Thursday, July 10, 2014

A Thought

“This battle is not for you to fight; take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the Lord on your behalf.”  2 Chronicles 20:17 (NRSV)

Judah and King Jehoshaphat were facing overwhelming odds against the encroaching Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites; so the king lifted up his nation in prayer.  In his prayer the king appealed to The Lord within the context of the Exodus when Israel was led around, rather than through, these nations enroute to the Promised Land: “[these nations] reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You have given us to inherit” (2 Chronicles 20:11).

Though it is clear the king was gravely concerned about what may come to be, it nevertheless fell to him to lead his nation in prayer.  Rather than to react hastily to a dangerous situation, the people of The Lord first turned to The Lord.  In their faithfulness and, yes, in their fear, the prayer was answered.  Though they were not released from the necessity of doing battle (“Tomorrow go out against them”, vs 17c), The Lord had assured His people that He would act “on your behalf” first.

We face dangerous situations today as a nation, as a state, as a community, and as The Church.  It is our inclination, however, to respond almost immediately to any given situation according to what we believe to be the best course of action (and very often, overreact) rather than to stop, pray, and wait until such time as The Lord may direct our actions.

And this, dear friends, is the difference between those of The Covenant and those outside of The Covenant.  The Covenant of The Lord assures us that as His people, He will protect us; this is His part of His own Covenant to which He is bound!  The assurance of The Covenant, however, applies only to those within that Covenant who will live in accordance with the terms of that Covenant.  And this, I think, is where we face perhaps even greater challenges than the fear often invoked when we are overwhelmed.

We cannot know what the outcomes might look like nor can we really know exactly how The Lord will respond, but the Written Word assures us He will.  This is what we cling to, for it is our hope.  Perhaps the problems in the modern-day Church come from the reality that we simply will not “stand still” and fully trust that The Lord will do His own thing through and with His own people – we would rather our own thing be done!

“Be still, and know that I am The Lord.  I will be exalted among the nations; I will be exalted in the earth” (Psalm 46:10).  By His decree, by His assurance, this is enough for His people.



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