Encouragement:
When Life seem to be falling apart and you do not Know what the future holds by Pastor Zachary Nyhuis

Creator God we give thanks for this incredible day.  We give thanks for the crops and for the rain.  And I just pray as I teach today that you would remind me of the things that I have prepared to say.  That I may have your grace while speaking them and I pray for every person who is here open our hearts and shut off the noise of the decisions we have to make and the challenges we have, enough to have you able to speak into our lives.  I would be so grateful if you would be pleased to work through Your Word and my voice to give direction and guidance this day.  So we ask this, trusting that you hear us, and that you desire to speak to your children.  We give thanks for this and for all things.  In Jesus Name Amen

So here is a question today: What do you do when you don’t know what to do?  What do you do when you don’t know what to do?  I was in a conversation with a friend a few months ago with a friend and he talked about his father’s death.  My friend was 24/25 years old and his father who died was in his 50’s and died of a massive heart attack.  His dad had been the rock of the family, the anchor, with an incredible business mind - Just a stabilizing force.  My friend gets this call that his dad has died and all of a sudden he finds himself driving downtown to identify the body at a hospital.  And he remembers that place he was on the freeway when it hit him that he was now alone.  That he didn’t have his dad anymore in his life.  What do you do when you don’t know what to do? 

A guy walks into the dining room after work and says, “It happened.”    --His wife says, “What happened?”  --He says, “We were bought out today.”  I mean, there had been rumors for months, for the last year and a half, and bank mergers.  He has live through bank mergers before, and he had climbed from being a loan officer to being a bank manager of a branch, and now he had been eyeing a vice-president position because of his seniority and expertise there, but now they have been bought out by another bank.  –She goes, “What does this mean?”  --He goes, “I don’t know.”  He says the branch that just bought us out they have another branch almost right across the street, and I can’t imagine that they would keep both of us open. –She says, “What does this mean?”  --“I don’t know?”  He says.  “I probably can’t stay a branch manager, but I probably could stay on as a loan officer.”  --She says, “Financially what does that mean?”—He goes, “I don’t know?”  “I guess over the next few weeks, I will find out if I still have a job, and what that job is.”  They are standing there in the dining room.  So tell me, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? 

A couple is driving away from the hospital, and they knew that there would be some unexpected things as they expected their first child, and they bought the crib, got the nursery ready, but they were not expecting their child to born 5 weeks ahead of time and that their daughter would weight 3 ½ pounds, and enter this world in neonatal intensive care.  They didn’t imagine climbing in the car and driving away without their child and having to do trips, back and forth/back and forth/back and forth to the hospital.  His wife sobs all the way home.  Financially, he has no clue what insurance is going to cover and what it is not going to cover.  He doesn’t know how to plan out his life nor how well to support his wife,, “Do I take off the next two weeks of work, or do I try to work and handle this with it?” What do you do when you don’t know what to do? 

Sometimes it’s not this huge monster challenge that presents itself.  Sometimes it’s a bunch of little ones that dog pile.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  You’ve got a car in the shop, and there are deadlines at work, and there are projects that have got to get done for a client or a company that you work for.  There is a falling out with the in-laws.  And then there is this toothache, a toothache.  None of these things are huge, but together they are huge.  You go, “Man I would rather just have to deal with an attacking bear that swat at all of these biting flies.”  And you start to lose your objectivity and you begin to shut down a little bit.  So, what do you do when you don’t know what to do? 

Now listen if you are listening to this today and it is kinda like, “Dude, I am so not there.” ---Your day will come.  Maybe not in this next month,  maybe not in this next six months, but the day will come when you find yourself, beyond your ability, beyond your power to deal with the situation that you are facing. 

