This battle is not yours but God’s.

By jreighley - Last updated: Tuesday, April 12, 2011 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment

Studied and taught 2 Chronicles 20 this weekend….  Sorry, but there is no audio   (Evil cellphone recorder failed me.)

I used to love that story.   Then I tried to teach it, and I love it less.

The gist of the story is that a massive army is approaching Judah, and King Jehosaphat and the nation prays to God, remembering His promises, and calling on Him to fulfill them.   They get the following response:

And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
(2 Chronicles 20:15-17 ESV)

God’s people remembered His promises to them.  The called on Him and the response they got was “the battle is not yours but God’s”

Certainly there are a lot of biblical examples of God’s people trying to accomplish His promises on His behalf.   Abraham and Hagar tried to fulfill God’s promise.   Jacob and Rebecca tried to connive God’s promise into fruition by lying to Isaac.

None of these human efforts thwarted God’s promises,  but they did make some mighty impressive messes.

I do wonder if a deeper understanding of theology would lead us to a place where we recognized that most of life’s battles where our attempts to gain something that God promised to give anyway?   Perhaps we are assuming that the call to the battlefield is a call to arms, when it may be a call to spectate.   God wants us to see what He is doing.

The call to spectate is a call to worship.   It isn’t entirely passive.   We have to take our eyes off of our idol and place our eyes on God.   He calls us to witness.. That means we love as He loved.  We forgive as He forgave, we provide generously for others has He has provided generously for us.  But it isn’t our battle, it is His.  We get to watch and cheer in worship.

My thesis for the talk was that many of life’s battles do not actually belong to man, but the belong to God.   We are not called to fight — That is legalism.   We are not called to surrender — That is antinomianism.   We are called to worship.    We let go of our idols and see what God puts in their place.   Victory is found in worshiping the God that makes the impossible possible.

Too often we boil our theology down way too far.   “God is Love” or “God has a plan for your life” are true, but they are by no means complete.   If we understand God’s promises, we will understand which battles belong to God, and that will give us peace.

 

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