“After this the Moabites and Ammonites came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, and said, ‘O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.’
“[Jahaziel] said, ‘Thus says the Lord to you, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them… You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf.” Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.’
“Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the LORD. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed… And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 20:1,3-7,12,15-18,20,22,29
Facing a formidable enemy, King Jehoshaphat humbled himself to face his even more formidable God. Exalting Him, and recounting His past faithfulness, the king leads his people to release their fear and foe to the Ruler of all nations. God responded immediately through His prophet, and reassured, they rose early and expectant, the army perched to watch what their LORD would do. Not only did He rout the foe, but He gave them tremendous plunder and gladness.
When we turn our eyes from the enemy to the One Who can vanquish him, trembling becomes trust. The worst news or diagnosis, the hottest temptation, the deepest heartache, pale in the brilliance of God’s shining face; He gives the strength to stand firm. Even when acquaintances or co-workers taunt, or rebellious children wound or prickly relatives chafe, God can win over our hearts so we can meet them with peaceful countenance and inner joy. When at once we release, we can begin to rejoice–the battle is His!
LORD of all, when enemies in the shape of people, fears, gnawing sin, the fingers of despair loom large, captivate me with You. In Your grace, open my hands to release these to You, and my will to choose to rejoice in the One larger and stronger than every foe. May I ever “give thanks to You, LORD, for Your steadfast love endures forever.” (21)