Now in this series called The Undivided Heart, we are in week two of a King by the name of Jehosaphat.  Coolest name in the Bible and Jehoshaphat is a good king.  He has been leading his people well.  He has been leading his people with an undivided heart.  And what that meant through Jehosaphat’s early reign is this: that there was is propensity to break the first commandments that their God had given—Have no other gods before me.  And don’t make statues and bow to them.  And, we read that Jehosaphat in his early reign broke down the alters to the regional god called Baal.  The rain god/ the fertility god, and chopped down these poles called Asherah Poles to this over sexualized fertility goddess.   He is leading their people to have an undivided heart toward their God, but all of a sudden he experienced something beyond his control, beyond his ability.  Jehosaphat, what do you do when you don’t know what to do?  It happens in 2 Chronicles, Chapter twenty, and Verse two.  And we put some of these verses on your bulletin, so that you can follow along and if you don’t have a copy of the scriptures with you.                      2 Chronicles 20:2 here is the crisis, “Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi). Jehosaphat is sitting on his throne one day, or he is walking through his palace, or he is out on a balcony, and all of a sudden he has some currier’s, some advisors, some messengers rush in and they are going,  “We are being attacked!”  There is a vast army and they are one the other side of the sea.  The other side of the sea is not the Mediterranean Sea to the west; it is the Dead Sea to the east.  Quick geographic orientation on the map of what you would see here-there were three different people groups on the other side of the Dead Sea and then (unsure what he says) you see what is far to the North?  It is the country of…?  Ammon, and then in the middle there is Moab, and then there is the southern Edom.  Jehosaphat is in Judah.  You would read in Verse One that there were peoples from each of these three groups that were about to invade Israel.    Next slide just shows where they were.  En Gedi, was on the other side of the Dead Sea.  They are in Jehosaphat’s back yard.  We are about to be attacked from a trio of peoples coming into our country.  Now there were different types of wars in the Old Testament.    There were different types of invaders.    Some countries like later, like the Babylonian Empire, their goal was to like subjugate.  That is the Babylonian Army would be growing in strength and they would Emissaries to Israel and they would say, “Look, we want you to submit to us.   Bow and kiss the ring.  You will pay us taxes.  I few go to war against Egypt, you’re going will us.  If you comply your cities will be intact and we will not ruin your crops nor lay your land waste.   Do you bow or-- No” The goal was to subjugate, ‘this my’ friends is totally different.  These three groups do not send their emissaries to say we want your land, thank you very much.  They are going to come in and steal your cattle, and they are going to haul your sons and daughters back to their land as their slaves.  This was a massive raiding party.  Just picture the old time western.  You know the Texas Mexican Western, were the bandits ride into town and shoot the town up. Imagine that but with hundreds of thousands of people.  And if what you were thinking is over my dead body, they would be willing to arrange that.  And so Jehosaphat gets word that right down by the Dead Sea this group is ready to come up through a gap and just lay the land.  Just waste the land.  And he does not know what to do.  He is in over his head.  So Jehosaphat, What do you do when you don’t know what to do?  Verses Three and Four are instructive and they give us an idea of what is going to happen here.  It says, “Alarmed, Jehosaphat…”  What?  What is the next word here?  Resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.  Ok no food.  Serious moment, we are going to seek God here.  And then the next verse, verse four it says, “The people of Judah came together. (They flood into Jerusalem) to seek help from the Lord.  Indeed they came from every town in Judah to seek help.  All these people just start flooding into Jerusalem.  But for a purpose, It says they came together to seek the Lord.  Now if i had to summarize verses three and four into two words, what happens here is that they … Ready? ...They trust God.  They trust God.  It says, Jehosaphat in over his head, resolved to inquire of the Lord and the people come in to help seek the help of the Lord.  In this calamity when they don’t know what to do, they trust God.  Which is annoying advice, if anybody ever tells you to do that in the middle of a mess?  I’m serious if you are explaining some complex difficult situation to someone, and they say, “Well you just need to trust the Lord here.”  You are like…”Thank You.”  And some of you go, “Like what does that mean.  I mean, “trust the Lord” What do I do?”  You know?

