Face the battle singing!
Jehoshaphat was in sore distress. What to do!? The Ammonites, the Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir had ganged together against the Children of Israel. 2 Chronicles 20:3 reads: “And Jehoshaphat feared, AND SET HIMSELF TO SEEK THE LORD, AND PROCLAIMED A FAST THROUGHOUT ALL JUDAH. And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord…” (They took it serious.) Jehoshaphat went into the house of the Lord, before the new court to plead with God for His help. Had not God said that if evil should come upon them and they came into the sanctuary and called on Him for help that he would help them?
Verses 12-20 portray the anguish he finds himself in: “O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.…Then upon Jahaziel…came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;…And he said,…Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.…Ye shall not need to fight in this battle:…set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you…And they rose early in the morning,…and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established…
Notice what happened next. As they were going out to the battle, they sang and praised God! Such faith! The account goes on to say that when they started singing and praising God, God caused their enemies to fight against each other, and they were so smitten so that not one escaped. The Children of Israel did not have to do a thing but simply trust the Lord, then gather up the spoil.
Now, what about us? We do not have the Moabites to fight against. We do not have swords as our weapons. Who or what is our enemy?
Peter tells us to be careful and vigilant because the devil goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. The devil goes about to destroy and to kill. We DO have and enemy! But do we have such a faith in our hearts that it causes us to FACE THE BATTLE SINGING?
The devil, our enemy, has many tactics he uses to fight against us. One of them is to instill a false comfort into our heart. For example: We may be very diligent about having our regular devotions and prayer, (and that is good), but are the hearts of the fathers toward the children and the hearts of the children toward the fathers? I know of a situation where the children and the father cannot communicate, but since they are very serious about having their regular devotions, etc. they experience a measure of comfort. But sin can be things we do not call sin. If I as a father am not drawn to my children, like Christ is to us, is it not sin? We need to be like Christ; not be just religious. If we see we have failed, it is not enough to only admit it, though that is good, but we need to experience victory in Christ. Jehoshaphat realized he could not stand before his enemies, but what gave him the victory? Do we experience victory like Jehoshaphat? Where is victory?
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Eph. 6:12) That is our enemy—not flesh and blood, like in Old Testament times. We wrestle spiritual wickedness.
Our battle is deeper than flesh and blood. There is a spiritual wickedness involved. Satan comes through our thoughts, through our flesh, and through our body that is fallen. Satan tries to stir up the sin that is in our fallen body. But Paul tells us to mortify our members that are on the earth. (Col. 3:5) That is our warfare.
Jesus said it is not that which goes into a man that defiles a man, but that which comes out of our hearts. Bitterness and all those things come from within— from the heart— and we have a BATTLE TO WAGE AGAINST THE ENEMY. This ties in with Ephesians 6:12 concerning wrestling against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.
To do battle with such an enemy, Paul admonishes us to put on the whole armor of God so we may be able to withstand against the wiles of the devil. (Verse 11)
How do we battle with such an unseen (yet keenly felt) enemy?
We are familiar with the rest of the chapter of Ephesians 6. It says we are to have our loins girt with truth, have the breastplate of righteousness, have our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, and “ABOVE ALL, TAKING THE SHIELD OF FAITH, WHEREWITH YE SHALL BE ABLE TO QUENCH ALL THE FIERY DARTS OF THE WICKED.” Such an armory!
But what if we are indifferent? Complacent? Lukewarm? Do these words give a picture of a man doing battle? What would have happened if Jehoshaphat had been indifferent and complacent when the enemies came against him? There would have been no victory! And neither will we experience victory if we do not take this spiritual battle seriously.
Let us consider our lives seriously. What are we fighting? How do we think we can quench the fiery darts? Jehoshaphat was utterly aware that “we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do…” Do we find it that way in our experience too? That we have no might? But Jehoshaphat did not stop there. He says, “But our eyes are upon thee.” Let us look to God also. Through faith in the blood of Jesus, we too can experience victory in our battle against sin— or the spiritual wickedness we find in our hearts. “…above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.”
What did faith in God cause the Children of Israel to do? It says they sang as they went to battle! Is not that a beautiful picture of faith? Does our faith in God cause our hearts to sing, even as we face the battle? Or do we shrink and cringe in defeat? “And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5.4) Paul was told, “My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Cor. 12.9)
God has provided us with all that we need to be more than conquerors through Him that loved us. (Rom. 8.37) Not only can we be conquerors, but our faith in God can cause us to face the battle singing, knowing we have the victory already.
So how is it in our lives? Are we confessing Christ, yet our lives deny the power thereof? Like the situation that was mentioned earlier concerning being religious, yet the hearts of the fathers was not towards the children, neither the children’s towards the parents? There was no communication between them. There was anger and fear. Through all this time, they claimed to be walking in faith, yet they were not doing battle with the spiritual wickedness in their hearts. Faith is not merely a confession. A faith is not a true faith unless it brings forth fruits: unless there is an overcoming through the blood of the Lamb.
Where are we in this? Are we merely professing Christ, yet continuing to live in our lusts (and neglecting the warfare)? Oh, we may not want to go as far as some people. We surely would not say like “eternal security” people that you can go to heaven even if you murder someone (because, according to this doctrine, you cannot fall away.) But just in “small” ways, we allow ourselves to walk in the lusts of our flesh. Do we easily excuse ourselves and perhaps subconsciously think, Yes, it is good to repent, but if you do not, well, that is okay, too. It does not really matter that much. After all, I believe Jesus died for me.
Do we really believe what the Bible teaches? It says, “FOR THE WAGES OF SIN IS DEATH…” (Rom. 8.23) and John 8:34, “verily, verily I say unto you, whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.”
We may truly experience the New Birth, but then it is so easy to get caught up with the cares of life, riches, wives, farms, and other interests, so that we soon grow lukewarm. This is a serious state because we are not serious, and often do not see the need of repentance, and gradually fall away. But the Lord can give us victory through Jesus. The Lord fought for the Children of Israel. Christ is the victory that quenches the fiery darts of Satan for us.
If we do not have this faith that quenches the fiery darts, we are still in sin’s grip. Let us not look to our good works, and if we do fail, think Yes, I come short, but I think I still do enough good deeds. I know I have my weaknesses, but it is not that bad. It is only through repentance and faith in the blood of Jesus that we are saved.
Again, where are we? Do we confess to be in Christ, yet our lives deny the power thereof? There are no fruits? Or do our lives show forth the fruits of having fought the spiritual wickedness in our hearts, and we come forth more than conquerors through him that loved us?
Does our faith in the blood of the Lamb cause us to face the battle singing? —Author unknown