When I take Jordan to school in the morning, I traverse Eight Mile Rd. About four miles into Eight Mile Rd, there is a pair of railroad tracks. For the first two weeks of this journey to and from school, I flew across those railroad tracks with barely a glance in either direction (they say the faster you go across railroad tracks, the easier it is on your vehicle, right?). Something happened one day recently though that stopped me dead in my tracks… I saw a “stop sign”. For two weeks, I had never seen the “stop signs” on both sides of the tracks… I mean to the point that I wondered when I saw them if they had just been put there that day. My daily trek down Eight Mile Rd has changed and it’s simply because I saw something that had been there all along.
Our pastor is teaching out of II Chronicles 20 and every time I open to this great passage of Scripture, I feel a little chill run up and down my spine. Jehoshaphat’s prayer is powerful in these verses. He was facing a battle with an army far too great for Israel to defeat on their own, so the Bible says that he gathered all of Judah to seek the Lord (even the infants and children were there) and this is what he prayed before all of Judah…
“Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven,<sup class="crossreference" value="(E)”> and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations?<sup class="crossreference" value="(F)”> Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You. 7 Are You not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel<sup class="crossreference" value="(G)”> and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham<sup class="crossreference" value="(H)”> Your friend? 8 They have lived in the land and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name and have said, 9 “If disaster comes on us—sword or judgment, pestilence or famine<sup class="crossreference" value="(I)”>—we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple.<sup class="crossreference" value="(J)”> We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver.”
10 Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir.<sup class="crossreference" value="(K)”> You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them.<sup class="crossreference" value="(L)”> 11 Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will You not judge them?<sup class="crossreference" value="(M)”> For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.<sup class="footnote" value="[c]”>[c]
When I pointed out to my husband my love for the questions Jehoshaphat asks God in this prayer, he noted that at first glance this sounds like arrogance on Jehoshaphat’s part. When you dig a little deeper, however, I believe that the Lord loved answering this prayer for three reasons…
Jehoshaphat KNEW God’s promises
Jehoshaphat BELIEVED God’s promises
God is BOUND by His Word
Jehoshaphat was not challenging God before the people. He was demonstrating great faith in what God had already said and already done. As a result, there was great victory in this battle and they didn’t even have to fight (you can read the whole story in II Chron. 20, and I fully recommend that you do).
Friends, we have to know the promises to believe the promises to watch God fulfill the promises. Just like I was blowing by the stop signs at the railroad tracks, we can be blowing right past the promises of God…never seeing even one fulfilled in our life, because we have never taken time to search the Word and to LISTEN for the confirming voice of the Lord. His Word is there for the taking, for the digesting, for the upholding, for the victory, but if we are in too much of a hurry to be on alert, to watch, to wait, and sometimes to STOP, we will blow right past the very thing that would be our salvation.
So here I sit, waiting for two more approvals before I can get to China, even when the approvals come the Lord will have to provide an astronomical figure of money for us to travel, in a busier season of life than we thought possible and this is what I found myself praying this morning…
Lord, you are BOUND by Your WORD. Are you not the God who promised to bring my daughters from the east and gather my sons from the west? Are you not the God who wrought a great victory over the Moabites and Ammonites for Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel? Are you not the God who plundered the Egyptians to build your tabernacle in the wilderness? Are you not the God who has promised to NEVER leave or forsake your children, but to work everything together for good? Yahweh, Creator of the sun, moon, and stars, Maker of the galaxies, and Lover of my soul, is anything too hard for you. In a million years, I could never make happen with my own hands what you are about to do with Yours. This battle is far too great for us, but our eyes are on YOU.
STAND on those promises, dear friends. STAKE your lives on them. He will be glorified in the end!