Friday, March 4, 2016

Is Your Battle Plan in Place?

On Wednesday evening, our pastor preached an excellent message out of II Chronicles 20, and it has stuck with me.  Today, I would like to share with you a bit of what he shared with our congregation, adding to it, of course, my own insights and alliteration (which, unlike many pastors, I don't use often).

In II Chronicles 20, a group of warring nations bonded together in an assault on the nation of Judah.  When Jehoshaphat, the current king, heard of the mob that was coming, he fell to his knees and sought the Lord.  (Let me stop right here and say that the best battle plans begin with prayer.)  Anyway, the king prayed and the King of Kings answered with a four-step plan to win the victory over the invading armies.

Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. - II Chronicles 20:17-18
  • Step one:  Wait! -- Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still. -- When the enemy is coming for us, the last thing we want to do is wait.  Run?  Sure.  Fight?  Maybe.  Plan?  Definitely.  But wait?  Wait for the enemy to catch up with us?  It makes no sense to us, and it goes against every fiber of our being.  We want to do something--anything!  Surely, the army of Judah was thinking about donning armor, sharpening weapons and securing the city as much as possible.  But God said, "No, you're not fighting this one.  This battle is mine.  You just sit tight for now."  How many times has God said the same to us?

  • Step two:  Watch! -- . . . see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. -- There are times when God wants us to get involved with the work and times when He wants us to simply sit back and watch what He can do.  He doesn't need our participation.  He doesn't require our best-laid plans.  The battle is His, and He intends to fight it His way.  But He wants to make sure that we're paying attention because He knows we'll need the memories of this victory when we face the next battle.

  • Step three:  Worry not! -- . . .fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.  -- God basically told Judah, "I've got this.  Don't you worry about it."  I don't know about you, but I've heard God whisper those same words to me on many occasions. When the days are dark, the bills are overdue or the diagnosis is bad, worry seems like an appropriate response.  But it's not.  In fact, it's not even really a response; it's a reaction.  A response is how we act after thinking through a situation and considering all the factors.  A reaction is how we act before taking the time to think through a situation.  It happens before we even realize it.  We don't mean to worry; it just seems to happen.  But God warns us about it so that we'll be better prepared to recognize it and stop it in its tracks.

  • Step four:  Worship! -- And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. -- It's easy for us to praise and worship God after the battle has been won, but in the passage in II Chronicles,  Judah and its king worshiped God before the battle even began.  God basically said, "Don't worry.  I'll take care of this one.  You just sit back and watch."  And Judah's response was heartfelt praise--not because of what God had done, but rather because of what He said He would do.  Hasn't God said that He would supply our every need?  Hasn't He promised to take care of us just as He promised He would take care of Judah?  Hasn't He promised to fight our battles?  Yes, yes and yes.  So why aren't we down on our knees in heartfelt praise?
Life is full of battles.  Some are physical while others are spiritual.  Some are emotional while others are mental.  Some are financial while others are relational.  Whatever the situation, there is no battle that God cannot win.  As for us, if we'll follow the four-step plan that God has set forth, we'll experience victory every time.  Wait on God.  Watch Him work.  Worry not about the outcome.  And worship the One Who fights all our battles.

The enemy march is drawing near.  Is your battle plan in place?


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