What worries you? What comes to mind when you wake up in the middle of the night? I know I’m worrying when I realize I’m biting my fingernails. Yeah, it’s a nasty habit…one I’ve struggled with all my life. I’ll have pretty nails for awhile, then a problem arises and by default my nails are destroyed.
Another thing I realize when I see my nails in a pile is that I’m not trusting God. Worry and fear are diametrically opposed to faith and trust in God. There are lots of things that can make us fearful. We may be worry….
- if we’re providing our children with the proper tools to succeed in life
- if our money is going to outlive us
- if our job is secure
- if our relationships are strong enough to endure the trials life throws at us
- if our health is good
- if we are fulfilling God’s purposes in our life
And on and on it goes. But one thing is for sure…God does not want us to worry. He tells us in 1 Peter 5:7 to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us. That “cares” not only means He loves us supremely, but He is capable of taking “care” of our problems! “But my God shall supply all you need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) That’s a promise!
In II Chronicles 17-20, King Jehoshaphat gives us a beautiful example of what to do when the worry warts start surfacing. This king of Judah was in the habit of seeking God and keeping His commandments. But King Jehoshaphat became fearful because a great multitude was coming against him.
This reminds me of the many foreboding days that my husband and I faced with his cancer battle. We were always wondering if the chemo was still keeping the cancer at bay. All those times we entered the doctor’s office to get the test results, I wondered if this would be the day our world would fall apart… again. When would the chemo stop working? After all, the doctor was confident that day would eventually come. I often felt like Eeyore in the Winnie the Pooh cartoon walking around with a cloud over our heads wondering when the bottom was going to drop out.
I still have some of those days. There has been no sign of cancer in my body for almost a year and a half. The doctor says the more time that passes without the cancer returning, increases the chances that it won’t. My check ups roll around every three months and I wonder. I know worrying will not help nor will it prevent recurrence, but it takes discipline to not worry and trust God.
King Jehoshaphat’s life and his kingdom was at stake here. We can understand his fear. What was his response?
He fasted and prayed, “O LORD God of our father, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God…? (II Chron. 20:6, 7)
Jehoshaphat told God, “…neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” Isn’t that a wonderful confession and declaration? I love this! And evidently, God did too. Listen to God’s response to this.
“Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. (vs. 15) Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set (position) yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” (vs. 17)
Then Jehoshaphat and all of Judah bowed their heads with their face to the ground and fell before the LORD and worshipped Him. Others stood and loudly praised God. (vs. 18) Then….. night came. Do you ever pray at the end of a long day, sleep peacefully for a few hours, and then wake up and start worrying again? Time has a way of making us doubt even the surest of promises.
As the people rose early in the morning and entered the wilderness, a place that could have been lonely and scary, Jehoshaphat encourages them by saying, “Hear me, O Judah, …Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (vs. 20)
Then King Jehoshaphat did something quite amazing. Instead of sneaking up on the enemy, he appointed singers that they should sing unto the Lord and praise the beauty of holiness as they marched toward the enemy! (vs. 21).
“When they began to sing and to praise… the LORD set ambushments” against their enemies and they died. (vs. 22) God fought the battle for them! I believe He wants to do the same for us today.
There are some important lessons we can learn from this godly king.
- He knew where to go for help.
Though godly friends can often give good advice and help us, it is ONLY God who can really help us. He should always be the first place we look for answers and to make us feel better….not friends, food, shopping, or a bottle.
2. He knew how to go for help.
Jehoshaphat was serious about his faith and obedience to God. He had already taken away the pagan idol worshipping. He walked with God and kept His commandments. So when his trouble came, he already had a good relationship with God. Thankfully, God will take us anytime and in any sorry condition we find ourselves. He is waiting with open arms to forgive us and help us when we ask, but I hope we don’t wait until we’re desperate to have a relationship with Him and ask for His help. We need Him everyday.
3. He knew how to respond to help.
Jehoshaphat acted on God’s promise in spite of his feelings. He trusted that God would keep His word and fight his battle for him when he saw no physical evidence of it. Now that’s faith! He appointed singers to go before the army and praise God as if the battle was already won. Then when God defeated the army, he did not fail to give God thanks. Later, everyone assembled together and blessed the LORD. (vs. 26)
As a result, the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of the surrounding countries. (vs. 29) God was glorified through the victory and praise. So many times God sent angels or He spoke to people Himself and told them to not be afraid. He says the same thing to us today. “There is no panic in heaven, only plans,” Corrie Ten Boom once said. May our faith overcome our fears.
Keep looking up,