Any Battles We are Facing are in His Hands!
Accruing Pressure - AJ Butel:
I don't know how things are panning out in your world, but it seems to me that even though God's Spirit is moving like never before, many Believers have been facing extreme challenges and difficulties at this time. Many have become TIRED of fighting and are weary of waiting. You might be one who feels as though disaster is rising upon your skyline, obscuring the hope of your future.
No matter where you turn, or what you do, a smog of despair continues to shroud you, and you feel OVERWHELMED as you sense the looming plans and purposes of the enemy. Whether it is emotional, relational, physical or financial, he is trying to suffocate the life-flow of fruitfulness, creativity and prosperity in and through your life. Although in the natural it may seem as though there is no way out, please allow me to encourage your heart. Our God is so much greater than the enemy's ranting and raving, so much more powerful than any war or rumour of war; and our Heavenly Father wants to remind us that any problems and battles we are facing are in HIS hands!
I am seeing breakthrough emerging, and it's in the very places that the enemy has been tightening his grip. I believe the Lord is bringing RELEASE. I can see that despite the odds, God's people are learning how to receive HIS supernatural breath—HIS reprieve and strength.
I too have had intense trials swirling, and just recently as I was plumbing my Bible's depths for His answers, Holy Spirit led me to a story in 2 Chronicles. He gave me a 'lifeline' Word. I pray it encourages you also. Let me set the scene.
A Clean Sweep
Thousands of years before today, there reigned a king who was going about doing the right thing—Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, had been cleaning up the pollution of sex-and-religion shrines in his kingdom, and urging his people to turn back to God. He appointed judges and priests to be stationed over the different cities of Judah and reminded them of their responsibilities before the Lord. He required them to walk and rule in the fear of the Lord, cored with the values of loyalty, integrity and courage. He was transforming the culture to honor God. All was progressing well. Life was good.
Except, after he had cleaned house, this revolutionary leader receives the report that a massive army comprised from three surrounding regions has amalgamated against him! A colossal takeover is in motion. Needless to say, King Jehoshaphat is scared! A formidable force is rapidly approaching, and in the natural Jehoshaphat stands no chance. He is facing a royal dusting! However, ALTHOUGH FEARFUL, he sets himself to SEEK the Lord, and proclaims a fast throughout his kingdom. The country of Judah united in seeking GOD's help—they came from all the cities of Judah to pray to GOD.—2 Chronicles 20:4, The Message
The Sound of War
The King stands before his newly reformed court and lifts his heart and voice toward Heaven. With bulky bravado, he renounces the natural to invoke the supernatural—He praises the Lord for who He is, and reminds his people of God's greatness and faithfulness. He remembers that they are dwelling within the land which God gave Abraham, and of the Lord's promises for salvation.
Then Jehoshaphat gets honest with God and says that this army which He didn't permit Israel to destroy previously is now about to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit (2 Chronicles 20:11, NKJV).
Facing eviction from their home, Jehoshaphat requests the Lord's help and admits their frailties: …they've come to kick us out of the country You gave us. O dear God, won't You take care of them? We're helpless before this vandal horde ready to attack us. We don't know what to do; we're looking to You.—2 Chronicles 20:12, The Message
I love how Jehoshaphat remembers their history with God, and reminds Him of His promises. Then he concludes with but our eyes are upon YOU. Even though the enemy's dust is billowing upon his horizon, Jehoshaphat is looking upon God's promises for his future.
What about you? In your need, in your desperation, what are you remembering? What or who are you looking toward?
Thus Says the Lord
So, the whole of Judah, men, women and children, stand attentively before the Lord—awaiting His answer. Tick-tock... I imagine you could have heard a pin drop! And then suddenly, the Spirit of the Lord comes upon Jahaziel, who prophesies to the people and their King:
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.'—2 Chronicles 20:15, NKJV
PHEW… thank God! I can just hear the people's gasps of relief and see their rejoicing; but then I imagine the crowd soon hushed and leaned further in to hear the word of the Lord, and Jahaziel continues to download Heaven's proposition. He releases the blueprint on where they are to meet the opposing army and then brings the punch-line of all war strategies:
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 20:17, NKJV
In other words, HERE'S YOUR BRILLIANT BATTLE PLAN; YOU DON'T HAVE TO LIFT A FINGER. I JUST WANT YOU TO STAND FIRM AND WATCH GOD'S DEVOTION TRANSPIRE! BY THE WAY, DON'T BE AFRAID, DON'T WAVER, BUT MARCH OUT TOWARD YOUR VAST ADVERSARY WITH BOLDNESS BECAUSE THE LORD IS WITH YOU!