It may seem like an over spiritualized platitude, but sometimes it comes from a very sincere spiritually advanced person who you trust and they say, “Listen you really need to trust the Lord with this.”  And you go like, “Thanks, but that’s like no help,” anybody with me on this one?  You’re saying, “Yeah, Ok, but what do I do now?” Now, as we go through the Jehosaphat story I believe that we are going to get some clues as to what it means to trust God in difficult situations.  If you are in the position where you are going, “You know when someone tells me to trust God; I don’t even know what they are talking about.”  I hope you will have a better clue after we investigate this story together today.  Now there are going to be four different activities that Jehosaphat participates in here which describe some of those activities that are involved in trusting God - Alright?  This is not an exhausting list.  Understand I am not saying, “These are the four things you do to trust the Lord.”  No, these are four of the things, because we are just going to isolate ourselves to this guys experience and this guy’s story.   So of the good things that you could do these are four of them - Alright?  And the first we have already hinted on.  You Chose.  Activity number one—you chose.  Did you see that in verse three?  It says, “Alarmed Jehosaphat…” He did what?  He resolved to inquire of the Lord.  There is a choice of the heart to invite God into the mess.  Trusting God is something you chose and you choose it among other choices that present themselves.  That is when you chose to trust God when you don’t know what to do, you are un-choosing other behaviors.  So the question is:  When things start to fall apart where is it that your heart naturally and normally goes?  Any of you just find yourself getting angry at it?

“I can’t believe this.  I can’t believe this happened again.  I can’t believe…why does this always happen to us?”  And you just find yourself starting to simmer and starting to stew.  I am telling you, when a woman pulls her car over into the parking lot. and she just sits there in the parking lot of the store and says, “Ok God, this is out of my control and I don’t know what to do, I chose to trust you here.”  In the process of choosing, she is un-choosing simmering anger in this situation.  Even if that anger does not seem to have any kind of object, that it’s pointed toward, anger at it, anger at life, anger at the cosmos, and anger at God.  The process of choosing is also the process of un-choosing. 

Some of us would confess, when things happen that are out of our control, we rush into a flurry of activity - any activity.  “I am going to call friends.  I am going to make meals. I’m gonna…I’m gonna…I’m gonna …gonna, gonna…”  Because things are out of our control, so at least we try to find thing that are in our control that we can do.  I’m telling you that when you pull the car over and when you sit there and you silence your heart, and you say, “God I want to invite you into this mess, I don’t know what to do.  I want to chose to trust you here”    You are un-choosing something. 

And quite frankly, some of us, our tendency is to numb out to go passive, to go fetal.  To sit there with a remote control and just change channels on mindless television.  When things start to happen that are out of our control, what happens is, we start to shut down.  And when you chose to trust God in a situation, you are un-choosing passivity.  Because the temptation is to numb out, check out, or zone out.  Saying God I need you in this situation, I don’t know what to do next and I don’t necessarily know how to respond.  I want to invite you into this as my guide.  I need to trust you here.  The activity of doing that, may prevent you from zoning out and going passive;  And so this is so powerful because when Jehosaphat resolves to inquire of the Lord, when we chose to invite God into our mess, we are un-choosing some other activity.  That is just the first activity that he chose.  And the people come to Jerusalem.  They come to Jerusalem and I want to show you just an image here of the temple.  This had been built by Solomon.  He was Jehosaphat’s great-great-great-great grandfather.  I mean Solomon, then his son Rehoboam, Rehoboam’s son Abijah, then Abijah’s son Asa, and Jehosaphat was the son of Asa.  So this temple had been built by Jehosaphat’s great-great-great-great grandfather and in addition to the temple proper, there were courtyards.  And these people streaming into Jerusalem, they mass into courtyards.  And Jehosaphat stands up and it is a very powerful thing, because I would expect him just to give a ‘Brave hearted’ speech here - Right? And what he does is that he stands up and he prays basically representing the peoples fear to God and what you see starting in verse six is Jehosaphat prayer, which says,“ O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.  (he prays on behalf of the people.)

