This verse crossed my path and captured my heart. It literally wraps up what Living Out Loud is based on-it is all about Him. Then I am reminded of one of my favorite Old Testament stories and today, I take you there...2 Chronicles 20. Read it here...every verse and then come back here.
Davids son Jehoshaphat understood what it meant to Live Out Loud. In the footsteps of his father, King Jehoshaphat included God in his everyday. Imagine living in that time. We are dealing with political battles, different parties fighting for what they think is right for our country. Not necessarily to the magnitude of Jehoshaphat's time. He was dealing with a political battle...a battle in which his enemies wanted his territory.
How did King Jehoshaphat respond?
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. ~ 2 Chronicles 20:3 (NIV)
His first response? He became alarmed. Any time someone is invading our space, or threatens something dear to us, we will react that way. King Jehoshaphat's men came to him with what they knew and He heeded the words of his men. He didn't brush them off. He wasn't too busy to listen or to care.
His second response? He turned to God and he gave it to God. He called on God in this most beautiful prayer, a prayer that confirmed his faith and trust in his God. A prayer that we should all use when we are feeling overwhelmed:
"Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You. Are You not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend? They have lived in the land and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name and have said, “If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine—we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple. We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver.” ~ 2 Chronicles 20:5-12(HCSB)
His third response? He reacted. He reacted in faith. He took the threat seriously. He knew on his own he could not stop his enemies. But he knew His God would react to him. He reacted by fasting.
“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”~ Matt 6:33
Though Matthew 6:33 had yet to be penned, King Jehoshaphats faith knew this.
Fasting is one of the most powerful weapons God has ever given us for our daily lives...Although fasting lasts for a short season, it brings long-term results, which sharpens us, enabling us to face the challenges of life in His strength ~Jentezen Franklin
Nothing was more important to him then being as close to His God as he could be. He knew God was bigger than him. Our passage reads on to show God coming through when His spirit came on a man in the congregation, Jahaziel, with these words:
This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. ~ 2 Chron 20:15b
The battle is not yours. If only we would recite this line every time we confront the invasion of the unwanted or the impossible. The battle is not yours. What a beautiful confirmation for King Jehoshaphat that his reaction and commitment to God was the right step towards this threat. But he didn't stop there. Even before the enemies were defeated, what did he do?
After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the Lord;
his faithful love endures forever!”
his faithful love endures forever!”
~ 2 Chron. 20:21
He gave thanks. He praised God in advance for His work He would do. that's faith. That's trust. That's walking life with God. You know the rest of the story if you read this chapter like I asked you to in the beginning. I don't think the ending is so much about winning the battle as it was the result of God's action in their lives....
So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. ~ 2 Chron. 20:30
Peace. Rest. What a blessed reward. I believe this same reward awaits us is we live out loud as King Jehoshaphat did here in this chapter. When life hits you hard, live your faith out loud by:
- Be alarmed.
- Resolved to seek the Lord.
- Remember, "the battles is not yours".
- Give thanks and praise to God from the beginning.