AND HAVING DONE ALL–STAND! STAND THEREFORE…
It has been my honor and privilege to teach women’s Bible studies for these past twenty-four years. Many times in teaching, I have used the example of what we call spiritual warfare drawn from Old Testament passages relating to Israel’s many conflicts when her enemies came against her to destroy her. In these very real and physical wars in ancient Israel, there seems to be a hidden meaning for us today as we face spiritual war in our lives. Jesus warned us that this enemy is a liar and the father of all lies; “when he speaks, he speaks his native language”—which is the lie. He also warned that this enemy seeks to steal, kill and destroy the followers of Christ. Anyone who has walked with Jesus Christ for any amount of time understands this. It is a very real war. Just as knowing who the enemy is in a national conflict, it is essential to know that we have an enemy and this enemy has strategies. But our God has given us many examples of our strategy against our spiritual enemy if we will take the time to discover what those strategies are.
There are many examples from the Old Testament where Israel’s enemies were threatening to utterly destroy her and there are instructions outlined in the passage as to how God would have them respond. One of my favorites is found in 2 Chronicles 20. Jehoshaphat, King of Israel, faces war with Moab and Ammon. “Some time after these events, the Moabites and the Ammonites attacked Jehoshaphat and started a war.” Israel is outnumbered as usual. Jehoshaphat’s reaction is perfectly normal. He is afraid. His second reaction, however, is a choice–“In mounting fear, Jehoshaphat devoted himself to seek the LORD.” Before he consults any advisers, he seeks the Lord. That is our first strategy.
His second strategy is to proclaim a fast for the entire nation. Everyone–men, women and children, bowed down before the Lord in prayer and fasting. And Jehoshaphat prays one of my all time favorite prayers:
“LORD God of our ancestors, you are the God who lives in heaven, are you not? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, don’t you? In your own hands you grasp both strength and power, don’t you? As a result, no one can oppose you, can they? You are our God, who expelled the former inhabitants of this land right in front of our people Israel, aren’t you? Then you gave it to your friend Abraham’s descendant forever, didn’t you? They lived in it and have built there a sanctuary for your name, where they said, ‘If evil comes upon us, such as war as punishment, disease, or famine and we stand in your presence in this Temple (because your Name is in this Temple) and cry out to you in our distress, then you will hear and deliver.’ Now therefore look! The Ammonites, the Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir, whom you would not permit Israel to attack when they arrived from the land of Egypt—since they turned away from them and did not eliminate them—Look how they’re rewarding us! They’re coming to drive us from your property that you gave us to be our inheritance. Our God, you are going to punish them, aren’t you? We have no strength to face this vast multitude that has come against us, nor do we know what to do, except that our eyes are on you.”
A prophet rises and gives the answer from God:
“Pay attention, everyone in Judah, in Jerusalem, and you, too, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Stop being afraid, and stop being discouraged because of this vast invasion force, because the battle doesn’t belong to you, but to God. Tomorrow you are to go down to attack them. Pay attention, now—they’ll be coming up near the ascent of Ziz. You won’t be fighting in this battle. Take your stand, but stand still, and watch the LORD’s salvation on your behalf, Judah and Jerusalem! Never fear and never be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, since the LORD is with you.’”
There is a fascinating part of this verse that we find repeated many times when Israel is receiving instructions from God about a forthcoming war: “You won’t be fighting in this battle. Take your stand and stand still.”
Upon hearing this, Jehoshaphat falls on his face in worship.
“Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the assembled inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem fell face down in the LORD’s presence and worshipped the LORD.”
The Hebrew here is “Shakhah”—to fall face down. This is the response—the normal response—when we have heard a definite word from our El Shaddai—our Mighty God.
Next is a part of the strategy that I love most:
“Korah stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel in a very loud voice that ascended to heaven.”
“In a very loud voice!” I love that.
The next day, they headed out to the appointed battlefield. Jehoshaphat appointed choir members to march ahead of the army and sing praise to the Lord.
“After he had consulted with the people, Jehoshaphat appointed some choir members to sing to the LORD and to praise him in sacred splendor as they marched out in front of the armed forces. They kept saying “Give thanks to the LORD, because his gracious love is eternal!’”
God heard the voices of praise and worship—most of all He heard the voices of people who were afraid of the oncoming armies and who knew that they had no power against these armies, yet who chose to trust in the power of their God. They went out trembling, but they went out singing praises and trusting God—as if they had already defeated the enemy. And here is the most amazing part of so many of these wars:
“Right on time, as they began to sing and praise, the LORD ambushed the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who had attacked Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the inhabitants of Mount Seir, destroying them, and after they had finished with the inhabitants of Mount Seir, they worked on destroying one another!”