The Second critical word here and activity is –Remember.   It’s the word “Remember”.  Where are they?  I want you to notice not just simply that Jehosaphat prays, I want you to know where he prays.  What physical structure are they in proximity to? - The temple in Jerusalem.  Now it had courtyards, but a closer image here it show you the temple proper.  There is this room called the holy place that only like the priest were able to go, and then the very, very back room---Does anyone know what that very back room was called?  It is called the what? - Holy of Holies.  Do you know what was in the Holy of Holies? -   This box right here.  Called?  If anyone has seen Indiana Jones—you don’t have to have Bible background to know what this is - The Ark of the Covenant.  The Ark of the Covenant—Ark means “box” and covenant means “binding agreement”.   It was the box of the binding agreement.  Do you know what was in the Ark of the Covenant?  It was the Ten Commandments.  Commandment #1 –Have no other gods before me.  Commandment #2 –Please don’t make statues like cows and goats and bow down to them, and say I’m it, it’s insulting.  Commandment #3--Don’t misuse my name, and take my name in vain.  Don’t misuse my name like that.  Honor rest.  Honor Marriage.  Don’t steal stuff that’s not yours.  Don’t say your neighbors did stuff that they didn’t.  Don’t kill each other.  The covenant was, was their Creator God which said, “You will be my people, and I will be your God.”  It was like a marriage ceremony, “I will be your husband and you will be my wife.” ---, “I will be your wife and you will be my husband.”  “You will be my people.” --- “You will be my God.”  They take the Ten Commandments and they put it in the most Holy Sacred place which represented the presents of God, which represented the portal to the other world.  My friends they are facing the temple as they pray.  This is why we are using the word remember, because what Jehosaphat does in praying toward the Holy of Holies, toward the Ark of the Covenant, toward the box of the binding agreement, he says, “We remember who you are, We remember who we are, and we remember the thing we have going together. You are our God; we are ‘Your people’.”  And you are saying, “Thanks, but Zach we don’t have the Temple in Jerusalem anymore, it got demolished, and the Dome of the Rock is there now.  And we do not have the ark of the covenant—According to Indiana Jones it is in a big warehouse somewhere in a box—So…that was their covenant” The night that Jesus is going to get arrested He is in a room upstairs with His disciples and He takes flat bread and breaks it and He tells each of His disciples to eat from the flat bread that He has broke.  He takes a glass of wine and He passes it around the room and He says, “Look each of you, drink from this.”  And as they drink from this wine glass together He says to them, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be poured out for many” This is a new deal.  “Through the blood that will spill out of my body on the cross- It can make peace between you and Creator God.  This is a brand New Covenant.”  A disciple by the name of John follows Jesus around for 3 years and then after the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus, John becomes a leader in this growing Jesus Movement.  He writes letters to the first generations of Jesus Followers.  In your Bible these are known as 1, 2, and 3 John.  Look at this - 1 John 3:1, indulge me by reading it out loud with me, “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”  John who was a fisherman, who got called from his fishing boat to follow Jesus around for three years witnesses the crucifixion and witnesses a resurrected Christ, later write to the first group of Jesus followers and say, “Hey, what love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called—What?—Children of God and that is what we are.”  So how do you trust God, I mean what does that even mean?  It means that you Remember.  It means that you remember who you are.  Pull over in an empty parking space and remember that you are God’s cherished daughter.  You are His cherished and adored daughter, because of what Jesus did for you on the cross.  You are God’s treasured son.  Guy you are the son that he loves and adores.  You are the daughter that he treasures.  He treasures you/cherishes you.  Now I don’t know about you, but I can forget that when I find myself in a tornado of a mess.  Just stop and quiet your heart and say, “I chose, God, to invite you into trust, remind me who I am.  Remind me what we have going here. ” Jesus’ disciples came to Him and they said, “Look, will you teach us how to pray?”  And He says, “Ok, when you pray, pray like this,-- and He began by saying, “Our Father” (My friends it is a tender relationship)  And I know some of you came from messed up homes;  And understanding God as your Father that just messes with you.  Think of the Father that you wish you had, had.  Or guys think about the Father that you desire someday to be.  He adores you and treasures you—Remember-- remember who you are.  It is the second activity. 

Now this is a sobering moment.  I just need you to remember please--that there is a raiding party of just thousands and thousands of people and they waiting to just strip your land and they are in your back yard basically.   Remember that as we are just reading this story.  People are just at the temple and what happens is just very, very sobering.  Jehoshaphat finishes his prayer,--Verse Twelve, “O our God, will you not judge them? For 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."  This is humble.  Here’s the King.  Here is your King in his royal robes and he’s going, “We don’t know what to do.  We do not know what to do here, but our…(But our What?)  But our eyes are on you.”  That is powerful. 

