After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.) Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news …2 Chronicles 20:1-3
The most beautiful aspect of this chapter is the people’s response to an enemy and God’s intervention on their behalf. I believe this passage teaches us about God’s character and what moves God to action.
We have three enemies of our soul. First, we live in a culture that values things that are contrary to the way of Jesus. John, the apostle, says it like this:
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.1 John 2:15-17
The second enemy of our souls is Satan. Jesus said that the enemy is here to steal, kill and destroy. Peter compares him to a roaring lion:
Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.1 Peter 5:8-9
The third enemy of our souls is our own tendency to wander away. There is an old song that says it like this:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
Scripture agrees as Paul writes that the good he wants to do he doesn’t do, but it is the things he doesn’t want to do that he finds himself doing. (Romans 7:21-23)
Jehosphaphat faced three enemy armies coming together to conquer the kingdom of Judah. And his response is one we are quite familiar with: he “was terrified by this news!”
What enemies are coming togther to attack you? Perhaps you are familiar with the words of Psalm 91 where the psalmist writes “For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.” Is your enemy “the disease that stalks in darkness…the disaster that strikes at midday?”
Are you terrified by the news? Do you feel as if all the armies of the world are gathered together to destroy you? What has your response been? Is that working for you?
Come together this week to explore other ways of responding to the news. We have not been forgotten or forsaken. We are in his hands.
Begin a list of 19 things for which you are grateful. Counteract fear with gratitude.