!
Today we can meditate on this name of God…
God is Jehovah. The name of the independent, self-complete being—“I AM WHO I AM”—only belongs to Jehovah God. Our proper response to Him is to fall down in fear and awe of the One who possesses all authority.
(I found this on the Navigator’s website. Here is the link if you’d like to learn more Names of God! https://www.navigators.org/Tools/Discipleship%20Resources/Tools/30%20Days%20of%20Praying%20the%20Names%20and%20Attributes%20of%20God)
Father, You are Jehovah. There is none like You in the heavens or on earth. You possess ALL authority. Forgive us for not acknowledging You for who You are, Lord. Forgive us for not admitting our powerlessness, and for not admitting that without You, we are lost. For not fixing our eyes on You each moment in each situation. For forgetting Your faithfulness to us. Thank You for Your great mercy, for Your grace that covers our sins. For Your forgiveness. Let us turn to You today, let us seek Your face in Your Word and in prayer, and let us live to please You today. In the Name of Jesus, Amen.
“Let the Word of Christ richly dwell within you…”