Richard Gerald Adkins was born July 17, 1931, and died on June 23, 2014. My dad was just three weeks from celebrating his 83rd birthday, which would have been yesterday. Soon after dad died, Phil Walker’s eighteen-year-old grandson, Alex, was found dead in his bed. Debbie Ormonde’s eight-year-old granddaughter, Emma Ritter, with Cystic Fibrosis, had a flare up and was admitted to the hospital. And then, a dear friend, Judy Hampton, asked for prayer. She was given the diagnosis of lung cancer and has two years to live. Disease and death are rampant, like enemy troops, attack us, and remind us of the brevity of life and how essential it is to maintain our position.
King Jehosephat led the Israelites in a literal war against their evil enemies; these same lessons can be applied to today’s spiritual battles. The enemy troops seemed to multiply before the eyes of the king. Vast and impenetrable, the armies of the pagan Moabites, Ammonites and some of the Meunites were not far from attacking King Jehosaphat and the Israelites. Terrified, the king turned to God and prayed. The prayer began with praise as he recognized God as His creator and acknowledged God’s sovereignty and His power. The king’s desperation and commitment to God assured the Hebrew people of God’s presence and certain victory. In 2 Chronicles 19:6, “We can cry out to you to save us and you will hear us and rescue us.”
“Take your position, stand still,” the priest’s son, Jahaziel said, “and watch the Lord’s victory.” God heard King Jehosaphat’s cry for help and revealed unusual instructions for battle through an unlikely vessel. To “stand still” in offensive battle just was not done. However, the people obeyed and if the command would have been given in today’s military terms, he would have said, “Stand down.” The next morning, King Jehosaphat words recorded in 2 Chronicles 19:21: “Believe in the Lord God and you will be able to stand firm.”
If we allow our battles to be fought God’s way, there is no question who will win. The victory has already been won. We need to believe God will conquer our foes. Our natural reaction is to look at the magnitude of our problems, like enemy troops multiplied before the eyes of the king. We might be distracted to focus on the problem and not the solution. If we do this, we fight our battles using the temporary quick-fix methods of the world—words with pat phrases, fad diets, worldly advice, or even ignoring another person’s emotional pain. If we submit and commit the person to God’s plans—stop, stand still, wait, and believe—we expect God to work. When the victory comes, it will be obvious it came from God. Then we celebrate. Remember Beth Moore’s prayer? “Dear Lord, protect my family from everything but God’s glory.” Pray that prayer for yourself and especially those who are facing extreme battles today.
Friend, I shared the battles I am fighting with God’s help, and my heart breaks for those facing disease and death. Those names listed at the beginning of today’s are my prayer requests for today, but there are many more. What battles rage on your field today? Take “time out” to regroup your troops and “stand down.”
Stop. “Cease striving and know I am God,” Psalm 46:10.
Stand still. “Take your position, stand still, and watch the Lord’s victory” 2 Chronicles 19:17.
Wait. “That is why I wait expectantly, trusting God to help, for He has promised,” Psalm 130:5.
Believe. “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm” 2 Chronicles 19:21.
Celebrate. “Then all the men returned to Jerusalem, with King Jehosaphat leading them, overjoyed that the Lord had given them victory over their enemies” 2 Chronicles 19:21.
“Dear Father, thank you for the opportunity to submit to your will today. We choose to “stand down.” I commit all of those who are struggling with disease and death to your plan and give them peace, comfort, and hope in your plans for their future. Thank you for this chance to stop, stand still, wait, and believe. Lord, protect my family and friends from everything but what will glorify you the most. We praise you in advance for the opportunity to celebrate and glorify you. In Jesus’ name, amen.