Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.”
Psalm 126: 3
“It is true that we endure trials, but it is just as true that we are delivered out of them…The deeper our troubles, the louder our thanks to God who has led us through and preserved us.”
Today’s Study Text:
“After this, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat to battle. It was told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude has come against you from beyond the Dead Sea, from Edom: and behold they are in Hazazon-tamar, which is Engedi.’ Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself determinedly, as his vital need, to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah.”
II Chronicles 20: 1-3
“The Triple Threat”
“It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.”
What problem has come against me in my life and caused me to be fearful?
How can I set myself “determinedly” within my Father’s will during this time of trouble?
“Have you ever taken your fears to God, got the horizons of eternity about them, looked at them in the light of His love and grace?
Robert J. McCracken
“Jesus came treading the waves; and so He puts all the swelling tumults of life under His feet. Christians – why afraid?”
Augustine of Hippo
After studying II Kings 3, and watching as God came to the rescue of King Jehoshaphat by a heavenly filling of the dry ditches in the desert, it does us well to recognize that in the second book of Chronicles, we find a “triple threat” coming upon the kingdom of Judah.
This time, rather than seeking after the “arm of man” for relief, King Jehoshaphat went directly to the Lord. A lesson that indeed would do us well when we find ourselves hit with trouble on all sides.
Today, I want to revisit the experience King Jehoshaphat faced when the children of Ammon, Moab and the inhabitants of Seir, threatened to attack Judah.
First of all, this king who was a contemporary of the wicked King Ahab was also allied by marriage. He had seen what terrible things had been done by the vicious leaders, Ahab and Jezebel. So when Jehoshaphat became king of Judah, he was determined to follow God. He brought back the worship of the God of heaven and earth – Jehovah. And he purposed to do what was right in the sight of God.
I’m going to stop for one moment because I read all the prayer requests you send. And I know with certainty that many of you face the same challenges Jehoshaphat did. You may live in a destructive situation. You may work in a place of turmoil. You may even face upheaval within your own life. And yet, day after day, I receive precious notes that let me know you want to live a life of purpose. What you really long for is that God will be at the core of your life. And so, with boldness and courage you have chosen to step onto the path of your heavenly Father. This was what Jehoshaphat did. The Bible tells us that Jehoshaphat “went out again among the people (of Judah) from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers” (II Chronicles 19: 4). He was on a one-man crusade for God. And after the maniacal Ahab and Jezebel, what a contrast!
You would think that following God and doing what was just, merciful and right would have paid big dividends. If we are to believe what some people say, “If you follow God, you’ll be prospered,” then Jehoshaphat should have had smooth sailing. But in
II Chronicles, we find out that having re-established the ministry of the Levites and having
re-introduced the people of Judah to their heavenly Father, what happened? The Bible is very clear. “After this,” it says! After doing good, after being good – “the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat.” These wicked nations jumped on this good king, thinking they would take him down.
Now I’d like to lay before you a thought which was shared with me by a friend who noted that the pastor of her church observed that most times in our lives, our personal battles in the Spiritual realm come as three specific attacks – to our health, to our finances and to our relationships! It’s like the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites – a triple threat!
I want you to think about this, for as I pondered the idea, and looked at my own life, it has seemed that these are the three areas – health, finances, and relationships, where the evil one comes and assaults me with such ferocity that just like the Bible tells us happened to King Jehoshaphat, I become fearful! I know this is true for I speak from personal experience! Will there be enough money to pay the bills? Is that severe pain in my foot a sign that another part of the bone is dying again? Why do certain relationships have to cause so much hurt? I’m certain as you review your life, especially in the areas of health, finances and relationships, that many of you are going to have your own list of triple threats – those enemies who are trying to take you down. And what’s worse, they are trying to incapacitate you and me so we will not be effectual in carrying out heaven’s plans for our lives.
Here’s the thing though, Jehoshaphat didn’t let the “fear” caused by the “triple threat” stop him in his tracks. Believe me, he recognized these were fierce enemies – three of them. But when nearly overcome with fear, the Bible tells us that King Jehoshaphat, “set” to “seek,” or as the Hebrew translates this phrase, he “committed himself to frequent and tread with the Lord.” The Hebrew states that the word “set” is like a “cast.” King Jehoshaphat cast himself solidly on his Father’s pathway. When confronted by a triple threat that intended to conquer him after he had purposed to follow God, King Jehoshaphat determined to set or cast himself firmly in seeking after his Father’s will and way. He had learned from his own past experience that God was faithful!
We can do the same! In the words of H. E. Fosdick:
“Fear imprisons, faith liberates;
fear paralyzes, faith empowers;
fear disheartens, faith encourages;
fear sickens, faith heals;
fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable;
most of all, fear puts hopelessness
at the heart of life,
while faith rejoices in God.”
Like King Jehoshaphat, may we determine to cast ourselves everyday within our Father’s will. And then trust our Father to keep His Word and we will find first hand how faithful He is to us, too!
“Our hearts, our hopes, are all with Thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant over our fears,
Are all with Thee, -- are all with Thee!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You know our hearts, our anxieties, our hesitations and You know the crutches we have developed to handle them. Forgive us for not letting You be the One on whom we lean and in whom we are totally trusting. Help us each to want to find our knees more often. Help us to see prayer as a beautiful gift available to each of us at anytime. Lord, above all else, help us each to realize that we don’t have the time not to pray. Amen”
Touched By God”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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