YIPES! I don't know about you, but I might have had just a wee niggling of concern, WELL, UMM… HELLOOOO… DOES ANYONE ELSE FIND THIS SLIGHTLY DISTURBING? WHAT ABOUT THE IMPENDING OVERTHROW? WE ARE FAR OUTNUMBERED AND THERE IS NO WAY OUT! ARE WE SERIOUSLY JUST GOING TO WALK UP TO OUR ASSASSINS WITH A SONG IN OUR MOUTHS? SOMEONE? ANYONE? I'M NOT FEELING VERY INDESTRUCTIBLE!
How often do we invite the supernatural invasion of the Lord, yet embrace the immensity of our natural circumstances as our dominant reality? How often do we falter at the instruction of the Lord, and set off on our self-designed, self-navigated journey of self-made success? How often do we trust in our opinion and rely on our brawn? If we are not LED by the Spirit, our potential is thwarted. If we are not empowered with His wisdom and strength then we are inferior. If His breath doesn't fill the production of our hands then we are limited. I don't know about you, but I want to see the riches of HIS FULLNESS at work in and through us!
At the Top of Their Lungs
But look at Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. This revivalist king bows his head so low that his face is upon the ground. All of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem do the same. And they WORSHIP God! They praise Him "with voices LOUD and HIGH!" Despite the imminent disaster raring ahead, they let it rip—with ALL THEIR HEART and trust—and proclaim God's goodness and magnitude.
On their way out to meet the army, Jehoshaphat greets them all with this pep talk: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper (2 Chronicles 20:20, NKJV).
In other words, DON'T FORGET WHO GOD IS AND WHAT HE HAS DONE AND IS DOING IN YOU AND I. PUT YOUR TRUST IN HIM AND WE SHALL BE BUILT UP AND SUPPORTED. AGREE WITH WHAT WAS SPOKEN AND PROMISED, AND WE WILL PROSPER OR BE 'PUSHED FORWARD' INTO WHAT HE HAS PREPARED FOR US!
Have you had the word of the Lord hidden in your heart for such a time as this? It might be a prophetic word, Scripture, a friend's anointed encouragement… don't take these gifts for granted. Can I encourage you to cling to the words the Lord has given you and anticipate His manifestation. From a posture of surrender, allow the Lord to propel you into your next dimension—your next season.
Then Jehoshaphat appoints people to sing to the Lord and praise Him. Remember, this is while they are facing potential desolation! Yet, they glorify God! They give thanks for His love that never fails. They gratefully proclaim His mercy that just won't quit. They honor His allegiance that remains standing even when everything else falls away.
I am so challenged by Judah's obedience and faith. I have to ask the question, WHAT IF INSTEAD OF BICKERING ABOUT OUR DOCTRINAL ISSUES AND JUDGING ONE ANOTHER, THE BODY OF CHRIST AROSE IN SPECTACULAR SHOUTS OF PRAISE FOR HIS GOODNESS, HIS MAJESTY AND HIS GRACE? What would we look like? How would the world respond? And in what way would the earth echo our cry?
In the Meantime...
So all of Judah is loudly and unashamedly praising their God. IN THE MEANTIME, the Lord sets up ambushes against the invaders and they are annihilated! Remarkably, the three sections of this conglomerate merger fold in on themselves. The different parties turn against each other, become confused, and all kill one another. EVERY last one! HA! No escapees!
Did you catch that? When God does a job, He does it properly! And when He vindicates, He works in completion. Selah.
Now check out my favourite part, When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies, and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much. (2 Chronicles 20:25, NKJV).
