Picture this… You have been looking out for an opportunity to work at a prestigious firm and one day you come across a job posting for which you meet the qualifications but it closes in 30 minutes. You now have to race against the clock to get your application in right away. You do not have a current resume or cover letter. What do you do? Do you get working on a stellar resume and cover letter right away or do you stop to pray?
This week I came across a story in the bible that blew my mind away. If you have a minute join me in 2 Chronicles 20 but here is the gist of the story: Jehoshaphat King of Judah was informed that armies were marching up to war against him and they had already started encroaching upon his territory. If I were him (with my Type A personality and all), I would have been thinking about battle strategy and coming up with back up plans for my plans and backup plans for my backup plans. But here is what Jehoshaphat did instead:
Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 2 Chron. 20: 3-4 NIV
What!!! Can you believe this man? Instead of rushing out quickly to go and meet the army in battle, he chose instead to pray and remind God of his promise to protect them. In fact while they were in prayer the armies of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir were still advancing and getting closer and closer but the people (including women and children) stood in God’s presence asking for help until He answered them. And this is what God said:
‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’
And indeed the next day the people of Judah took up their battle position but did not have to do anything! God set ambush against the enemy warriors and all of a sudden they started to fight against one another until the last man was killed; a vast army totally annihilated. What has this story taught me?
There is nothing too emergent for God.
Even in the face of an advancing army, an impossible-to-meet deadline, a pressing financial debt, a downright medical emergency, there is nothing so urgent that we cannot breathe a word of prayer to God for help. Nothing takes God by surprise because He is always with us. He sees the same supposedly insurmountable problem that we are seeing but also sees beyond the problem to the solution of it. There is nothing more frightening than being in situation that looks so bleak you cannot find a way out. But here is God’s assurance:
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV
So next time when you are in a tough spot, before you start trying to find a way out, can I encourage you to call upon the Lord first? Take a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours or even a few days to seek His help. He knows how urgent the situation is and will show up with help just in time. He is never too late… always on time. The battle is the LORD’s!
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