The proper response to fear

Since I wrote the posting for yesterday, I’ve been notified of at least two more situations where people I love are facing extreme difficulty or threatening health issues and pain.  Frankly, I’m a bit tired of all the bad news and I’ve wondered aloud when the phone would ring to let us hear something positive for a change.

I saw a friend and dear sister in the faith while I was in town earlier today and she mentioned that the same thing is happening in her life.  She commented, “Satan knows he can’t get to me here (pointing to her head), so he’s attacking me here (as she pointed around her).”  I know that can happen.  I also know that God can use anythng He chooses to help us get to where we need to be spiritually…and having this many beloved people in such dire situations has definitely made me draw closer to God in prayer over the past few weeks.

For more years than I can remember, I’ve turned to 2 Chronicles 20 in times of stress and when in need of answers to many of life’s problems.  God seems to delight in reminding me of His greatness through these verses and the margin along the page is covered in dates where He has used this portion of His Word to redirect my focus from my crisis to my Christ.

I had the privilege of doing a short teaching on this chapter a couple of weeks ago and found it, once again, a fabulous reminder of God’s plan for His children.  Since I know that I am not alone in needing this reminder, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about what God has to say in this chapter of the Old Testament…you know, that part of the Bible that some people don’t think it has much relevance for today’s Christian?  (grin)

  • Background:  King Jehoshaphat had done everything right since assuming the throne.  He had prepared his military, took delight in the Lord, removed the places for idol worship and sent out people to instruct the people in the Book of the Law.  John MacArthur says he had “put God’s kingdom in greater spiritual order than at any time since Solomon.”  That is a key point here:  you can’t expect God to make answering your prayers a priority if you aren’t making Him your priority.
  • Verses 1-3 describe the situation–and it was dire…even life-threatening!  The king’s first response the the approaching disaster was quite natural:  fear!  His first action, however, shows that he was well aware of the fact that there are situations where only God can make a difference because  he “set himself to seek the Lord.”
  • Verse 12 is very important.  Oh!  If ever there was a prayer for the scary things we face today it is this one!!  It shows us the proper response to any fear-inducing situation:  in Becky vernacular, he prays,  “O God, we have no power and we don’t have a clue, but our eyes are on YOU!”
  • God’s answer (verses 15-17) didn’t seem to make sense from a human perspective.  Sometimes that’s still the case today.  It doesn’t mean that He’s wrong.  It means He knows things we don’t.  These verses have been beacons of hope for me because I know that nothing can defeat my God, so when He’s fighting my battle for me, it’s as good as over!
  • God’s people made a point to praise Him BEFORE the battle even started.  This is SO important!  Don’t wait until your situation is resolved to remember how great your God is!  Just taking time to praise Him for what He’s already done in your life will do amazing things for your faith–and it may even make the difference you need to see in your current situation.
  • God’s answer for His people in 2 Chronicles 20 was spectacular…and so was His reward for those who served Him!  (Verses 22-25)
  • The people’s response to the victory was even more praise!  That’s pretty important, as well.  Always, always, always keep praising God!  People are watching to see how you handle your Problems AND your Provision—it will make a difference in how they see Him and it will make a difference in how they view you, as well!!!

Naturally, there’s a whole lot more truth to be found in this chapter, but I’m shortening it for this posting on purpose.  I’ll finish with one other favorite portion of this chapter.  It’s found in verse 30:  “Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.”

Me?  I think I’ll just keep praising Him in these storms and waiting for His victory to become evident in the lives of these people I love so much…and, in the meantime, I’m really looking forward to that time when my God gives us “rest all around.”

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