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Battle plans and God’s timing

So this whole series has been brewing in my head since last week when I read this quote from A. W. Tozer

“The whole Bible and all past history unite to teach that battles are always won before the armies take the field. The critical moment for any army is not the day it engages the foe in actual combat; it is the day before or the month before or the year before….”  excerpt from The Next Chapter after the Last

and I could just stop right there and let you mull that truth over.

Let it sink deep into your core.

In fact…go ahead and read through it again because it resonates with what we know.

Even as I sit here with my notes of what I want to say to you resting at my elbow, I am picturing one of my favorite movie scenes of all time….the pre-battle “there will be a day…but it is not this day” speech of Aragorn at the Black Gate.

Even if you are not a Lord of the Rings fan, google it because if you are ever facing a rough day …this one is sure to inspire you to carry on.

But I digress.

Because before Tolkien ever imagined such a face off between a small army of good going up against an untold mass of evil, Scripture gives us a beautiful picture of being surrounded with no hope of escape.

My go-to passage when I have my own “Dark Gate” moments is 2 Chronicles 20 which opens with these words…

“It happened after this…

{after what?? after King Jehoshaphat brought about all manner of wonderful reforms to restore order} …

that the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat.”

We are told in the next passage that some came to tell him that “a great multitude is coming against you.”

And Jehoshaphat did what?

He …. feared.

Which, yeah…that would be an appropriate response.

So I look at my own times when too much is coming against me and  threatens “all I hold dear”, as our Lord of the Rings King would say.

All that is precious to me is suddenly under attack and I fear that some power greater than us will take and destroy all of it.

I have not even engaged in the actual battle yet.

I have seemingly lost and the fight hasn’t even started.

So I look at the rest of the passage to see what Jehoshaphat does next and I read that he “set himself to seek the Lord.”

As overwhelming odds stacked against this King, he turned his fear into faith by intentionally taking steps that would lead him into God’s presence, protection, provision.

Tomorrow we will look at those steps a little closer but for today, if you have a few minutes, would you open your Bible and read Chapter 20 for yourself?

Because we have some forces coming against us in large numbers.

To name a few:

  • Broken and bankrupt political systems on state and local levels, not to mention national…
  • Military forces in countries that do not like the U. S. testing out weapons of mass destruction
  • Increasingly violent clashes between citizens in this country and citizens of many other countries
  • Countless refugees around the world and now in our own country as large portions of the south have been wracked with storms and the north west with fires
  • A growing hostility between the Church and the culture and even hostilties  within the Church

There are more. Many more.

Maybe an army rose up around your breakfast table this morning or at the ball game last night.

And then there is our own working out of our salvation with fear and trembling that can sometimes seem like the biggest conflict going as our old nature rears it’s ugly and strong head up against the “new creation” we thought we had become.

In the overwhelming tide of whatever might be rising around you today, would you set yourself to seek the LORD first of all?

I pray we will choose to do that …you and I.

When fear rises, I pray we will not succumb to it nor try to distract ourselves away from it.

I pray…when we see that vast army gathering and rattling their very real and very destructive swords at us and all we hold dear…we will stand firm and set our feet as we set our hearts to seek the Lord our God <3

I look forward to our time together tomorrow as we continue exploring 2 Chronicles 20 <3


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