Maybe that one sentence is why you needed to be here today.  “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. “  I had a friend and he used to say it this way, “Hey Listen, when something happens really nasty, you have a decision to make do you glance at God and then gaze at your problem.  Or do you glance at you problem and gaze at God?”  When Jehoshaphat says, “We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”--It is like God has captured his imagination.  The Power of God has captured his heart.  It’s captured his mind.  And he says, “God our eyes…We are just waiting.  And we don’t know how you will intervene but we are just waiting on you. ” Verse Thirteen I think is the most sobering verse in this section.  “All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.”  This courtyard is not just filled with men.  You’ve got people holding their babies.  You’ve got guys with their 3 year old son and their 7 year old daughter.  And it says, “They just stood there.”  They just stood there.  And Jehoshaphat’s looking out over his peoples and some of them were able to fight, but some of them were just totally vulnerable.  And he is the king and he is supposed to know what to do.  And he says, “God, We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”  And the people stand there with their grandparents, and with their babies, and with their kids, and with their husbands and wives, and they just stand there in the presence of the Lord.  And all of a sudden a guy starts to yell, “His name is Jahaziel.  Jahaziel  a prophet.  It says, “A Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel” and would have had to lift his voice, because when it says yell, he would have had to get people’s attention. Listen to what He says here, Verse 15, it says, “He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God's.”   Jahaziel says, “Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.”  By the way, I have heard, I have not actually counted myself, but I’ve heard that this is the most frequent command in the Bible.  “Do not be afraid.”  I have heard from someone who counted, apparently, 365 times this command is in the Bible—highlight them on your own time.  It is like one command for every day of year.  It’s like for every day of trouble, do not be afraid.  “Do not be afraid.”  “Do not be afraid.”  “Do not be afraid.”  And I am telling you something those people they were scared.  He says, “Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.”  You are saying, “Ok, what does it mean to trust God?”  I hear people say this, they say, “Trust the Lord. “—“I don’t even know what to do with that.”  You chose.  You remember. 

The Third Activity is –You ListenYou Listen.  Jahaziel , he is standing up with a group and he says, “Listen Jehoshaphat –listen you people of Jerusalem! Do not be afraid or discouraged.”   Could it be that in your moment of ciaos…could it be that would be pleased to send an encourager into your life?  Someone who sees the situation, who knows you and just goes, “Look Dude, You are a good man, and you are a good dad and you are going to make it through this.”  Listen to that voice. 

When someone enters into your life and they say, “Hey Listen, I just feel compelled to tell you-- This is just an absolute mess, but God is going to be good to you here, and God is faithful.”  Listen to that voice. 

I have a question here:  What if our God sends encouraging words into our life and we beat it away with a stick?  Can I say something very delicately? Sometimes we like to wallow.  A voice comes into our life and says, “Be encouraged.”  And we go, “Excuse me, I have a right to my self-pity. I have a right to my discouragement.  Would you just leave off with the encouragement thing---I like the attention.”  Sometimes we like to wallow.  I just submit to you, sometimes a voice of encouragement comes into our life and says, “Hey listen - you be encouraged. You be encouraged.  God will be faithful to you and He will sustain you whatever is ahead.”    And we ignore it.  I think the third component of this story---Of people, who are trying to be people of trust when ciaos breaks out, is that they learn to listen; they learn to listen to the encouragement that comes into their life.

By the way, a bunch of us in this room struggle from time to time with the issue of depression.  One of the demons of depression is that when we most need other people around us, we tend to just other people out.  I don’t know if any of you experience this, but you start to spiral into a depression and you start to cocoon.  You say, “I don’t want to go anywhere, I don’t want to be with people I just want to be alone.”  It is like the worst time in the world to be alone, and we want to be alone.    And you have to go counter-intuitively, “I must not simply burrow into myself like a turtle that pulls its arms and legs under a hard shell.”  This is spiritual community.  These people are together.  And a prophet speaks into their lives.  I plead with you---Isolation can be crippling.  And it can feel right.  And it can further, as we shut the outside voices out of our lives.  My friend this is one of the most beautiful things about Christian community is that we allow the people of faith to look into your situation and to speak into your situation.  “You be faithful here.  You trust God here.  I don’t know where this is going to land, and it may be awful, but God will be good to you.  He will bring you through this.  And He is at work even in this,” And if you go - “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.”  You are choosing in that moment not to be a person of trust because you are pushing out the very voices that God is sending into your life to re-courage you.  To (En) Courage — to fill you with courage when your courage is shot.  “Listen to that voice.  This prophet stands up in this temple.  Everyone is standing up and he yells - “Jehoshaphat; hear the word of the Lord, Do not be afraid, Do not be discouraged.  People do not be afraid, do not be discouraged.  This is not even your fight.  The third activity is that of listening. 

