Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Lord's

"Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's." 2 Chronicles 20:15

I love this verse.  Jahaziel prophesied these words to King Jehoshaphat before the Battle of Ziz.  The prophecy is a reminder to us that while we worry, ruminate, wring our hands, complain and generally get "bent out of shape" we would be better off turning things over to God.  Why is this always true?

Remember, God knows the true enemy.  I believe church arguments and many of our political issues rise to an unnatural level of importance because we forget the true enemy and we think we must defeat "those people" on the other side.  I remember a story of a church with a column in the center of the building, way too close to the pulpit.  It had been a distraction for as long as people remembered.  Two factions had battled for years over what to do.  One faction wanted to move the column.  Another faction argued that there was too little money and that they couldn't afford the project.  The battle raged on for decades until the church changed pastors.  The new pastor was young and didn't know any better than to bring up the location of the column (and resurrect the battle).  After receiving ample information and venom from both sides, the pastor (while the church was empty) got a ladder and climbed up to the column.  He found out that the column wasn't even touching the ceiling.  The arguments, lost members, distractions and the "battle" had all been over nothing!  They forgot the enemy and, by their action, invited the enemy into the life of their church.

That battle could have been over before it started if the church had listened to God's way of dealing with church-related conflict.  The battle of Ziz was over before it started.  And the battle in Revelation 19 was won by a 33-year old Jewish preacher who, as God's only son, gave himself up for us so we could be confident that the battle for our eternal soul was won.  Twila Paris writes ... "The battle is the Lord's, and He will conquer all His enemies, with His right hand and His holy arm, He will obtain, He will obtain, He will obtain the victory."  Amen!

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