“God’s mercy is only 20 inches away.”
In my opinion, these words were among the most profound spoken at Together 2016 held last week on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Pastor Louie Giglio pointed to our nation’s most recent tragedies headlined by news outlets across the country. While we as a nation search for solutions to resolve the ills of our society, he noted that we often look for hope in the wrong places.
From Wall Street to Hollywood, to the steps of The White House, our search is futile and useless if we neglect the divine. The shortest journey we can take to find what our desperate souls cry out for is the simple act of bowing our knees to the ground in humble surrender to God. His full prayer is found here.
Lawn chairs were pushed aside and picnic blankets became knee pads as thousands of my brothers and sisters knelt before God in prayer.
What Do You Do When Terror Comes for You
Pastor Louie shared the plan of King Jehoshaphat against terror, and how through our weakness God’s power becomes evident (2 Chronicles 20).
In case you are not familiar with the story of King Jehoshaphat, here is a brief recap:
Jehoshaphat was the 4th King of the Kingdom of Judah and ruled after his father Asa. He followed his father’s example and commitment to serving God. While he was a good king who enjoyed some military success, he made the mistake of making an alliance with an evil king by the name of Ahab, which almost cost him his life. In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat faces the greatest crisis he has ever known as a leader: 3 armies are on their way to annihilate King Jehoshaphat and his people. Needless to say, when King Jehoshaphat heard the news of the impending attack, he was terrified – but he had a “master” plan.
When the Enemy Comes in Like a Flood
King Jehoshaphat set himself to seek the Lord. He called for the entire nation to fast and pray. While in prayer, he proclaimed that God was the Ruler of kingdoms and nations. He declared that power and might was in God’s hand, and that no one could stand against Him. King Jehoshaphat cried out to God – our enemies are coming after us and the land given to us as an inheritance. He admitted that they didn’t know what to do. He admonished the nation to come together and look to God.
During the prayer, the Lord provided them with a strategy against the approaching armies. The Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel and he shared God’s word for the hour.
“Do not be afraid, do not be dismayed for the battle is not yours but God’s. You will not need to fight this battle. Stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord.”
Second Chronicles chapter 20 goes on to say that the singers went out ahead of the army. Can you imagine this enormous battle scene? A group of singers facing multiple armies? Can you see the worship leaders on the front lines of the war with nothing visible to protect them? They followed God’s instruction and were armed with a song.
As the people began to lift their voices aloud in praise to God, the scripture says that the Lord sent an ambush against the three armies. An ambush is described as a surprise attack. Imagine the faces of the armies as the singers began to worship God. The songs of praise confused the armies and they began to attack one another. Jehoshaphat and his men were unharmed because of their obedience to God!
So, what’s the play call?
In these uncertain times, Follow King Jehoshaphat’s strategy against terror:
- Admit that you don’t know what to do! A lot of times we as humans think we already know all the answers. The reality is that our vision is often limited if we don’t ask God for his direction.
- Seek the Lord in prayer and call for a family fast. Yes, I can admit fasting will be a sacrifice, but we will have to give up something in order to make room for something better in our lives.
- Remind God of his Word and his promises, specifically to you and your family.
- Ask God for strategy and then get in a quiet place to receive his instruction.
- Send your song of praise to God ahead of you and watch it fight for you.