The fourth activity from the passage of scripture is the activity of Worship, which sounds strange at his part of the story. The passage says, “Jehoshaphat” He does what?  “He bowed down, with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.”  Get this, this is graphic—they are here with their kids, and their grandparents, they’ve got their babies, and their children.  And Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, it says that he bows down with his face to the ground and all over the temple courtyard people of Judah do the same thing.  It was just like they were saying, “God we are yours.”  Here we are--We are yours.”   The word worship means “to bow”.  It means to bow the heart before God.  It’s like what you do in the presence of a King.   And all of a sudden, some people stand up.  And these people are coordinated.  It says, “Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”  I think what they did is choral and I think it was articulate.  I don’t think they just said the cliché’, “Praise the Lord” No- “Praise the Lord.”Praise the LORD; for his love endures forever.”  Perhaps they chose a Psalm that they all knew.  And one guy, their leader starts it and they all in a loud voice chant this or sing this together.  Now here is the most remarkable thing.  They praise before resolution comes to this situation.    They still have a problem.  They still have a situation.  The trio of armies is still camped right down by the Red Sea and yet they stand up and in advance they praise God.  My friends, this is one of the most powerful things you can ever do in a difficult situation, is begin to offer a heart of praise to God before you find resolution to your difficulty .  And sometimes you can just do this in your car when you are all alone—with your windows rolled up and the sun roof closed—just saying.  Now I have seen people watch movies, text, and apply make-up on their way to work all at the same time.  Singing is simply, not that weird - the old songs or the new songs.  To be in the middle of a mess and somehow God opens your heart o sing “Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host (That’s the angels); Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. “ 

“God I praise you even in the middle of this mess, because I know you are with me.  I know you will strengthen me.  I know you will guide me even though I have no clue where this is going” We sing a song, “Blessed be your name.”  And there is one line in that song that goes, “You give and take away. You give and take away. My heart will choose to say -, blessed be your name.”  Borrow that song when you travel through craziness.  “I chose to say, God may your name be blessed when you give and you take away.   And this looks like one of those times when you are choosing to take away, ---God, Blessed be your name.  Blessed be your name” There is a song we sing, “In Christ Alone.”  And it says, “No power of hell, no scheme of man could ever pluck me from His hand.”   Man, Use that on your own.  “No power of hell, no scheme of man …nothing can rip me from your care in this terrible mess.    Reach back—“On Christ the solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.” All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand.  “God, You are the only foundation I’ve got. “  The fact that these eyes stand up and worship is incredible.  The fact that they worship before resolution-- is powerful--It’s hopeful.  And so you are going through this mess and someone just goes, “Hey listen, I just hope that you lean to just trust the Lord.”  And you are going, “What does that mean?”  We got some clues.  We get some clues.  It’s a choice.  It means we remember who we are, we remember who God is.  It means we listen to some voices of encouragement that God send into our live.  It means we have a heart of praise even before we exit the mess.  

The next morning they wake up and they prepare for battle.  Verse Twenty, “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 And they put these singers at the head of the army (as they are going into the war), saying:  "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever."”  Now understand, I don’t know where your cavalry is, or where your archers are, and then where your infantry is…but they’ve got the choir in front.  This is not as abnormal as it sounds.  I mean for millennia’s--groups of soldiers did this—Civil war—you had a drummer, you had fife players to get people marching in formation.  I mean the Scotts going in with bagpipes to keep everybody moving together.  And so it is martial music.  Military music is not unheard of.  But they are in front and they are singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, His love endures forever.  His love endures forever.  “  As they are singing, --Now remember they are being attacked by a trio of tribes, who were not really friendly on any other occasion—Verse Twenty Three, It says, “ The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. “  The base camp of the attacking army goes to war against itself-- two people groups against the third—“After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.”  Now what happens as you read this story is that the men of Israel come down over the pass. And they look down and see there is like these tents and these dead bodies like all over the place.  When the prophet had said, “This isn’t even your fight.  This battle is the Lords.”  Literally that is what has happened.  And right about now, some of you are saying,  “Ok, Zach what you are telling me is:  If I Chose to trust God, If I remember who I am, If I listen to the voices around me, and I worship—then my problem will evaporate like theirs did.” 

