2 Chronicles 20:15 "...Thus says the Lord to you: 'Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God's.'" Verse 17: "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, Who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!" "Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you."
This is a fascinating story in the Old Testament book of 2 Chronicles. I commend it to your reading...all of chapter 20. The people of Judah were frightened as their enemies from Moab, Ammon and others were coming in a great multitude to battle against them. The people of Judah cried out to God for help...they beseeched Him to judge these people (verse 12) because they said "We have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon YOU."
God responded to them in verses 15-17 as written above...and told them not to fear or be dismayed, and to go out against them on the next day, "for the Lord is with you!" So the people all bowed their faces to the ground and worshipped the Lord, and then they stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high. (verse 18-19)
The next morning they rose early, and Jehoshaphat instructed the people to believe in the Lord...and then "he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
God had told them exactly right...He told them in verse 17 that they would not need to fight in this battle..."Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, Who is with you..." The people of Judah never had to fight one person...their enemies all destroyed each other while the people of Judah were still marching and singing praises to God!"For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another! So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped!"
Why do I love this story so much? Well, first of all, because we so often feel helpless when we are up against the enemies of this life...whether it be sickness, depression, family strife, grief, financial worries, ...we throw our hands up in the air and cry out, "God help us! We don't know what to do!" I've been there way too many times, especially in the past year. But I wonder how often we can honestly say that we have uttered the last part of the cry of the people of Judah in verse 12, "But our eyes are on YOU." I know that I have a tendency to try and figure things out on my own and not consult God first. I sometimes think of God only as a last resort...when it should be my first choice.
And what about those people all singing praises to God with voices loud and high? Actually, I have discovered that when I am feeling afraid, or sad, or confused...when I start to praise the Lord by singing hymns of the faith, I get stronger. My joy returns, and my faith increases...there is great power in praising the Lord. No one said anything about having a good singing voice or even knowing all the correct words...sometimes the words just flow, as the Holy Spirit ministers and soothes my heart...the demons of my soul flee away...they cannot stand against the power of a praising child of God.
So remember this story the next time you are frightened or alone or feeling sad...or when you are feeling oppressed by the cares of this world...