Friday, June 22, 2012


and he said, ‘Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God's.”’” (2 Chronicles 20:15 HCSB)

You are no match for the Devil.  He is smarter than you, so you can’t win an argument with him.  He is stronger than you, so you can’t overcome an attack from him.  An old boy noted, “I can resist anything, except temptation!”

So, do we just surrender?

Yes…and no!

We do not surrender to Satan…we are commanded to steadfastly resist him.  But, if you try to face him alone, he will laugh in your face and steamroll you!

We surrender to God!  We stand in His strength.  Look at these New Testament principles:

“Finally, be strengthened by the Lord and by His vast strength.  Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil.  For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens.  This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.” (Ephesians 6:10-13 HCSB)

Therefore, submit to God. But resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7 HCSB)

Be serious! Be alert! Your adversary the Devil is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour.  Resist him and be firm in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are being experienced by your fellow believers throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:8-9 HCSB)

because whatever has been born of God conquers the world. This is the victory that has conquered the world: our faith.” (1 John 5:4 HCSB)

“They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death.” (Revelation 12:11 HCSB)

We stand in the Lord’s strength, not our own.  We submit to God first, and then we can stand against the Devil.  The victory is attained by faith.  It is the finished work of Christ on Calvary that has crushed the serpent’s head that enables us to do likewise! We overcome by the blood of the Lamb.  His victory becomes our victory.

The battle belongs to God!  Satan is no match for Him!

A little girl was asked, “When Satan comes knocking on the door of your heart to tempt you to sin, what will you do?”  She answered, “I’ll turn to Jesus and say, ‘Will you answer the door?’”

Those New Testament principles are framed in an Old Testament picture in 2 Chronicles 20.  Let’s make sure we get the picture!

Good King Jehoshaphat and the Jews were facing an enemy too strong for them.  They were at a loss for a winning strategy.  To face such a powerful foe seemed utterly futile.  The King admits, “For we are powerless before this vast number that comes [to fight] against us.” (v.12b)

It has always been that way.  If we think we can outwork, outthink, outfight and outnumber our spiritual foes, we have, as my Daddy used to say, “Another think coming.”

But, that very acknowledgement of helplessness is exactly where we need to be, if we would achieve victory.  Jehoshaphat had more to say; I only gave you part of the verse, “Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes [to fight] against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.”

There are three keys to attaining this victory.  In each case, the Jews didn’t look to themselves, but to the Lord.


“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites, came [to fight] against Jehoshaphat.  People came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast number from beyond the Dead Sea and from Edom has come [to fight] against you; they are already in Hazazon-tamar’ (that is, En-gedi).  Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah,

 who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him. Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord's temple before the new courtyard.  He said:

Yahweh, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can stand against You.  Are You not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend?  They have lived in the land and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name and have said,  "If disaster comes on us-sword or judgment, pestilence or famine-we will stand before this temple and before You, for Your name is in this temple. We will cry out to You because of our distress, and You will hear and deliver."  Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and [the inhabitants of] Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them.  Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of Your possession that You gave us as an inheritance.  Our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes [to fight] against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.’” (v.1-12)

Some caricature this as, “Let go and let God” as though it is a passive response where we just sit down and do nothing.  Oh my, no!  We do more than sit down, we kneel down!  There isn’t passivity, but intensity—it is just that the activity is toward God and receiving His power rather than toward the enemy in our own power.  There was fasting and fervent praying.  If you think that doesn’t require resolve, you have never done it.  There is much to do after we pray, but nothing until we pray!  The flesh says, “Don’t just stand there, do something!”  We are stampeded by the terror of expediency and act rashly—with the result being sheer failure.  God says, “Stand there and pray something!”  Jehoshaphat stood before the Lord and prayed!  There will be a time to move out on the battlefield, but only after we first move in to the house of God in prayer and move up to the throne of God for power.  The battle belongs to God!

Key #2: GLORY TO GOD—There was PRAISE.