WOW! There was MORE profitable loot than they could carry away. So their adherence to God brings them not only salvation, but increase! MULTIPLICATION! Judah scores the bling with no bang! YAY God!
I heard a breathtaking definition of "justice" this week: THE RESTORATION OF EVERY VIOLATION OF LOVE. How privileged are we, that God-the-Just recovers or reinstates EVERY INFRACTION of the enemy, in His love! That's His perfection right there! None-the-less, please note: not only was Judah's kingdom sustained, but it was added to—all-be-it "accidentally!" What the enemy had constructed for evil, the Lord converted to good. Can you imagine their solace? Can you envision their elation as they are FREED from the intimidation of ravage and ruin?
How about you? Do you realize that freedom and victory is available to you also?
The Scripture says that the people went back to Jerusalem WITH JOY, for the Lord had made them celebrate over their enemies. And the fear of the Lord came upon all the nations who heard about what God had done. Judah was safe, protected—overshadowed!
It is the same for us today. We are shielded with the defense and favor of the Lord, and His dominion is ours as we trust and honor Him. As for Jehoshaphat, God gave him REST all around (see verse 30)! He gets to settle in the peace and assurance that God fights his battles and holds his future in His hands.
Dear friend, DO NOT FEAR!
No matter what the diagnosis, prognosis, doom, economy, status, or perception—praise and worship the Giver of your promised land—your Redeemer. He is SO extravagant in His flourishing intent for you. Remember the word of the Lord to you! Believe in it, so you shall be established and prosper! May His sweet REST envelop your heart!
A Prayer: the Altar
Pray this with me: LORD, I'M LONGING FOR YOUR SALVATION, YOUR REFRESHMENT, AND YOUR INCREASE. I CONFESS, I HAVE BEEN APPREHENDED BY FEAR OF WHAT LIES AHEAD. HOWEVER, I DON'T WANT TO BE LIVING A LIFE THAT IS RULED BY THE TRENDS OF THE CULTURE AROUND ME. I DON'T WANT TO FIND THE ANSWERS WITHIN AN EMPTY COUNTERFEIT, A POWERLESS BANDAGE. I DON'T WANT TO BE A "REALIST"—EARTH-BOUND BY THE WORLD'S OPINIONS. I DON'T WANT TO BE SATISFIED BY TEMPORARY SUPERFICIAL PLEASURES. AND I DON'T WANT TO BE ASPHYXIATED WITH THE ANXIETY OF TOMORROW.
RATHER, I DESIRE TO SEEK YOUR FACE AND TO KNOW YOU INTIMATELY. TO HEAR YOUR WORD FOR ME IN MY TODAY. TO DOWNLOAD YOUR STRATEGIES FOR MY FUTURE. I WANT YOUR HEART TO HOLD PREMIUM PREROGATIVE IN MY LIFE.
SO LORD, I REPENT FOR MY LACK OF TRUST IN YOU—FOR MY FAILING OF FAITH THAT YOU WILL DO ME NO HARM, AND MY INABILITY TO BELIEVE THAT YOU DESIRE TO PROSPER ME. AND I REPENT WHERE I HAVEN'T SURRENDERED TO YOUR POWER TO DELIVER ME. I REJECT THE OPINIONS OF THE NAYSAYERS AND GLOOMY FORECASTERS AROUND ABOUT ME. I REFUSE TO ENTER INTO PARTNERSHIP WITH THE LIMITATIONS OF MY MIND.
AND I CHOOSE TO ALIGN WITH HEAVEN. I REST IN YOUR PRESENCE, REASSURED BY YOUR LOVE, LIVING BREATH-TO-BREATH FROM YOUR WHISPERS OF WISDOM, OVERSHADOWED BY YOUR SUPERNATURAL POWER, UNDER-GIRDED WITH YOUR AMAZING GRACE, SURROUNDED BY YOUR KIND FAVOR, AND BASKING IN YOUR PEACE WHICH PASSES ALL! LET YOUR PRESENCE COVER ME FROM EVERY SIDE. IN YOU I STAY MY HOPE.