We survive storms because we prepare for them. The best preparation is starting with a solid base to stand on. I taught Wyatt how to build block towers the same way I taught the football players I coached how to block and tackle; everything starts with a solid foundation. Where you place your footing is essential, too wide a stance, and you lose strength. Too narrow a base and you get toppled over. It takes instruction to learn and a lot of patience to get it right, but the hard work and determination pay off when the battles and storms overwhelm us.
When Jehoshaphat became king, His first move was to ‘seek the God of his fathers, follow His commandments, and not to act like those who forget the first two.’ With this playbook in hand, the second thing he did was send out his officials and Levites to teach the people from the Book of Gods’ law. These actions begin to establish a firm foundation of faith in the people. Now “Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem, but he went out among all the people, encouraging them to return to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. He appointed judges throughout the nation, and he said to them, “Always think carefully before pronouncing judgment. Remember that you do not judge to please people but to please the Lord. He will be with you when you render the verdict in each case. Fear the Lord and judge with integrity, for the Lord, our God does not tolerate perverted justice, partiality, or the taking of bribes.” (2 Chronicles 19:4-7 NLT) This built a reliable framework of faith in the people.
And then the unexpected storm appeared…
“Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news, but did not panic; instead, He begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.”
A response like this is not the norm, typically fear, anxiety and panic push us to places we should not go. But these people turned to God because of the time and effort Jehoshaphat had led them in to build a strong foundation. A framework of understanding God’s law and living in a manner that shows they believe every word is true.
God responded to their faith and announced, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord.” (2 Chron 20:2-4, 9, 15-18 NLT)
“Early the next morning, the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way, Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord, your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.”” (v. 20:20) As they went out in obedience to God’s Word, the people began singing, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.”
Even though the battle was God’s, the people and the king were still required to exercise faith in His promise by marching out before the enemy. It’s so cool that, “At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.” 2 Chronicles 20:22 NLT When the people arrived at the enemy position, all they found was ruined armies. God had kept His word and fought for His people. They only needed to seek Him in prayer and rest on the solid rock of His promises… and ‘then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory!’
The truth is, we can face any challenge in the name of the Lord, singing His praises as we go…. just like David did in facing down Goliath. He believed God’s Word and acted on it. That’s faith.
If we are going to make it through the challenge we face today, we need that same firm foundation to stand on; the solid rock of Jesus Christ. He is the way, the truth, and the life that everyone can come to and find rest. Jesus invites “all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, to come to Him, and He will give them rest from striving on their own. He offers us His yoke of glorifying the Name of God; and to teach us, from His humble and gentle heart. On these foundational principles, we will find rest for our souls.” (Matt 11:28-29 NLT) His burden is to glorify our Heavenly Father, and the best way for us to join Him is in prayer. Paul warns us that “we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12 NLT) To stand fast in these uncertain times, Paul instructs us to put on the full armor God has provided; truth, righteousness, salvation, and faith all established on the preparations made possible by the Word of God and the work of The Spirit. With these in place, Paul directs us to bind them together by “Praying in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” (Eph 6:18 NLT)
On Christ, your solid rock and firm foundation, you are always much braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and loved more than you know. Don’t give up, turn to God in prayer, humbly seek His will, and He will strengthen your heart.
Praying 4 U
Written by David Brown: David Brown is a husband, father, grandfather, Pastor with a Masters of Religious Studies and a Professor of Philosophy and Comparative Religions. Dave is the Associate Pastor of Pemberton’s First Baptist Church.