When we’re facing a battle too big for us, we need to anchor ourselves in the faithfulness and power of God. Since God has allowed the battle, ultimately the battle is not ours. The battle is the Lord’s.
One of the most stunning chapters where God demonstrates this is 2 Chronicles 20.
This chapter came up in my daily Bible reading when I was dreading the one year mark of Dan’s death, and I was mired in deep despair and grief. I was fighting fear and loneliness, financial issues and parenting struggles. Even the broken lawnmower felt like an enemy.
I needed the powerful reminder in 2 Chronicles 20 that God fights for me. He fights for you, too.
If you’re facing a battle and need reminding of your all-mighty, always faithful God, buckle up to dive into this chapter.
First, let’s look at the overwhelming battle Judah was facing in Chapter 20.
King Jehoshaphat who ruled Judah is regarded as a “good king.” He had worked hard to turn Judah from its idol worship back to God. Yet, despite following hard after God, he suddenly faced an unprovoked war from three neighboring countries who’d allied together to obliterate Judah. In 2 Chronicles 20, Judah becomes surrounded by these enemies.
“Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom. . . it is already in Hazazon Tamar (that is En Gedi).’” (2 Chron 20:2)
How did King Jehoshaphat respond?
He could have grumbled that he was facing a battle when he’d obeyed God, unlike so many other ungodly kings.
He could have rallied his troops, planned a strategic counterattack and reinforced the border.
He could even have panicked.
But he did none of these. Here’s how King Jehoshaphat did respond and what we can learn about facing our own battles.
6 Truths When You’re Facing a Battle
1) Before responding, seek God’s guidance.
“Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.”
Before any plan was made, before he ran to any counselor, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord.
2) Acknowledge that God is in control.
“O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”
The enemies weren’t driving the circumstance. They had no authority over God’s people. No matter how dire our circumstances, God is sovereign.
3) Remember God’s faithfulness and promises.
“O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword or judgment or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’”
Each new trial can cause a new crisis of belief for us. Remembering how God has already worked on our behalf bolsters our faith during trials.
In the heat of the battle, whisper to your soul that God did not take you this far to drop you now.
4) Admit utter dependence on God.
“’For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.’”
Ever been in a place where you had no answer whatsoever and could only look to God?
That’s a place of utter dependence on God. Don’t miss that God — acting in perfect love — had allowed Judah to get to a place of utter dependence on him.
Why? Maybe because when we are utterly dependent on God, we learn to trust him more than ever. And with our eyes on God, we see him more than ever as well. That’s where we find Judah.
“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.’”
God allowed Judah to come face-to-face with a battle too hard for them and then revealed this foundational truth. Though specifically spoken to Judah, it’s a Biblical principle that applies to all of God’s children.
Praise God. We could stop right here and have meat enough to feed on for days. But let’s keep going because what God does next is jaw-dropping.
“Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the LORD will be with you.”
The battle was the Lord’s but they didn’t get to stay home in bed.
In faith, Judah had to march out, take up positions and stand firm before seeing how God would deliver beyond their wildest imagination.
5) Worship the Lord.
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.”
What had changed? The dark clouds of a gathering enemy still loomed, but Israel had traded fear for faith, ushering in praise.
6) Thank God for His goodness before the rescue.
“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. . . Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.’”
God is Love and no circumstance that will ever exist on this good earth will change that. Can you even imagine how fragrant the thanks and praise offered in that hour was to God? Oh, to be men and women who know and declare that God is good before we ever catch the first glimpse of deliverance.
Now let this next portion play like a movie reel as the scene unfolds.
“As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.”
Can you picture the men of Judah marching in formation, the echo of praise streaming from the front, the rush of adrenaline coursing through their bodies, cresting the hill that would bring them face to face with their enemy and then seeing instead the vast valley littered with fallen bodies of every single enemy soldier?
Surely they were stunned. Astounded. Gape-jawed. And taking in the scene, overcome at the rock-solid confirmation that the battle is indeed the Lord’s.
The battle was God’s. Their role had been to obey and praise.
But that’s not the end of the story:
“So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder . . . more than they could carry away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.”
Oh friend, don’t chalk this up to a good Bible story without applying these truths to your own battles.
Trials and suffering, hard as they are, can be plundered for great value. Right in the middle of suffering, if we will trust God and look to him, he has lessons and good we can plunder from our enemy.
It’s straight up hard to stay sitting down when THIS is the God we serve.
Are you in a battle right now? You don’t have to have the all the answers. Look to God and watch him fight for you.
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Suzie Eller says
Your children are beautiful!
