As I have been praying the following prayer over the last few days I have been visualizing Christ coming and opening my eyes, ears, mind, heart and hands and then the Holy Spirit coming in fire and filling those areas of my being with His magnificent presence. Its powerful stuff folks, you should try it!
Pray: Come Holy Spirit, open the curtains over my eyes so that I may see You clearly, open the windows of my ears so that I may hear You soundly, open the skylight of my mind so that I may understand You better, open wide the French doors of my heart so that I may love You fiercely, lay open the fingers my hands so that I may give generously and receive humbly. Fill me with Your fire so that I can be more like You. Help me Lord, because I trust You. In Jesus‘ name, Father Thank You! Amen.
Yesterday was a difficult day for many of us apparently. The more I talked to people throughout the day yesterday the more I realized that there was a serious attack launched upon the people of God yesterday! Family members putting themselves in dangerous situations, widely known Christian political candidates family‘s health attacked, ministry financial supporters dying suddenly, the list could go on and on! For me personally, both my husband‘s ministry and my own were attacked yesterday. Mine through a mental attack on my dreams (explained in more detail in yesterday‘s post) and my husband‘s is being attacked in a much more physical sense.
His ministry is driving in Demolition Derbies around the country in order to pass out a free Bible to anyone who wants one. We pray over every Bible, insert an Alphabetical Bible in a year reading plan along with this website so they too can follow along with this devotional blog and have a support system for getting into and staying in the Word of God every day! It‘s an absolutely amazing ministry that we will be launching this summer (we are looking for volunteers and financial support if anyone is interested let us know).
His ministry is being threatened because the town we live in has decided that they do not want “junk“ cars in town and the fence that they are currently behind is on town property (aka an easement). Now, he could take his cars out to his buddy‘s house in the country to work on them, but then we, his family, would never see him! That‘s how we got into the ordeal we were in that inspired True Intimacy. He was never home because he was always out at his friend‘s house. And when he was home, he was on the derby websites talking to his friends. I was so alone during that time and honestly, neither one of us wants to go back there.
This morning as I was doing my daily reading God was speaking to me about the situation with the fence and cars. The word “fortify“ kept popping out to me. After reading I spend a few minutes meditating on what I have just read. I sit and listen for the voice of God to speak to me. Today He put a picture in my head. I was standing in the middle of the section of fence that is currently under attack, with my hands outstretched on the fence, head bowed praying for God‘s blessing and protection over it. I was fortifying it with prayer. Then He showed me walking around our entire property and marking off our territory with my feet, showing the enemy where He was drawing the lines of protection. And it wasn‘t just over our property either! I walked around two of our neighbor‘s properties as well!
In yesterday‘s reading we started chapter twenty and finished it today. I would really like to take a closer look at that chapter right now because I think it perfectly illustrates what many of us are facing at the moment. Opposition.
Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar“ (that is Engedi). 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: from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
Here is our first key, when Jehoshaphat was afraid he “set his face to seek the LORD“. Whether by a town letter head, a police officer at our door, or a phone call from a family member, however we receive the news that the Enemy forces are approaching our first reaction needs to be to seek the LORD. Honestly, how we do that will vary but the main point is to open our hearts to Him in that moment. Trust Him to take care of us within our circumstances and to lead us in the way that we should go. Jehoshaphat‘s response was to pray aloud:
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? And they have lived in it and have built for You in it a sanctuary for Your name, saying, “If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you – for Your name is in this house – and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.“ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy – behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession, which You have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not execute judgment on them? For 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.“
When disaster is upon us do we stand before God and cry out to Him? When we do not know what to do where do we look? Do we try to fix the problem ourselves? The answer to those questions is a critical one my friends so be sure to question yourself. What our first reaction is in a disaster is the tell tale sign of where we are looking for help. When we look to our own strength and power it results in failure because “we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us“. We are powerless but God is all power-full. Because Jehoshaphat looked to the LORD in his time of trouble, God‘s response to him was:
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. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 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 and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.
Did you catch that? You will not need to fight in this battle. Uh… WHAT??? God is telling them to go down as if they are going to fight, but then instead of running ahead and attacking the enemy they are told to Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf. I think that‘s interesting because God said almost the exact same thing through Moses to the Israelites as they were exiting Egypt! The Red Sea (yet to be parted) was before them and the army of Pharoah was behind them and rapidly closing in. The Israelites were crying out and asking Moses why he had brought them there to die when he said to them The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent (Exodus 14:14). I‘ve been talking a lot about it lately, but here I go again. There is POWER in stillness. There is strength in being still and remembering that He is God, not you. There is wisdom in simply standing firm, holding your position and waiting for the LORD to act on your behalf. When you wait for the LORD to act for you, you get to WATCH God work. You get to see the miraculous salvation He has planned for you!
In verse twenty Jehoshaphat imparts the plan to the people:
“Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.“ And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise Him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,
“Give thanks to the LORD, for His steadfast love endures forever.“ 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. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
Jehoshaphat‘s big defensive strategy was to sing praises to the LORD! How many times as Christians have we heard the saying “praise Him in the storm“, this is what that saying means! Jehoshaphat‘s army had no chance of standing up against the massive army of the Enemy, at least, that‘s how the Enemy saw it anyway. But because they sought their help from the LORD Almighty instead of trying to help themselves the end result of that battle was that their enemies ended up killing each other and never even touching Judah!
When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah (which means blessing), for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the LORD. 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. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.
Not only did God use Judah‘s praises to fight the enemy that was marching against them, but He used their praises to confuse the enemy to the point of defeating each other and leaving behind more abundance than the army of Jehoshaphat could carry in one trip! It took them THREE DAYS to pick up all the things that their enemy had left behind! God used their enemy to make His children rich! God used the battle to bless His children.
God used the battle to bless His children. God used the battle to bless His children. (I want to make sure you heard me on that one.) Before the battle if we aren‘t focused on God then the result of the battle will be the blessing of returning our focus to God. And when we are looking at God the result of the battle will be the blessing of greater intimacy with God and potentially material abundance as well! We will return home from the battle with joy, for the LORD will make us rejoice over our enemies and the fear of God will come on all the kingdoms of the countries when they hear that the LORD fights against anyone who opposes us.