“All Judah was standing before the Lord with their infants, their wives, and their children.  In the middle of the congregation, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph's descendants),  and he said, ‘Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God's.  Tomorrow, go down against them. You will see them coming up the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley facing the Wilderness of Jeruel.  You do not have to fight this [battle]. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. [He is] with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for Yahweh is with you.”’  Then Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord to worship Him.  Then the Levites from the sons of the Kohathites and the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel shouting with a loud voice.

In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in Yahweh your God, and you will be established; believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.’  Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of [His] holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing:

Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithful love endures forever.’

The moment they began [their] shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and [the inhabitants of] Mount Seir who came [to fight] against Judah, and they were defeated.” (v.13-22)

It’s amazing what praising can do!  God’s heart is forever bent toward the accomplishing of His glory.  When we glorify Him, we partner with His will—a will that is invincible, irresistible, inexorable!  When Jehoshaphat and the Jews focused on the size of their problem, they became fearful and disheartened, but when they focused on the strength of their God, they had faith and deliverance!  Praise is faith vocalized!  It isn’t merely gratitude for what God has done—though that can buttress our faith as we think about God’s faithfulness in the past.  Praise is more—it is glory in who God is—His unchangeable character: omnipotent—all powerful; omnipresent—always present; omniscient—all knowing.  His strength in us, His stand with us, and His strategy for us makes the humanly impossible achievable.  The battle belongs to God!


“The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the inhabitants of Mount Seir and completely annihilated them. When they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped destroy each other.   When Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked for the large army, but there were only corpses lying on the ground; nobody had escaped.  Then Jehoshaphat and his people went to gather the plunder. They found among them an abundance of goods on the bodies and valuable items. So they stripped them until nobody could carry any more. They were gathering the plunder for three days because there was so much.

They assembled in the Valley of Beracah on the fourth day, for there they praised the Lord. Therefore, that place is still called the Valley of Beracah today.  Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem turned back with Jehoshaphat their leader, returning joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord enabled them to rejoice over their enemies.  So they came into Jerusalem to the Lord's temple with harps, lyres, and trumpets.  The terror of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that Yahweh had fought against the enemies of Israel.  Then Jehoshaphat's kingdom was quiet, for his God gave him rest on every side.” (v.23-30)

They rested in the Lord and they were able to rejoice in the Lord; rest became the blessed state they would abide in.  They went out praising God for His person—as they anticipated what He would do.  They came back praising God for His provision—as they celebrated what he had done!  The people conquered, but not with a sword.  They succeeded with a song!  It wasn’t the greatness of their forces, since their foe was greater than they were.  Rather, it was the grace of their Father, since His power was greater than what they faced.

As I look at the immensity of what the church is facing today, it makes my heart quake.  When I look at the impotence of the church now, it makes my knees shake.  But, when I look at my God, there is a song that breaks:

Encamped along the hills of light,
Ye Christian soldiers, rise.
And press the battle ere the night
Shall veil the glowing skies.
Against the foe in vales below
Let all our strength be hurled.
Faith is the victory, we know,
That overcomes the world.


Faith is the victory! Faith is the victory!
O glorious victory, that overcomes the world.

His banner over us is love,
Our sword the Word of God.
We tread the road the saints above
With shouts of triumph trod.
By faith, they like a whirlwind’s breath,
Swept on o’er every field.
The faith by which they conquered death
Is still our shining shield.


On every hand the foe we find
Drawn up in dread array.
Let tents of ease be left behind,
And onward to the fray.
Salvation’s helmet on each head,
With truth all girt about,
The earth shall tremble ’neath our tread,
And echo with our shout.


To him that overcomes the foe,
White raiment shall be giv’n.
Before the angels he shall know
His name confessed in Heav’n.
Then onward from the hill of light,
Our hearts with love aflame,
We’ll vanquish all the hosts of night,
In Jesus’ conqu’ring Name.


(“Faith Is The Victory” by John Yates and Ira Sankey)

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