This ministered to me! Thanks for sharing.
Joann Robinson says
Your mother is my dear cousin. when I first saw your picture I was struck by how much you resemble her.
My husband passed away at age 44 (I was 43) the Lord gave His grace through all these years and enabled
me to carry on with two boys…ages eleven and eighteen. I found my strength on my face before Him. He
has taught me how to live and grow in Him all these years. I’ve heard lots about you and your family through the years. may you continue to walk with our Lord. be blessed in His name. loved having Gen and Ivan all those years as they stayed here several days at a time traveling on up North.
Lisa Appelo says
Wow, Joanne, it’s so good to hear from you! Thank you for sharing about your deep loss and your testimony that God has taken care of you. I’ve always heard about you as well and I so appreciate you connecting here. Can’t wait to share with my mom. ?
Great message and your children are adorable.
vicky kingsley says
thank you for the reminder
, i am struggling to allow myself to be loved .
How do I build my belief that God does care?
I will take this scripture to heart
and read it every day. Bless you .
Lisa Appelo says
Vicky, I think the best way to build up our faith is get in the Bible every day. If I don’t do that, my thoughts will soon take over. Stay tuned as we’ll talk about that.
Kathy Emeigh says
Isn’t God amazing? I realize you posted this in July, and here it is January 2016 and the Lord is still working through you to touch folks’ lives. My battle is definitely a spiritual one… And I won’t go into it because the details really aren’t that important. The most important part is that I was blessed and encouraged and strengthened and established to go on… Trust God… And anticipate His intervention and the victory!
Thank you my friend, for your faithfulness…
Thank you so much for this blessed encouragement. Awake near 3 a.m. looking for scriptures of God’s direction and guidance for a coaching concern. The scripture will be studied and your words re-read. Thank you much . God bless you and yours.
Jenny Connell says
Lisa thank you for sharing these truths…”We don’t know what to do but our eyes are upon you.” Yes, they are ever are upon you Jesus. This scripture speaks to me today. I haven’t lost my husband to death but I feel like I am losing him to something else day by day. I am fighting a spiritual battle as I write for Jesus and its so hard. I really enjoy how you broke the scripture into chunks and let the scripture do the telling of the story. So many times I read others blogs and they will only add one verse or two and extrapolate on that. Girl, you just dug in and preached! I love it.I hope your speaking because you have a wonderful message of hope! From this writer to another, I needed to hear your words today, and it did my heart good! Thank you and God bless. I’m, gonna pray for you right now that the hurt will lessen. I can’t pretend to understand but I am gonna pray anyway.
Crystal S. Hornback says
Oh, this is GOOD STUFF, girl!!!! #livefreeThursday
Lisa Appelo says
It’s a powerful story, Crystal!
Debra Reeves says
I stumbled onto your blog, Really God led me. I was searching for this verse to put as a screen saver on my phone. I’m the Mother of a thirty-five year old herion addict, her name is Sara, she has a seven year old daughter named Elliot. Sara is a believer and Elliot accepted Jesus two weeks before we found out,God is so amazing! She has a week left in her second rehab. This time she’s going to go into a sober living house. Your story gave me such hope, thank you for sharing your story and your beautiful kids. I know God has a plan for my babies and reading this makes the Bible come alive . Thank you so much.
Lisa Appelo says
Debra, I am praying for Sara & Elliot as I write this. What a hard road, but all things are possible with God.
Thank you. I’m often told what a blessing I am and what a beautiful testament my life is. How odd when I feel so completely broken and thankful each day that God has given me just enough strength to face that day’s challenges. It is tremendously comforting to know that when I am completely alone with the Lord in prayer (at times literally prostrate on the floor) feeling overwhelmed and unworthy that I am not alone. Lisa you serve as a powerful reminder that are walking the same walk.
~ linda says
“Utter dependence” … gratitude… and so much more opens us up to the power of God. This is a special chapter and one filled with powerful teaching. Oh, that I would pay attention and remember. Thank you, thank you. I also love the sequence of photos of your children. It tells so much in going from uncertainty, maybe even fear, to reliance, to release and know that all is well.
Kristi Woods says
Hi Lisa. 🙂 Girl, I’m glad I popped in here to day via #livefreeThursday. These words of yours are resounding reassurance to keep eyes on Him in the midst of the battle. So.so.good considering the battle at hand. xo
Thank you for doing the blogs .I look forward to read them and they are.a blessing.like those pic of them.you have a precious family
Shiny Suresh says
This is the promise I am holding on to this year- the battle is the Lord’s. I will only have to be still. Thanks for sharing. Blessed by it.