Right on time! God moved right on time. God caused the enemy to turn on itself and destroy each other.
Folks, there is power in what these passages are teaching us. Because we still have an all-powerful God! He has not changed—He is the exact same God Jehoshaphat prayed to. We are in a spiritual war in our country. We, like Daniel, who also fasted and prayed on behalf of his country, can begin by praying and acknowledging that “We have sinned. Shame of face belongs to us.” Israel had been taken into captivity for what? For worshipping idols along with their worship of God, and for sacrificing their children to Molech (Jeremiah 32). Our country has been shedding innocent blood to the tune of 58 million unborn babies since 1973. We had an opportunity to repent, to “turn from our wicked ways” (2 Chronicles 7:14) when the horrendous videos were revealed—videos showing actual pictures of dismembered babies in petri dishes. This should have caused such outrage that we would have fallen on our faces in deep prayer and fasting and repentance, begging God for forgiveness and storming our Congress to put a stop to it. But we didn’t. Our congress was given the opportunity to defund Planed Parenthood, but they didn’t. In fact, interestingly within the past two months, an identical representation of the Arch of Baal was erected in New York City—honoring the Arch that ISIS recently destroyed in Syria. This was more than coincidence—it was symbolic.
And so the Lord seems to have allowed our country to be embroiled in one of the most embarrassing, shameful and ungodly election seasons to ever happen. Watching the debates, I couldn’t help but remember Proverbs 6:16-19—the seven things that God hates, as the candidates proudly strutted around the stage. He seems to be throwing these things in our faces to see if we will even recognize them.
However as with Israel, throughout their history—as Elijah saw when he thought he alone was left, God reminded him “I have reserved for Myself seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal” (1 Kings 19:18). There is a remnant here in this country who have been praying, repenting, fasting. Not praying for God to make us great again, but for God to forgive us for our shame of face for the abominations that have been happening here. Not praying for God to deliver us from the judgment that we so deserve here in this country, but praying that for His name’s sake, He will hear and forgive. God knows and He hears these kinds of prayers.
Are we praying for repentance because we are ashamed of the sins we have committed here? Or are we praying that our prosperous and luxurious way of life will be able to continue? Are we praying for our constitution and flag to be preserved, or for the Banner—Jehovah Nissi—to be raised over this country—raised above our own flag? Are we only concerned that we can make America rich again so that we can be comfortable? Or are we willing to be bold enough to ask God to do a new thing in this country—something we have not yet seen? When Jeremiah was given the awful task of reporting to the leaders that God was going to send Israel into exile while He restored the Land, the religious leaders cried out “But the Temple is here! The Temple is here!” Because of their great sin, God allowed that temple to be destroyed—His temple! Why? Because they would not repent for their shameful sins. Their sins were that they worshipped Jehovah God in the Temple, while in their secret chambers they were watching and participating in abominable acts, as Ezekiel was shown—shameful pictures and images on the walls of the priests. And they were sacrificing their children to Molech.
As I write this, an amazing thing is occurring in our country and I can’t help but think of Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah and other Israeli Kings who fasted and prayed before a battle. God miraculously turned the enemy on itself and the enemy destroyed each other instead of destroying Israel.
Right now, we are witnessing something eerily similar here. Amazingly, eleven days before the election, it has been discovered that Hillary’s number one assistant Huma Abedin and her depraved husband, are in possession of 650,000 damning emails that could destroy Hillary Clinton and possibly send her, along with many others who are complicit in her corruption, to jail. Unwittingly, those in her own “army” have begun turning against each other and are destroying each other. Is this God? Is He doing this? Have the prayers and petitions and songs of His people ascended before Him? Is He about to turn the enemies of America against each other to destroy each other.
I would like to propose that those who read this take this possibility to heart and follow the strategy of Jehoshaphat and others. A day of fasting, falling on our faces in repentance for our nation’s abominations, on the Sunday before the election. We are not praying for Trump to win, we are throwing ourselves on the mercy of God and praying as we have prayed so often in the Lord’s prayer: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
On Monday, begin singing in a very loud voice, to the Lord. This means turning off the TV, the football games, the entertainment and the social media and focusing only on our Mighty God. On Monday and Tuesday, continue singing and praising as we march to the polls. Maybe join with others and pray around the polling places.
This sounds completely outrageous I know, but what if—just what if—it would be the very catalyst that would move this mountain—the mountain of years of abominations done in our country—into the sea? What if we actually believed that we have a God big enough to do something this big?
We shall see, but it sure feels like God has begun moving; now we must “Take our stand. Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.”