Alarmed!

2 Chronicles 20 — let me set the scene, Jehoshaphat is a real God man. He walks with integrity and righteousness and loves the Lord and His statutes. Here, Jehoshaphat finds himself in trouble in the form of Moabites and Amonites. These guys are tribal, fierce and worthy of worry. They know war and they are ready to rage against this king of Judah. But God speaks and makes a promise ‘do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ (2 Chronicles 20:15).

Have you ever found yourself in a battle that God wasn’t in? I have often thought that we fight battles that are not ours. As the people of Israel wandered in the wilderness God moved in order to break them out. Guiding them as only He could, and so they passed through a place called Ezion Geber where the enemy lived and God instructed them not to harass or provoke them to war. (Deuteronomy 2:8-9).

In other words, don’t pick a fight that I’m not in! So many times, we find ourselves engaged in battles we were never supposed to be in. Arguments that required an attacking posture, when what is really needed is a peaceful approach.

We often want to defend God rather than represent Him. We lock in on social media discussions that become debates and look more like choosing sides than showing love. If you find yourself in the middle of a fight best to ask yourself is God on your side?

Back to Jehoshaphat and his pickle. He rises early prepared to trust God and his promise, standing in faith he puts together a worship team charged to sing (if you haven’t caught Norma’s blog titled ‘Sing To Win’ hit the search function, it’s a great read!) They sing, and God sets an ambush and the fight is won while Jehoshaphat collects the spoils of war, letting God win the battle. Such a great story!

But it’s before God fought on their behalf that grabs my attention today. It’s even before God gave them the promise of victory that set-in motion the miracle. 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, ‘after this, the Moabites and the Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “a vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord…’ if you like to write in your bible like I do, underline, highlight, draw stars around that statement, ‘Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord.’

What we do in our fear and uncertainty often determines the path we take, the decisions we make. Like all of us there are times I lean on God and there are times where I go it alone. I fight battles that aren’t mine to fight, I make decisions that aren’t God’s best for me based on what I do when I’m alarmed and afraid.

The greatest part of this story is sometimes we just need to let God fight our battles. Whether that be in our relationships, our work place, in our dreams and desires, as they seem impossible or too far away. In our social media platforms and the forums where we try to defend God rather than be His ambassador.

Before we fight, can we inquire of the Lord, should we make sure our ambitions are biblically motivated so our discussions are based on love? Can we go to God and get His sign off before we commit? Can we leave the fight with Him?

The Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians wrote this ‘do not be anxious about anything but in everything, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving present your requests to God.

Nathan

 

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Say Nothing

In today’s modern day church we find like never before a clash of thinking when it comes to EVANGELISM. What works, what doesn’t? Do we need to take a step back and give the subject and if not, more importantly the process a fresh look? The next generation is divided; today social culture is more and more diverse, culturally and spiritually.

In their insightful and intelligent book ‘UnChristian’ critics of Christianity, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons observe the Mosaic and Buster generation. A journey that highlights a view of Christianity and the Church from the outside; stunning if not at all surprising, it establishes the need for a shift in thinking and our approach.

Significantly, by observation it seems completely evident that the modern day church needs to operate on a new plain than that of the previous movement. In an age where culture changes quickly, at a time where self-expression is freedom and social media is a life line we must adapt and change.

Millard J. Erickson said in reference to a healthy church ‘it is incumbent upon the church to utilize all legitimate means and technologies available today.’ The understanding that a contemporary approach stemming from a creative expression; art, music; leadership; management and influence is essential to a growing, relevant modern day church.

Francis of Assisi said ‘Preach the Gospel … and if absolutely necessary use words!’

Finally, our best approach to evangelism is that modelled by the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). That we would engage in a form of ministry and evangelism that demonstrates our compassion and care by our works, a social concern that motivates us to care about social injustice, by giving to meet a need, by feeding the hungry, bringing hope to the hopeless, by loving those unloved (James 1:27).

By simply adding action to aid, by caring with deeds not empty words, by saying nothing we are doing everything!

Nathan