Moments in the life of a Pastor

Walking with God

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18 Faith Focused on the Father

2 Chronicles 20:20-22 ” As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful. 21 After consulting the people, 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.” 22 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.”

Growing up as a kid my mum had a picture of a kitten barley holding on with these words written across it “Faith isn’t faith until it’s all you are hanging onto” I have often recalled those words as my own faith has taken yet another battering and I struggle to believe what I proclaimed to believe. Is there anything more difficult and yet delightful than faith? In 2 Chronicles we find Jehoshaphat faced with a great foe and yet he chooses to walk by faith instead of fear. Instead of the problems battering His faith they bolster his battle cry: “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God”. He turns the people from the problem to the provider as he teaches them to:

  • Seek the Father’s Face

Jehoshaphat has just been told that there is a vast army coming to destroy him and the people of Judah and he knew that he did not have the power to defeat or deal with such a great army. As we look at Jehoshaphat’s situation we can identify with his plight. Have you ever been in his shoes where all seems hopeless, where the darkness of impending doom and defeat seem to settle in like a deafening silence? In this coming storm Jehoshaphat chose to seek the sanctuary of the Savior and he called the people to follow him to their Father as he called for a national fast. Often when we face fear we chose to focus on self, to make it about me, we forget faith and turn to our feelings.  Jehoshaphat understood that a crisis of faith was an opportunity to turn the focus to the father, that as a leader this was a present not a problem. Today we see the problems and panic, our faith fails because we fail to see God’s gift to us in leadership, nothing will turn hearts to the healer faster than fear. Jehoshaphat was a sincere seeker of the Father, showing his people who to turn to. Fear is an opportunity to show people the father. Jehoshaphat understood that they he and his people had to seek the face of God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” So often in the storm and the struggle we turn inward instead of upward, Jehoshaphat went to the temple to pray and praise the only provider and protected. Faith choses to exalt the Father, not the fear. He acknowledges God for His sovereign power, His wisdom, His kindness and grace given to them by way of Abraham, his descendants, and the land. Jehoshaphat recounts and remembers where they have come from and what God has already done. In this rat race we need to take time out to reflect on the work of our Redeemer, prayer causes us to pause and repositions us and our priories.

  • Stop Bawling and Start Believing

After Jehoshaphat was done praying, the Spirit of God came on a Levite by the name of Jahaziel a prophet not mentioned anywhere else in the Bible. He informed Jehoshaphat that everything was going to be alright, that he should not worry. How many times does God repeat this same message throughout the bible, “Don’t worry, don’t be afraid, don’t be discouraged because of what you see. The question is will we believe? Belief dictates behavior, instead of Jehoshaphat shying away he shows up.  God knew that there was a vast army on the way, it didn’t catch Him by surprise. His message was simple don’t let the numbers frighten you, no matter how big it’s not your battle. Don’t flinch and don’t even buckle I’ve got your back. All that you have to do tomorrow is show up and stand firm, don’t move, don’t fight, don’t run just rest in your mighty Messiah. When we believe that the battle is the Lord’s we become bold, we stop striving in our strength and show up secure in His. Faith holds on knowing it’s in His hands, Faith is not belief without proof, but trust without reservation. Seeking the Savior causes us to showing up. In your battle do you believe?

  • Sing the Song of Victory Before the Battle Begins

Jehoshaphat showed up with his singers in front, he came to see and to sing to his Savior. Believing allowed Jehoshaphat to make a bold move and bring the worship team to watch God wage war. What if we would play our instruments of praise and sing to the Savior instead of stewing on the problems? Seeking the Lord led to showing up and singing His praises, before the battle ever started Jehoshaphat praises His provider for the victory. When you really believe that the battle belongs to the Lord then you believe in victory and you know He has won the war. So often we praise after the provision, holding our singing until after the storm has passed. I want to live like a Jehoshaphat shouting out the victory before the final verdict.

As the vast army began to march against them they sang Psalm 136:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the God of gods, His love endures forever.

Give thanks to the Lord of lords, His love endures forever.

To him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.

As the enemy encircled them they kept right on singing, playing their instruments, and praising God. Their focus was on the Father not the fight, faith knows who wins the war.  Suddenly the enemy soldiers starting fighting and slaughtering each other. The worship team kept singing to God, lifting their song not their sword. Today, when faith seems to be all you have to hang onto, don’t fret or fight, focus on the Father.