Life can be difficult. Being a Christian in a non-Christian world poses all kinds of problems. The world does not know Jesus. The world does not love Him. The world does not understand why He came. You, on the other hand, do know Jesus. You do love Him. And, you do understand why He came. He came to save you from your sins and to give you new life. He came to bring you peace and joy in the Spirit. He came so you might have fellowship with God.
These things you already know. And you also know that though you are saved from sin and filled with the Spirit of God, life in this world still is not perfect. It is still difficult.
The Christian is, in a sense, in a battle with the world. And the world is at war with the Christian -- with you. The world offers vices, self-fulfilment, and greed. The world wants to convert you to its paganism, to its ungodly devotion to the unholy. And if you don't conform, if you don't bend the knee to its idols and sacrifices, you will be ridiculed, mocked, and attacked.
So the world is against you. The evil one is at war with you. And in the battle there are all sorts of struggles. On the inside, you struggle against sin: pride, lust, greed, boasting, and various wantings. On the outside, you struggle against illness, poverty, marriage problems, job difficulties, an unsure future, and more. Maybe right now you are facing a serious struggle. Or maybe you’ve recently had to deal with a difficult situation. Maybe you fear that one is coming.
As a Christian, what do you do when life is coming down on you hard, when there seems to be no way out, when your relationship with God is being affected? When you are worried or afraid? When you are in distress?
What do you do when you are facing such monumental obstacles? How do you resist temptation, flee from evil, or believe beyond your ability to understand how your problems can be solved?
The answer lies in the Word of God.
Context: Israel and Judah were divided.
Jehoshaphat was the 4th king of the separated kingdom of Judah around 850 to 875 B.C. He was a zealous follower of the commandments of God. In his 3rd year he sent out certain princes, priests, and Levites, to go through all the cities of Judah, teaching the people out of the Book of the Law. Because he sought the Lord, riches and honors increased around him. "Jehoshaphat sought the Lord with all his heart," (2chr. 22:9)
· Moab, Ammon, and the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat.
· Jehoshaphat was afraid; and rightly so, for the army approaching him was indeed a mighty one, beyond what he would be able to handle. He was in trouble.
Read 2 Chronicles 20, verses 1-9, 14-15, 22-23, 30
1. You should trust God and not fear because of who He is. Please look with me at v. 6.
"And he [Jehoshaphat] said, 'O Lord, the God of our fathers, art Thou not God in the heavens? And art Thou not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Thy hand so that no one can stand against Thee.
1. '"Jehovah is:
1. "...the God of our Fathers"
1. of Adam and Eve, of Noah, of Abraham, of Moses
2. Therefore, He is the God of History.
2. He also lives in heaven;
1. Therefore, He is the God of Holiness. Heaven is the holy dwelling place of God.
2. Therefore, He is above all things. He is pure, righteous, and incapable of sin.
3. He is also the ruler of all the nations;
1. Therefore, He is the God of Sovereignty. All kings and peoples are His. And as such He has the right to rule them as He pleases.
4. He is all powerful;
1. Therefore, He is the God of power.
1. He can do as He wishes. He can create or destroy. Raise up or tear down.
2. Who is God to you?
1. Is He big or small?
2. Is He all powerful or is He a wimp?
3. Does He love you or does He just put up with you?
3. How you perceive God affects how you respond to Him.
1. The people of Judah knew who God was and that is why they looked to Him and trusted Him.
2. In other words, you should trust God because He is holy; He is a King; and He is all powerful, and because He loves you very much.
2. You should trust God and not fear not only because of who He is but also because of what He has already done.
Please look with me at verse 7, "Did Thou not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Thy people Israel, and give it to the descendants of Abraham Thy friend forever?"
1. God has already accomplished great things:
1. He gave the land of Canaan to the descendants of Abraham.
1. God chose Abraham and promised him he would be a great nation.
2. God raised up Moses and, through many miracles, delivered His people from the bondage of the Egyptians. He parted the Red Sea; He destroyed the Egyptians.
