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  We can do it!

In 2Chronicles 20:1-20 we see the people of Israel really up against it. It’s a picture of how we can feel at times.

At the beginning of the chapter the king and people faced a challenge - an enemy too large for them to deal with (vs:2). Does that sound familiar?

Alarmed? I should think they were.
So what did they do?

The king’s course of action presents some important principles that can encourage and guide us as we face the challenges that life can bring our way.

 Let’s look at them in the order they appear in the passage:

 

1: Called together

Firstly, the king called the people together for a time of prayer and fasting (vs.3-4). This emphasises the importance of fellowship, the importance of being part of the Body of Christ in a particular place so that we can be called together. A church prayer meeting is a good example of this, though there are times, like the national crisis facing Israel that calls for larger or more sacrificial gatherings.

 And, this was a call to prayer AND fasting. Throughout the Bible prayer AND fasting play an important part in victory, and is something that could be a bigger priority for many of us.

2: Prayer together

Then, having gathered the people together, the king took the initiative and went to God in prayer (vs.6-12). Always a good place to start when you have a challenge too big for you.

But how did he pray?

In his prayer the king first acknowledged God’s greatness and power, and he reminded God of his promises.

Then he told God about the problem, and he acknowledged their dependence on Him as a people for the solution to their problem.

He finished the prayer with these words: “...we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (vs12).

That’s a good place to be,
to admit that we have come to the end of our own resources and we need God. Not an easy place to be in surrounded as we are with so many alternative resources to God.

This isn't an excuse to do nothing but, like similar crises for God’s people in the Bible, it's an acknowledgement of our dependence on God. This done, we can then be at peace and respond to his leading and act accordingly. As St Paul says…don't be anxious but bring your problems to God in prayer, not forgetting to thank him for his continued goodness and steadfast love, then God's peace will keep you in a place where you can more easily continue trusting him and take what action is needed to deal with the problem (see Philippians 4:6-7).

 3: All together

The whole community came together to deal with the crisis. In fact in verse 13 it says…All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

The ‘whole community’!

That’s almost an impossibility most of the time. It’s hard enough sometimes to get two or three Christians to agree together about anything they ask for so that it will be done for them in heaven (see Matthew 18:19).

But these people were desperate!

You have to be desperate as an intelligent human being to come to a place where you’re prepared to admit “...we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you” (vs12).

The whole community, but why were children and little ones so important in this exercise?

This crisis involved the whole community. They were all at risk, including the children. And when we are part of a church family, though not everyone will be directly involved in our particular problem, when one suffers the whole body suffers (1Corinthains 12:26). Also, Jesus said that unless we become as little children we will not enter his kingdom. Children are important to God, they can pray, and we need to learn to hear God through them. 

4: Stand together

The people acknowledged their dependence on God and stood together in humility before him. Then the prophet brought God’s solution:

 a: The task is God’s (vs.15) - he wants people saved! (1Timothy 2:4).

b: God has the strategy if we take time to listen (vs.16-17).

5: Work together

"Go out to face them tomorrow", says the prophet, "and the LORD will be with you."

 Church or individual problems need to be faced this way, but not before we acknowledge God's goodness and thank him (vs18-19).

Encouraged, they set off together to tackle the crisis, and then comes further encouragement. The king outlines two vital principles that are a key to everything we do (vs20):

a: “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld (or established)” ie: the foundation of our faith is our trust in God and his Word.

b: “Have faith in his prophets and you will be successful” ie: in every situation we need that ‘living’ word from God.

6: Rejoice together

Then comes the outworking of God's battle strategy - praise brought the victory (vs21-22) because praise lifted up God in the situation and he scattered the enemy.

 Their praise also kept them focussed on God and not on the enemy. It glorified God and reminded them of his greatness.

In particular - praise affected the balance of power in the heavenlies and brought victory.

Praise, along with thanksgiving, gives us the 'feel good' factor, it's part of the package Paul outlined for the Philippians (Philippians 4:6-7). It helps to bring us and keep us in a better place of trust in God to pray and take the action required.

 

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