Overcoming Intimidation: Facing Our Fears

Text: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12

What do you do when you don’t know what to do? What do you do when you are surrounded by adversity? When you feel small and powerless? When everything around you seems fashioned to crush you?

This is where Jehoshaphat found himself in our text this morning.

Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah, had a big problem. He was facing an insurmountable situation. An alliance of nations had come up against him readying themselves like a pride of lions, set to pounce on Jehoshaphat and his people in any moment. This came after a season of great victory for the king, in which he had been an instrument in bringing people “back to the Lord” (2 Chronicles 19:4).

The enemy loves to attack us when we are most vulnerable—just after the thrill of victory! It is here that we too often let our guard down. This is why Peter aims to keep us alert: “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

As Jehoshaphat opens up his social media apps—or something like that—he gets word that “a vast army” is coming out against him. The announcement of this threat brings the king down from his spiritual high in a hurry. The enemy was within a day’s march away. An invasion is looming.

Fear Isn’t Always a Nemesis of Faith, Sometimes a Catalyst

I love that Scripture doesn’t omit the next part of the story. It doesn’t edit the narrative to portray Jehoshaphat as some superhero Bible character of extraordinary strength. We see the opposite—a man becoming afraid and weak. In this moment of crisis, Judah’s king feels lost and helpless. He’s extremely vulnerable.

But don’t miss what he does with that vulnerability…

Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and assembled the people to “seek help” from the Lord, at one point even admitting: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Jehoshaphat recalls God’s faithfulness and supremacy over all the kingdoms and affairs of the earth: “Are you not God in heaven? You rule over all…” And he brings God’s promises back to center stage.

God used a man named Jahaziel to encourage the king that the Lord would deliver Judah without a fight. “For the battle is not yours but God’s,” he says under the inspiration of the Spirit. Yet Judah was still required to do SOMETHING. They were commanded to “go out against them” in a most unorthodox way, not with a military brigade leading the way, but with singers lifting their voices in praise and worship to God. The alliance of nations who were against them ended up turning against one another and began to kill each other, instead of attacking Judah.

Judah was not delivered that day by the arm of man, the strength of numbers, or material resources; a great victory was achieved because a vulnerable people turned to God in simple faith… and unbridled praise.

We can learn from Jehoshaphat that fear isn’t necessarily the absence of faith; it can actually be a catalyst for faith when it leads us to the right throne. Feeling vulnerable doesn’t mean we aren’t close to God; it can often mean we are leaning more in to God. Feeling lost and powerless isn’t always a bad thing; it can set us up for a miracle where God alone gets all the praise!

The distance between your problem and God’s provision may only be one step of praise away! Think about this as you seek to abide in Him this week.

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, our circumstances can get overwhelming. On some days our problems can seem so big while we feel so small. Help us to know that there’s nothing shameful about feeling vulnerable. A sense of helplessness can drive us to the right throne. Teach us to trust your character and faithfulness in times of distress, and remind us that we don’t have to wait for the miracle to begin praising you. Holy Spirit, lead us in a triumphant procession of worship as we march to the beat of faith. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

twitter-64Fear isn’t necessarily the absence of faith; it can be a catalyst for faith when it leads us to the right place. Tweet this


Questions for Reflection and/or Family Discussion:

  1. How do you typically respond to bad news?
  2. When was the last time you felt so helpless that you wanted to give up?
  3. In what way do we see fear and faith working together in Jehoshaphat’s crisis?
  4. What battles are you facing right now that the Lord may want you to do nothing but praise Him?
  5. What would it look like for you to fill the gap between your problems and God’s provision with praise?

 

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