“ Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding”.
Here we are after four months of ‘lockdown’. How has it been for you? Whilst we welcome the lifting of some restrictions giving a glimpse of normality, there is still the need for caution. We are not yet ‘out of the wood’ and a resurgence of the virus is still possible. What are we to do? May we, or may we not, do this or that? In II Chronicles 20 we read of King Jehoshaphat faced with a threat from the Moabites, Ammonites and some of the Meunites. He prayed, and concluded his prayer with words that I sometimes find myself using: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (v12). That is how it must be with us.
The chapter tells us three ways in which Jehoshaphat exercised his leadership of Judah, ways in which we can see that his eyes were indeed upon the Lord.
Firstly, his trust in God (v20): “Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.’”
“Have faith in the Lord your God” – now, as Christians, we know that – do we really? Are we ready to trust God with absolutely everything – even if it means surrendering to him our own wisdom and preferences?
Secondly, his diligence (v20): “Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa”.
I never used to procrastinate, that is until I retired. There is always tomorrow. Moreover, nowadays I am less familiar with ‘early in the morning’. But Jesus was!
As Christians we need to be diligent in serving the Master, eager to be available, eager to be blessed and to be a blessing. The Israelites took 40 years to make a journey that could have been accomplished in a matter of weeks. How many opportunities might the Church have missed through a lack of diligence?
Thirdly, we notice his weakness (v12): “we have no power to face this vast army”. The world despises weakness; we must be successful, popular, macho; we must accomplish and achieve. The apostle, Paul, had many fine attributes and abilities but he had to come to the point of learning that God’s grace was sufficient for him, for God’s power is made perfect (complete) in weakness (II Corinthians 12:9). So, let us not despise or be ashamed of our weakness, but rather surrender it to the Lord so that he may accomplish in us so much more than we ever could on our own.
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon the Lord. So let us move forward in trust, with diligence and, yes, even in weakness – and to God be all the glory!