Weekly DOH Thrift Store Blog

Positioning our Hearts in the Flow of God’s Power

In 2 Chronicles 20:1-30, King Jehoshaphat received some very terrible news. Three countries had banded together, forming a massive army to attack his much smaller country of Judah. Danger was thick. Defeat seemed imminent. Death on an enormous scale was a looming reality. Yet in the face of the potentially horrific situation, King Jehoshaphat didn’t freak out or explode. Instead he did five specific things that gave me a whole new perspective on how to ‘hold’ myself together when a life event threatens to blow me apart.

One: Remember who you are.

“Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all of 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 Chronicles 20:3-4)

The two words that immediately precede and follow King Jehoshaphat’s name - alarmed and resolved - represent two realities that are significant. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved. The king had resolved to inquire of the Lord. Although he was alarmed over the situation, Jehoshaphat was resolved. He predetermined to remember who he was: I am a child of the great I AM, holy and dearly loved, whom God has set apart for a mighty plan. Remember who you are!

Two: Redirect your focus on Jesus.

“Oh our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we have no power against this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” (2 Chronicles 20:12) 

I love the honest admission by King Jehoshaphat and his people. They didn’t know what to do, but they new who to turn to. Their attention was fixed on the Lord.

The human soul is designed to recognize and respond to the calm assurance of Jesus. When I’m in a hard place, I can invite a power beyond my own into a situation by simply speaking His name. I don’t have to know what to do. I don’t have to have all the answers. I just have to remember one thing, one name – Jesus. Invite Jesus into every life moment. Redirect your focus on Jesus.

Three: Recognize God’s job isn’t your job.

“Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” (2 Chronicles 20:15)

Sometimes I get into situations where I’m consumed with trying to figure out what to do. The more I think through options, the more frazzled I become. Ultimately, the responsibility for winning this battle I’m facing doesn’t belong to me. I’m not responsible for figuring it all out. My job is simply to be obedient to God in the midst of what I’m facing. God’s job is results. Obedience positions us in the flow of God’s power, working with God’s ways not against God’s ways.

A few years ago I went on an intense hike, straight up the side of a mountain. Climbing up the mountain against the force of gravity was hard. Really, really hard. But coming down was a completely different experience. I navigated to same rocks and roots without feeling nearly as stressed. I enjoyed the journey. I was able to notice the beautiful surroundings and have enough breath to breathe in the clean, woody smell of the forest.

Later it occurred to me how the experience of this hike was to my Christian walk. Starting at the top of the mountain and working with the force of gravity was so much easier than starting at the bottom of the mountain and working against it. Although I had to navigate the exact same path both directions, being in the flow of gravity made it so much better. It’s just like when I face a hard issue in life. Operating in the flow of God’s power is so much better than working against God’s power. Seeking to obey God in the midst of whatever circumstance I’m facing is what positions me to work in the flow of God’s power. I still have to navigate the realities of my situation, but I won’t be doing it in my own strength. Recognize God’s job isn’t your job.

Four: Recite thanks and praise to God.

“Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe His prophets, and you will succeed.” And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever.”” (2 Chronicles 20:19-21)

If I had been facing certain death at the hands of a marauding horde, my first line of defense would not have been to send out the choir. If only I was more in the habit of a thankful heart full of praise instead of a grumbling heart consumed with my present circumstances. I just don’t feel very thankful in that moment when problems start bumping into my ‘happy’. I don’t feel like breaking out into a praise song when my ‘world’ is blowing up. How do I shift from having an attitude to walking in gratitude?

I can’t authentically praise God for anything wrong or evil, but I can shift my focus to all that is right and praise Him for it. In the story of King Jehoshaphat, making this shift – from looking at what was wrong to praising God for what was right – worked a miracle.

“And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set traps against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. For the war men of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one turned to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead, bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.” (2 Chronicles 20:22-24)

When I stop being blind to all that is right and good, I see so many more reasons to praise God. And when my heart is full of praise, my emotions aren’t nearly as prone to coming unglued. Recite thanks and praise to God.

Five: Realize reactions determine reach.

“And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” (2 Chronicles 20:29-30)

In the midst of it all, King Jehoshaphat honored God with his actions and reactions.

He felt alarmed but stayed resolved. He kept his focus on the Lord. He stayed in the flow of God’s power by being obedient to God’s Word. Though it wasn’t easy, he shifted from having an attitude to practicing gratitude. And his reaction positively affected everyone around him, not only people in his own kingdom, but even those in surrounding countries. This is the kind of leader I want to follow. This is the kind of leader I want to be. Not that I leading a kingdom, but I am influencing the people around me. The interactions I have with my family, my friends, my neighbors, my church, even the checkout clerk at my local grocery store – they matter. My reactions testify to the kind of relationship I have with Jesus and the effect He has on my heart. I’m reminded in the Bible that out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. When my ‘happy’ gets bumped, what’s really going on in my heart is on display. In those times I will either add to the authenticity of my love for Jesus or, sadly, negate it.

In the midst of it all, I want to honor God with my actions and reaction. Our reactions determine our reach.

My hope is for those of you who read this to be encouraged and empowered. We can do all things through Christ who strengths us (Philippians 4:12).

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