No.  The truth is, “I don’t know.  That is what happened to them, but I don’t know what will happen to you.  I don’t “They didn’t have to fight.  You might.  I do know this:  You need to be a person of trust and you need to be a person of faith and you need to receive God’s grace no matter which way this goes. 

Listen here at Gowen Bible Church we have prayed for people who have been terribly ill—Cancer or other diseases and in many situations they have later received a clean bill of health and in some situations they have continued to decline.  Here at Gowen Bible we’ve prayed for people, whose business is spiraling, spiraling, spiraling down in fear that they are going to lose the business and we’ve prayed for people and we’ve seen those businesses come back to life and we’ve seen others sink and go down for the count and both have happened as we have prayed for people.  Someone has a runaway spouse.  And we have prayed for this person that God would bring them back to their family and back to their marriage.  And in many cases we have seen healing within marriages that we can only call a miracle from God and in other situations the person just continues to run.  Know this I need God’s grace and I need to be a person of trust whatever direction this goes.  See what I am saying here.  If I were to get cancer, I would immediately ask God and ask you to pray for my total and complete healing.  It would be like, if someone came to me and said, “I will pray for you.”  I would respond, “No I want you to pray over me, and I want you to pray now!”  You know?  Dump oil…Whatever it took.  I would ask God for complete and utter healing.  If at some point it seemed that I was not receiving God’s healing grace and I continued to decline, and continued to decline, I may say , “Ok God, If I don’t get your healing grace, maybe I want your dying grace. God give me the grace to be kind and patient with the people around me when I don’t feel very good and I’m totally self-focused and self-centered.  God give me the grace to make phone calls to people that I alienated 15 years ago and I hurt and we never apologized.  And God if this is my last year I need your grace to close out those accounts.”  The most beautiful season for leaves in this state is in autumn, right before they drop, “God would you be so pleased as to make my final season to be the most beautiful season of my life.”    What I am saying here is:  I need to be a person of grace.  And I need God’s grace either way.  I need to become a person of trust either way.  I need God to intervene either way.  Whether your husband or wife comes back or whether they don’t come back.  In this trust thing—WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT GOD WILL DO, We do know THAT WE NEED HIM.  Whatever happens!  It takes them three days to carry the loot form the attackers tents back up.    And then Jehoshaphat leads people back to Jerusalem.   “Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem (Where did they go?) to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets.”  They come back to the temple, back to that building representing the presence of God, back to that room with the Ark of the Covenant, representing “I will be your God and you will be my people”.  And worship continues.  For me the amazing part of this story isn’t that they come to the temple and worship God after the problem is gone---The amazing part of this story is that they were praising and worshiping while the jury was still out.  The surprising thing to me wasn’t that they were able to sing, “God you’re good, God you’re great” after the armies were defeated.  The remarkable thing to me is that these guys stand up and they sing of God’s goodness while they are still in the middle of a mess. 

Look I don’t know what you are going through today and it could be that it is smooth sailing, but next month, next year, you are going to get hammered with something.  And God is going to say, “I need you to trust me.  I need you to trust me. I need you to trust me.”    And you go, “I don’t know what that means?”  My friend it involves a choice.  And in choosing trust you will UN-choose some other things.  It means remembering who you are--- “God’s cherished Daughter/ God’s treasured Son.”  You remember what you have because of the cross.  It means you listen, because God may be sending some voices that are not yours that say, “Do not be run by anxiety.  Do not depress out here.  Do not cocoon here.  Listen, Be Faithful…God is good. “It means you listen.  And that you open your heart and open your vocal chords and be will to say, “God you are ‘Good’!  You are Holy - You’re Wise - You’re Loving - and I trust You; Even before this gets over.

 

 

World Wide Outreach Ministry Inc.
Theodore D Pestor/ President/Pastor BTH