When God fights the battle but still calls us to be on the battlefield

Would you describe any circumstances in your life recently as feeling like a battle? Even if you, like me, don’t leave your home much and are simply encountering daily life with your own family, there can be days where it feels like we are fighting for something.

I recently found encouragement and exhortation from a story in 2 Chronicles that I believe can speak truth and perspective into our daily battles. Shortly following a moment of reformation, Jehoshaphat learns that the Ammonites along with others (“a great multitude”) is coming upon Judah for battle (2 Chronicles 12:1-2, ESV). The immediate response of Jehoshaphat is to pray and seek help from the Lord (v.3 – 4). A public prayer concludes with a striking confession.

“For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us” (2 Chronicles 20:12A).

Although we likely relate to feeling like we are in a battle or sorts, I wonder how often we understand our own position against our enemies? Do we truly understand our powerlessness in and of ourselves? How long does it take us to reach this realization so that we seek help from the Lord? Let’s keep reading.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 12:12B).

Situations that create this kind of response, I’ve learned, are very healthy for us. God-ordained circumstances that push us into a greater dependence on the Lord are seldom something we choose, but a sanctifying place to be.

As the people waited for a response from the Lord, he answered prophetically through Jahaziel.

“The battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 12:15).

What comforting words! So, if the battle is the Lord’s, what were the people to do? Just stay in bed?

Hardly. In verse 16, the Lord still commanded his people to “go down against” the great horde of enemies. He still required them to “stand firm” and “hold their position” while seeing the salvation of the Lord on their behalf (verse 17). This call to action, while they did not have to fight, still required courage and faith. As the ESV Study Bible notes, they were being commanded to believe their God in the active and obedient trust that God rewards (Hebrews 11:6).

So what did they do? “They rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness” (2 Chronicles 12:20).

Let’s learn from this and take comfort in this passage, friends. The battle is the Lord’s battle. We do not need to be afraid because God is with us. What a sweet promise!

And, we need to exercise an active and obedient trust by continuing to show up on the battlefield.

So how does this look practically?

It’s usually not hard to figure out what faithfulness looks like in each of our lives. We likely don’t need to search long and hard to find out what we should be doing. Most of us know. We simply need to get to doing it.

So, in my current season – how do I rise early and enter the wilderness? How do I show up for the battle daily?

I’m certainly far from perfect, but I know the ideals I should be aiming towards each day.

For me, this begins with rising before my family and spending time with Jesus. This daily ritual reminds me that the battle is not mine, but the Lord’s to fight. This redirects my attention to my own need for Jesus as I fight the daily battle of showing Jesus to my children as best I can. This refocuses me on truth despite circumstances, emotions, feelings, mental struggles, etc. I need to rise early and hear from the Lord before going out to be faithful.

And what battle am I fighting right now? The main enemy is not another army. Even though my children can seem to embody the power and force of an army at times, they’re not the ones I’m battling. The main battle I face is against my own sin. The main enemy I face is…myself.

And honestly, if I were to focus on the battle and my track record with my own sin, I would become pretty defeated. That’s why I need to rise early and be with Jesus – to remember that Christ has defeated sin and the grave, and the same power that resurrected my Lord now lives in me. It is his spirit that works in me to produce fruit.

I need to show up and be faithful. I need to focus my eyes on the Lord’s deliverance – both in the here and now, as well as in how it will be completed one day in my personal life as well as in the life of the global church. I need to show up to…

  • encourage and inspire my husband
  • read scripture with my children
  • prepare another meal
  • wash the dishes
  • change diapers
  • guide my children in their schoolwork
  • open up a book and read aloud
  • be ready to rearrange my schedule to serve my husband
  • have kind and gentle conversations with immature, growing toddlers
  • redirect bad attitudes
  • pray prayers of repentance for myself and my children as we remind ourselves of how to love one another like Jesus loves us

This is what faithfulness looks like in my life. Neglecting to do these things by staying in bed or scrolling social media all day is not an attitude of love and obedience to a Savior who is fighting the battle for me. And doing these things does not negate the fact that God is the one providing deliverance in the battle of daily life.

God desires that his people move forward in obedience, faithfulness, and perseverance out of a desire to worship the Deliverer-God we love and serve.

So let me challenge you – despite the battle of our own sin, weaknesses, and the trials we face from surrounding circumstances – still show up and be faithful. Still rise early, remind yourself of the Lord doing any and all good things through you, and faithfully go into the wilderness. Why? Because we can confidently know that the Lord is with us, growing our faith and dependence on Him, and growing his kingdom and his fame in the process.

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