MUSINGS WHILE CONCERNING STANDING STILL
Stand Still, The Battle Is Not Yours (Conclusion)
THE CONFESSION AND THE CONFIDENCE
“If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” (2 Chron. 20:9).
When evil or judgment comes, it is often because of sin. We have sinned, and that often and foolishly. The greatest of which is unbelief and a denial of the all sufficiency of God. Our often bewilderment is the result of transgressions. Transgressions chase us away from the Lord and make us aloof. Our thinking becomes defective and we begin to judge the love of God for us by our failures. When sin entered the world, man changed, not God.
Believers need to confess their sins, knowing that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments… As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us… that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth… Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayers of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord’s sake… O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do: defer not, for thine own sake, O my God; for thy city and thy people are called by thy name… O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. (Dan. 9:5, 13, 17-19)
Jehoshaphat, like Daniel, by the grace of God, had learned what the Apostle Paul would later confirm- that nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:35-39).
When God sent Jesus Christ to Golgotha in our stead, He eternally became the captain of our salvation. That being fact, let us be timid no longer, and take bold confidence in this one thing – if God spared not His own Son, who was victorious over all our sins, He surely will fight every other minor skirmish which comes along in this life.
THE ANSWER FROM GOD
Then… came the spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation; and he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. To-morrow go ye down against them… 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. (2 Chron. 20:14-17).
Much of the anguish suffered by the children of God is due to the unwillingness to “set themselves,” and “stand still,” and see Jehovah’s wonderful deliverances. We often start well, but then we look at the enemy and trouble moves us away from our right position, unable to wait until God shows us what to do. Because His will at first may not be clear and precise, the good start is aborted. It is then that our sinful nature quickly reacts to the everyday problems of life without divine leadership. So we then miss the blessed glory of God’s interventions.
Prayers are set forth with great hope, but if the answer is not swift, we cast aside promises of deliverance and try to work out an escape of our own. The result of all this mistrust is disaster and despair.
Why do men think God’s will must be ambiguous? Why are we persuaded with the conviction that the Lord is not going to reveal His will in a crystal clear fashion? Why must we flood the purpose of God with a multitude of human interventions and remedies? Why do we convince ourselves that our Heavenly Father is now shadowed from plain revelation, and aloof with regard to His will? The answer to all these questions is that we do not “set ourselves,” we do not wait for His Spirit to bear witness with our spirit, we do not “stand still,” and we do not “see the salvation of the Lord.”
The actions taken are impetuous surgings of the flesh. We anticipate wrongly God’s purpose. Our doings are acts of pure anxious haste, and then we ask God for His blessing to sanitize our acts of unbelief. We run ahead of God in deliverance, dictate the manner of that deliverance, and then close by saying, “if it be thy will.”
Unbelief will choke out the presence of God and cloud His guidance. Then the baffled believer cries unto Him because all things are against him. The secret to what is right is to “believe in the Lord our God.” Believe he will deliver His saints, but in His own time and in His own way. You need not fight, or get involved in this battle, it is not yours, but God’s. “Stand still,” “set yourself,” until God says, “go out against them, for the Lord will be with you.” This going however needs qualification, least we misunderstand. The children of God go to watch, to sing and praise, to observe the Lord do as He had said. “I will stand upon my watch, and set me upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say unto me…” (Hab. 2:1).
Least someone misinterpret my meaning with respect to the saint’s actions in the battle, it simply means we should do nothing until the Lord has made His will clear with regard to our inclusion in the war. We sin if we “stand still”, when our God says “go.” Stand still until God speaks. Consider neither the enemy, nor his weapons of war. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper… This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” (Is. 54:17).
What possible value has man’s weapons against God? The only time believers get wounded is when they follow their own instincts, and not God’s leadership through the word and Holy Spirit. The child must remember God said, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle.” When the time does come to fight, who is going to give the orders – man or God? Note the number of places in the Bible where God declares the battle is not ours, but His.
The Lord your God which goeth before you, he shall fight for you… Ye shall not fear them: for the Lord your God he shall fight for you… For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you. (Deut. 1:30, 3:22, 20:4). See also Ex. 14:14, 25; Josh. 10:14, 42, 23:3; 1 Sam. 17:47; 2 Chron. 20:29; Neh. 4:20).
Our Father may very well ask – have I changed, do I no longer fight for my own elect? Have I ceased to be gracious and merciful? “For I am the Lord, I change not…” (Mal. 3:6).
Look at the happy results of following the Lord’s bidding, opposed to unbelief, and forging a way for ourselves.
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: In returning and rest shall be ye saved: in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not. But ye said, No; for we will flee upon horses; therefore shall ye flee: and, We will ride upon the swift; therefore shall they that pursue you be swift. (Is. 30:15-16).
When by faith the redeemed trust their God, and wait for Him to will and to do, the conclusion is safety and peace. “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chron. 20:15).
And when he had consulted with the people, he 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 endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah… (2 Chron. 20:21-22).
Faith now rules with power and unshakable confidence. It recognizes that God is worthy of unqualified trust and holy reverence. This type of faith is truly a miracle of the Lord. The power of the enemy, their superior military equipment, and their greater numbers of fighting men did not daunt these convinced believers. Trials and severe testings only made their faith to multiply and grow until it was strong, giving glory to God.
When the time for warfare has come, we usually think of imposing weapons, and a systematic strategy to overrun our adversary. Much planning is involved in man’s methods of attack. Our nature accepts the idea that the robust and strong will always prevail, while the weak and less gifted will be crushed by the onslaught of the forceful enemy. This is almost always true when unbelieving nations or men fight against each other; however, when God fights the battles for His loved ones, none of these so-called superior distinctions and attributes matter. They are absolutely powerless and of no value when they war against Jehovah and His chosen.
