Dynamic Divine Dichotomy

“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments… Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand… His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.

“In the third year of his reign he sent his officials… to teach in the cities of Judah.., having the Book of the Law of the Lord with them. They went about through all the cities and taught among the people.

“And the fear of the Lord fell upon all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, and they made no war against Jehoshaphat… Jehoshaphat grew steadily greater. He built in Judah fortresses and store cities, and he had large supplies in the cities of Judah. He had soldiers, mighty men of valor, in Jerusalem.”

“Now Jehoshaphat had great riches and honor, and he made a marriage alliance with Ahab…”

“Jehoshaphat the king of Judah returned in safety to his house in Jerusalem…  And he went out again among the people, from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers… ‘Be careful what you do… Thus you shall do in the fear of the Lord, in faithfulness, and with your whole heart.’

“‘O our God… 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…’ ‘You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid [or] dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.’” 2 Chronicles 17:3-5a,6-7a,9-10,12-13; 18:1; 19:1,4,7b,9; 20:12,17

“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest.” Hebrews 4:11

In setting his whole heart to seek God, Jehoshaphat learned the rhythm and interdependence of striving and resting. His seeking was passionate and zealous, and the peace it wrought overarching and deep. As long as he strove, God blessed him with national and personal rest, while letting up proved unsettling, even tumultuous as he flirted with danger and near death. (2 Chronicles 18:4-22,28-34)

Setting vigilant guard over the spirit establishes a formidable sentry for the soul. The Christian life is a constant ying and yang of striving and surrender, of making every effort and trusting God’s effort spent, of flesh and finished work. Learning the secret balance is to know confidently Christ’s sufficiency and to actively rest in it.

How eagerly, how consistently, am I striving to know and therefore rest in the Lord? And is that in frenzied self-strength which foments unrest, or in the finished work of my Savior that offers indescribable peace? How might I intentionally, dynamically surrender to all He has done and called me to do, and so know His abiding rest in it all? (Isaiah 26:3; John 16:33; Philippians 4:7)

“How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is giv’n!
So God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heav’n.” ~Phillips Brooks (1868)

Father, prompt me to seek and strive with diligence, even as I trust Your finished work on my behalf. May I never cease to press on in faith or to praise Your victorious name.

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