3. God raised up Joshua and the Hebrew armies to take the land of Canaan. And there, God planted them in the land that they might bear fruit as His chosen people so they could worship Him, honor Him, serve Him, and prepare the way of the Messiah.
4. The Hebrew could reach down, grab a hand full of dirt, and touch the promise, feel the reality of God's accomplishments. He could touch the promise!
5. *** Because the Hebrews knew God and what He had already done for them, they sought Him again.
Then look at what they did...
1. They sought God, v. 12, "O our God, wilt thou not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee."
2. They praised God, v. 19, "And the Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice."
3. They put their trust in God, v. 20, "...Jehoshaphat stood and said, 'Listen to Me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the LORD your God and you will be upheld....'"
4. They gave thanks to God, v. 21, "And he said, 'Give thanks to the LORD, for His loving kindness is everlasting."
2. What do you do when you face trials and tribulations? Do you praise God? Do you put your trust in Him? Do you give thanks to God?
1. Did you know that a Christian's true character is often revealed when he faces a real problem? How do you handle your problems? Do you panic? Do you complain? Do you raise your fist in the air and shout at God? Do you begin to doubt and then run for a quick fix (run to a sin, the television, or "not talk about it")?, or do you go the Lord in prayer, humility, praise, and trust, and refuse to give fear and worry any place?
3. As you can see, God had already done great things for the Hebrew people. He has already done great things for you as well... and more.
1. He has delivered you from the enemy called sin, by redeeming you through His Son.
2. He has brought you out of the land of the Valley of the Shadows of Death and given you a place to rest, and caused you to lie down on green pastures.
3. He has taken your heart, at one time the home of evil, and delivered it into the hands of His Son, Jesus.
1. The cross is the only reason you have for any hope of deliverance from any conflict, problem, battle, or worry.
2. The cross is the absolute guarantee of God's commitment to you. You will never be forsaken. You cannot be forsaken; you cannot be forgotten by God.
4. They were delivered from the mere threat of mortal death. You have been delivered from the threat of eternal death.
1. They were delivered from an enemy that sought to kill them.
2. You have been delivered from an enemy that has sought to have you damned.
3. The cross, the blood, the pain, the humiliation of Jesus 2000 years ago has bought you peace, safety, and security in the land of promise: eternal life with God.
5. This battle so long ago was not only an attempt by Satan to destroy God's people then, but it was also an attempt to destroy you now. No messianic line, no Messiah, no salvation. Then you are lost, too.
6. God has given you salvation.
1. Will He do any less for you when you face difficulties in your life?
2. Will He let you be destroyed? No!
1. How do you handle sin, sickness, heartbreak, pain, uncertainty, etc...
2. Do you trust God or do you doubt? Hasn't He fed you, clothed you, and warmed you?
3. Hasn't He freed you from your sin?
1. God has called you not that He might forsake you, but that He might sanctify you, make you holy, and that you might enjoy Him forever.
2. Because He loves you... very much.
3. You should trust in the Lord and not fear not only because of who He is and what He has already done, but also because of what He will do.
1. The people of Judah did not know what would happen. But they trusted in the Lord.
Please look with me at:
1. v. 15 - Do not fear or be dismayed... for the battle is not yours but God's.
2. v. 17 - Stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf (v. 17).
3. These were statements in the future tense. These were God's words of Promise!!
2. So they people rested, they feared not.
3. v. 30 - So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides
Is God any different now? Are His words of Promise any less true?
· "Come to Me all who are heavy laden and I will give you rest," (Mathew 11:28)
· He said that His words will not pass away (Mark 13:31)
· He said that He would raise you up on the last day (John 6:40)
· He said that whatever you asked in His name would be given to you. (John 14:14)
· He said He would disclose Himself to you. (John 14:2)
· He said that He would reveal the Father to you. (Mathew 11:27)
· And He said He would return in the clouds and that every eye will see Him. (Mark 13:27)
Because of who God is and what He has already done for you, you can trust Him even more for the future and have no fear that He will continue to uphold you, love you, and continue His wonderful loving plan in your life.
Will you trust Him? How much will you trust Him? How much will you rest in Him? It's up to you.