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Friday, December 19, 2014

Remember Who is in Control

So I mentioned that I was a perfectionist in my last note and today I’ll also admit that I can tend to be a bit of a control freak.  Now we all know, there is very little in this world that we can actually control, but believe you me, I try to control as much as I possibly can.  I think through all the possibilities, try to see potential pot holes ahead, and fix problems before they blow up, because I don’t do well at dealing with life post-explosion.  Sometimes it’s the struggles and pains of my friends that have me worried.  I want to help or fix the problem but there is often absolutely nothing I can do.  I become rather rattled and start falling apart at the seams.   Can anyone else relate?

Well, my good friend King Jehoshaphat spoke into my life once again with how he dealt with terrifying news.  In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat is delivered the news that many other surrounding nations have gotten together and are coming for Judah and King Jehoshaphat’s kingdom.  When he hears this, “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord” (2 Chron. 20:3). That’s all one sentence.  He was, indeed, afraid but His first reaction was to seek God through not only His prayers but the prayers of all the people of Judah. Step one:  In the face of fear, seek God.

Jehoshaphat goes on to pray a tremendous prayer in the midst of his people, which you can read in 2 Chron. 20: 5-12.  In it, Jehoshaphat acknowledges God’s power and control over the situation, he names specific times in history that God has delivered His people and then he expresses faith that God will again deliver His people from their enemies.  They collectively acknowledged they had no control and no chance of winning on their own but that they would keep their eyes on Him (20:12). Step two:  Remember who God is. 

When God speaks into the situation in 2 Chronicles 20:15-17, God reminds King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah, that “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (20:15).  Step three: Remember, whatever we are facing, it is God who fights for us and brings His purposes to pass. 

Finally King Jehoshaphat leads his army to confront the oncoming attack and he sends the choir out first, ahead of the armed men, singing praises to God.  Step four: Praise Him for what He is about to do, even if you don’t know how He’ll see you through.

As Judah’s army approached the battle field, they found that all the opposing armies had been defeated by God as they turned the swords on each other and none were left to fight Judah. The army of Judah then collected the spoils of war and remembered to praise God continually for the victory for which only He could do.  They could take no credit for what God did but they gained many riches from it anyway. We do nothing to deserve it but He lavishes us with blessing anyway. 

Final results for following steps one through four:  2 Chronicles 20: 29-30 says “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.”

Because King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah committed their way entirely to the Lord and let God fight the battle for them, they came out of the situation with a tremendous story to tell the nations.  The testimony they established in this chapter was clear for all to see.  The God of King Jehoshaphat was mighty, powerful and to be revered.  There is no need for us to fear with God on our side.  Even if we can’t see how it will turn out, He will make a way so we must stay near to Him and keep our eyes fixed.  The results will blow your mind and the story will clearly point to Him. 

I hope to commit these steps to memory and begin to applying them as life continues to throw its curve balls.  Instead of losing composure when bad news arrives, I want to seek God first, remembering Who He is and what He has done in the past and know that what He will do with this situation will be His best and my reaction and action concerning this news can be used as a mighty testimony for His work in my life and in the lives of others.  I've been blessed in my life to know several people who have walked through crazy storms and their lives tell the story of a God who loves, heals and restores.  All in all, I want my inability to control to be overcome with the knowledge that He is in control.  

Until next time,
In Christ,
Joy Lynn

P.S.  I must admit that the original idea for this post came from Lysa Ter Keurst who is the author of “Unglued”.  She used 2nd Chronicles to come up with a battle plan for facing the fear of the unknown as well as battles that rage on in our lives. I did my own read of the Scripture and came up with this list personal to me but it was largely inspired by her so proper credit goes to the forerunners. 

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