He resolved to inquire of the Lord, thus all the people of Judah came to seek help from the Lord. And Jehoshaphat prayed. His prayer is primarily worship and praise. “You are God in heaven. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are yours. You gave us this land. There is a sanctuary here for your Name.” A lot of praise, and then a little plea for help: “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Jehoshaphat’s words are a fine template for our own. “Lord, I have no power to face the vast army/enemy/challenges that are attacking me. I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on you.” David said the same thing in Psalm 121: “I lift up my eyes to the hills—where does my help come from? My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.” (vv. 1,2) The writer to the Hebrews put it this way: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (12:2a) Paul often used words like these: “Set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” (Colossians 3:1b,2)
Maybe you know what to do, you’ve got a plan, insights to get you moving in the right direction. Then you only need the first part of the prayer, the admission that you need God’s strength, “I have no power to face the vast army/enemy/challenges that are attacking me.” But more likely is the reality that you don’t have a clue, so pray the rest of it, and know that the Almighty God of heaven and earth, King of kings and Lord of lords, hears you and will do what it best. “I do not know what to do, but my eyes are on you.” These words aren’t the last resort. They’re a new beginning.
Messy – no doubt. Chaotic – absolutely. Confusing – utterly. Don’t worry about style points. Get on your knees. Lift up your hearts. Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Back in 850 BC…The Spirit of the Lord came upon the prophet Jahaziel, and he told Judah, Jerusalem and Jehoshaphat, “The battle is not yours, but God’s. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you…Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:15,17).
At this word from God the king and all the people bowed to the ground and some of the temple workers “stood up and praised the Lord … with a very loud voice” (2 Chronicles 20:19). Because of this word of promise from their God the frontline soldiers of Judah went to face the enemy armed only with the song: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
What an incredible lesson in thanksgiving! They gave thanks before receiving the promised victory. And victory was theirs because of the Lord - he caused the enemy to slaughter one another in utter confusion. What the prophet had said was true, "The battle is not yours, but God's.” (v. 16).
Thanksgiving springs, not from blessings received, but from trust in the God who promises these blessings. It’s thanksgiving offered by a heart of faith. Faith sees the unseen, often sees only Jesus, but that is enough.
This strange, crazy season of Covid-19 and the resultant fear and fallout (economic, political, educational, personal, etc., etc.) continue. We’ve got numerous frustrations and few answers. But we have a Savior, upon whom we fix our gaze and trust. And we can give thanks…ahead of time…for the multitude of blessings than continue to flow from our Lord’s gracious hands.
30 Days of Gratitude: #2 – Family, near and far, whether “safer at home” or kept away for now
#3 – Spring is showing itself more and more; outdoor activities will increase
Holy Week Worship online at Trinity is taking shape! There will be worship/sermon videos for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday. Find them all at www.trinityminocqua.org. These service/ sermon videos will usually be posted a day in advance of the actual/usual worship time. During this unique and challenging time, may you find overwhelming blessings in your Holy Week walk with Jesus. Worship texts and themes for Holy Week:
- Maundy Thursday = John 13:1-15, 34 “Our Savior’s Selfless Sacrifice”
- Good Friday = John 3:16 “In the Middle of God’s Love”
- Easter Sunday = Luke 24:34 “Own It! Victorious Faith”
In gratitude to our Savior,
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand