For the Battle Is His
Open Your Bible
2 Chronicles 19:4-10, 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, Psalm 16:1-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
BY Kara Gause
If I had a nickel for every time I’ve been afraid, well, I suppose I’d be a very wealthy woman. Fear has driven me to do some truly foolish things in my lifetime. Case in point: I bought an unfathomable amount of bottled water in the face of Y2K. (For those too young to remember, Y2K had a lot to do with potential computer glitches and the progression from the year 1999 to 2000—but really, it was about fear of the apocalypse.) I’d long forgotten about the water stash until my husband and I set about merging our “stuff” after the wedding. Needless to say, he got a good laugh out of it.
I tend to overreact to my fear by attempting to take matters firmly into my own hands. My mind begins the work of imagining and anticipating any and all potentially tragic outcomes (e.g., the almost apocalypse of 2000). At the very least, I hustle to protect my reputation; fear of man versus fear of God is very real in my world. My M.O. is to do what’s best in my own eyes and maintain my “good” standing in the eyes of others—whatever that means. I wish I could say that every time I’ve been afraid I’ve taken action by turning to God. While that would not be true of me, at least in today’s reading, it is true of Jehoshaphat.
An imperfect man in his own strength, the king knew his limits. He also knew the God without limitation. It wasn’t enough for him to seek his own well-being; Jehoshaphat sought the Lord’s favor and protection for his people as well. Out of fear and reverence for God, they were called to holiness, to lead wholehearted lives of integrity before Him (2Chronicles 19:9–10). Jehoshaphat reminded them that even in the face of battle, fear of the Lord ought to outweigh fear of their earthly enemies.
Scripture tells us that when “Jehoshaphat was afraid…he resolved to seek the LORD,” and then he led others to do the same (2Chronicles 20:3–4). In doing so, the people found exactly what they needed from their God. When faced with “a vast number” (v.2,12) of their enemy headed toward them, God told them to put down their fear and discouragement because the battle was not theirs—it was His (v.15). The victory would be His as well. Through the obedience of His people, God would reveal His glory to the other nations.
Jehoshaphat had no need to run for the hills in self-preservation or stockpile supplies for a fate that would never come. By the time the battle was marching toward his doorstep, he was already in the habit of seeking the Lord (2Chronicles 19). He knew the one true God who is able to save, whose “faithful love endures forever” (2Chronicles 20:21). How unfathomably wonderful that we get to know this God too.