Month: July 2010

Run headlong into the arms of victory

Run Headlong into the Arms of Victory-
II Chronicles 20

Beyond the base of the cliff is a nation, as thick as stars shinning in the clear night sky. The rhythmic vibrations of the encampment swell as they dance together in symphonic harmony. Vibrant notes explode from their instruments racing to unite with the voices that flood the crisp morning air. Their offerings of praise soar to the throne of heaven born on the wings of angels, who lay them at the feet of their Creator.

This assembly of has not gathered to celebrate a marriage or observe a feast. Spread just beyond their encampment is an immense army. Three nations have formed an alliance, arraying themselves for battle with the intent of slaughtering every man, woman, and child withing their camp.

Hours earlier, the realization of war had enveloped the kingdom in a thick blanket of terror. Fear had swept from house to house engulfing everyone like a plague, but dread was replaced with hope and rejoicing when they received an unexpected promise. After Jehoshaphat their king received news of the advancing armies, scripture says he “feared” and then “set himself to seek the Lord.” V3 In response to the humble reply of their King, all of Judah followed his example. Unified as a nation, they gathered together and cried out to the Lord for Help. II Chronicles 20 records the desperate yet hopeful prayer of a King, condemned to a bloody and violent defeat, unless the heavens opened and Jehovah God came down and intervened on their behalf. Jehoshaphat walked into the center of camp, fell on his face before the Lord, and cried out for mercy. The Lord heard his cry and the Spirit of the Lord came into the midst of the people and the Lord responded, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s….Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them for the Lord will be with you.” V14-17

Now in the early morning hours, Israel has respond in faith to the promise d victory. They have prepared themselves for battle and the King stands in the midst of them with final instructions. “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”V20 Jehoshaphat then gatheres his entire kingdom together and his next command demonstrates the empowering nature of a faith rooted in power of the true and living God. II Chronicles records that Jehoshaphat “…appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endured forever.”V21

Did you notice to whom the king assigned the task of leading his people into battle? The army has been shuffled to the back of the military procession while those armed with nothing more than the weapon of faith have rush forward. Their battle cry is the praise and proclamation of the beauty and Holiness of the Lord. It is under this banner of faith and praise, not military might,the nation of Judah advances into battle. Fast forward now to the end of this story, one as mysterious and glorious as the beginning. “And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten…and none escaped….and the people came to take away the spoil of them…more than they could carry…and they were three days in gathering the spoil, it was so much…..And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of the Israel….”V22-29

Israel was thrust into a conflict they could neither escape or win. With terror in their hearts they cried out to God for mercy and he fulfilled his promise to hear the cry of a humble and contrite nation who calls out to him. He responded to their cry for mercy and gave assurance of divine deliverance. Israel responded to His words of hope with obedience, celebrating and proclaiming the glory of the Lord who would deliver them before they ever set foot onto the battle field. The Lord commanded “Sit still and see”so the king moved their only source of strength and confidence to the back of the line and for once the army was last onto the field of battle. Weaponless, venerable, and weak, those who sang led their nation and the army to the edge of the battle field. As they stood singing, watching, unmoved and empty handed, their enemies were vanquished before their eyes, the spoils of war left for the taking.

We are weak and vunerable. We face battles and enemies we can not escape from or destroy. We serve the same God who delivered the nation of judah and like them, he has a promise for us. He has said when we are weak and afraid, he will be our strength.
II Cor 12:9
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee:
for my strength is made perfect in weakness.
Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities,
that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

When we are abandoned, left to face our giants alone, he will not leave us or fail to intervene on our behalf.
Heb 13:5
I will never leavethee, nor forsake thee.

He has promised that trials will come but when we pass through the fire and water, at the end of our struggles and we will find find a wealthy place.
Ps 66:12
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads;
we went through fire and through water:
but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

When we lack and have nothing he tells us to open our mouths wide and he will fill them.
Ps 81:10
I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt:
open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it.

Victory is ours to claim, death has be swallowed up.
I Cor 15:55-57
O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
…But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

If you have no strength, if your hands are empty, He who filled the depths can fill you. If your heart quakes in fear, your body ravaged with scars from battle, He who healed the sick and made whole the lame, knows your pain and can heal every wound. If you are weary and despair life itself, you are where you need to be. Lift your voice in praise and adoration for “the beauty and holiness of the Lord.” Discard your earth bound weapons and abilities and march to the front line of battle. Sing to the Lord and gaze in wonder as He intervenes on your behalf. Grace will rain down, weary hands will be lifted up, feeble knees will be strengthened, victory is assured, and the spoils of war will be yours.

Lift your eyes to heavens, where the source of your help and strength
Resides, and RUN HEADLONG INTO THE ARMS OF VICTORY!

PSALM 121
I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
He will not suffer thy foot to be moved:
he that keepeth thee will not slumber.

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