God did not command Jehoshaphat to gather together great amounts of warlike artillery. He did not order the people to deal in maneuvers that even remotely reflected military actions. His command was that they “go out before the army,” singing and praising the holiness and mercy of the Lord. Strange armor was this to take into a battle of such magnitude. Strange indeed to the natural man, but to the children of faith this is the armor of God. Faith dresses in this armor at all times because these garments cause believers to be strong and mighty in the Lord. The children of faith become more than conquerors through Christ Jesus the Lord. “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God.” That armor is trust, righteousness, the Gospel, faith, salvation, and the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Eph. 6:10-17).
Jehoshaphat and all Judah believed in the Lord their God. They believed what He said, and trusted that the outcome of the battle was certain. Faith caused them to rejoice in victorious praises and triumph even before the battle had started. This is what genuine faith comprehends and believes when God speaks. Faith trusts that by hearing the words of the Lord, there is no need to fear because God will let His great salvation be seen by all who have faith in Him – salvation from daily trials, as well as salvation for eternity. Paul said that those who God called according to His purpose could now consider themselves glorified.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified. (Rom. 8:28-30).
… and they were smitten. For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, everyone helped to destroy another. And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked into the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped. And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much… Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies… 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 Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about. (2 Chron. 20:22-25, 27, 29-30).
Because it was the Lord’s battle, the victory was certain. Faith unfeigned knew God would do as He had promised. How the Lord would bring about the victory was not known to His people when they went out before the army. They marched forward nonetheless with assurance that passed understanding. The Almighty God had taught them, “If God be for us, who can be against us?”
Jehovah, in His all-wise counsel, had so wonderfully decreed the military campaign that all Israel must have stood in adoring wonder. The multitude of their enemies would destroy themselves, turn and devour one another, while the faithful children of God made their way to the watch tower in the wilderness. There they watched the ungodly consume each other. (vs. 23-24). Who is like unto our God, who does great things, wonderful and past finding out. So complete was the battle that none of these adversaries escaped.
The Lord may not reveal how He will bring His counsels to pass, but He can do whatsoever He hath pleased, nothing is too hard for the Lord. Two Psalms come to mind in this great display of God’s wondrous mercy.
“Arise, O Lord, in thine anger, lift up thyself because of the rage of mine enemies: and awake for me to the judgment that thou hast commanded… He hath also prepared for him the instruments of death; he ordaineth his arrows against the persecutors. Behold, he travaileth with iniquity, and hath conceived mischief, and brought forth falsehood. He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made. His mischief shall return upon his own head, and his violent dealing shall come down upon his own pate. I will praise the Lord according to his righteousness: and will sing praise to the Lord most high. (Ps. 7:6, 13-17).
See also Psalm 44.
For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favor unto them… Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us. For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me. But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us. In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah. (vs. 3, 5-8).
“The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (Prov. 10:22). First, the Lord made that which appeared to be against His people, the instrument used to bring about a stunning and glorious victory. Then in blessings greater than expectation, He added abundant substance to His children. Oh! how much we suffer and lose when we fight battles with our own strength. On the other hand, what magnificent blessings and rewards of grace are ours when we trust in the Lord, and “stand still,” and see His amazing and replete salvation.
Ponder in your heart and mind these portions of God’s word. “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us… (1 Cor. 2:9; Eph. 3:20). Would to God we might grasp the depth of these verses. Oh! how we limit God by sight and unbelief – constantly looking at the multitude that comes against us and always departing from the faith. Our tendency in times of affliction is to put confidence in man and in his institutions, forsaking the great and precious promises because faith in the unseen just does not “stack up,” to what is called “good old common sense.”
All the promises of God in Christ Jesus are yea, and in Him amen. (2 Cor. 1:20). It is unusual faith, God-wrought faith, that can receive such immense promises. So much is available to true faith in this life that if we were to “stand still” and watch God fight for us, we would be amazed with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Our life in this world is not long enough to scoop up and gather in the splendid riches we have in and through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Not only were the present enemies squashed by the Lord, but other nations also took fearful notice and would not venture toward the people of God. They saw the clear vision that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel. (vs. 29).
The redeemed of God returned to Jerusalem with joy and rejoicing in their hearts. Jehoshaphat was in the forefront. He led in seeking, asking, praying, and trusting in God, and God honored him with great ability to lead the people. Victory came from the Lord, as well as rest and peace.
Is not the Lord worthy of the same worship today? Should it not be our diligent pursuit to render unto God the faith that is worthy of Him? May God strike out the blindness and vile unbelief from which we so often suffer. Amen.
To all that seek to trust God with their complete confidence, there is a warning that must be addressed. The promises of God are absolute and cannot be overturned. The warning we need to observe is that we may, by God’s perfect pleasure and purpose, wait a long time to see their fulfillment.
The trying process is the work and counsel of the Lord. He will bolster a portion of scripture in the inner man, highlight the contents in each phrase, and enhance the desire for its fruition. The Spirit will cause the promise to be worn like a jewel around the heart. Not a day will pass when the heart is not panting for its satisfaction. The child of faith is tried by the very thing he longs after. “Until the time that his word came: the word of the Lord tried him.” (Ps. 105:19).
One of the most powerful tools God uses in the discipline of His elect is time. HOW LONG? That cannot be answered but this much can be settled, it will be greater for us by waiting. “Make us glad according to the days wherein thou hast afflicted us, and the years wherein we have seen evil.” (Ps. 90:15). See also Is. 30:18, 40:31.