Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Battle is Not Mine

            My business took a pretty hard hit. It was so hard it nearly knocked me down. I asked myself if all that I have been struggling with, all the weight and the pressure that I faced with this business, was it really worth it? Since the first of the year it has been a constant battle. It seems like every day I am faced with a new problem, a new fire to put out, and a new issue to handle. Every day I am flat on my face before the Lord, begging and pleading for His mercy and strength to get me through another day. Every day I get off my knees and I take up my sword because the battle is not mine, it is the Lord’s. I will not go quietly. I will fight.
            Ten years ago, even five years ago, you would not have heard those words come out of this mouth. In fact, I am pretty sure, had I had this business ten years ago, I would have walked away by now. I would not have stood up, nor would I have chosen to fight. I would have caved under the pressure and bowed out in humble defeat. But something has changed in me. God has done a work in me and here I stand, armor on and sword in hand. I stand today, ready and willing to fight.
            “After the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and behold, they are in Hazazontamar (that is Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” 2 Chronicles 20:1-4 ESV
            Jehoshaphat found himself faced with battle. Everyone is coming after him and his people. He is faced with war, there is no escape; it is at his doorstep. He has battled before, and gone to war before, but this time, the bible tells us, he was afraid. Last week, I was afraid. I found my heart shaken to its core and a fear for the security and future of my business overtook me. It made its way through every fiber of my being. I was afraid, so I set my face to seek the Lord.  
            Fear happens my fellow warrior. Even the bravest of warriors will admit to being afraid. Fear is the beginning of the battle, that moment when we look up at the army encamped around us and we see no way of escape. Fear happens, but it shouldn’t stay. Jehoshaphat was afraid but that fear didn’t stop him, it may have set upon him, but it did not overtake him. Fear drove him to his knees. He did not run because of it. He turned his fear into a plea. Fear brought me to my knees, but faith and trust in who my God is will not allow me to stay there!
            “And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, ‘O God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You. Did You not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for Your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you- for Your name is in this house- and we cry out to you in our affliction, and You will hear and save.” 2 Chronicles 20:5-9
            Jehoshaphat prayed to God and recounted His promises to Israel. As I stood staring at the army surrounding me, at the battle raging before me, I remembered the Lord’s promises. I remembered the purpose and the reason why I started this business in the first place. I recalled all the storms He had brought me through and all the trials and struggles I had already faced. I remembered His protection and most importantly, I remembered His grace.
            No matter what disaster came upon me, no matter the weight of the battle before me, He always heard my cry and He never once failed to save me. For His name sake, I am here today, and for His name sake, Lord willing, I will still be here tomorrow.
            “And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy- behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will You not execute judgement on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” 2 Chronicles 20:10-12
            The enemy is not your friend. His desire is to kill you, to destroy your hope and steal your joy. He does not want to see you succeed. Your success in this life does not help him, it does not further his cause. Your success glorifies God. The more God grows you; the more God uses you, the more the enemy hates you. He wants to destroy your very name off the face of the earth. Not because of what you have done, but because of the testimony of God who is working through you. You are a light that shines brighter with each passing day. He wants to destroy you and destroy the light that is in you, forever and ever. He wants to drive you out and extinguish the flame of Jesus Christ from off this earth, and you, my friend, are in his way.
            I am powerless to fight him. Since the fall of Adam and Eve, I have never been able to withstand him. My sin, my failures, my guilt and my shame have been all the ammunition he has needed to keep the fire extinguished. Until that one day- that one day when I cried out and claimed the name of Jesus Christ. On that day, God sent down His power; His Holy Spirit to give me the strength, the ability and the determination to stand up and fight. I did not know what to do, but my eyes were fixed on Him, and that’s where they have been ever since.
            “Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeleil, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, ‘Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold they will come up y the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” 2 Chronicles 20:13-17
            The Lord hears your cry. He sees the enemy approaching, He sees the battle lines being drawn. But take heart, my fellow warrior, do not be afraid, for the battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s. You do not have to fight this battle alone. The Lord is with you. You do not have to be dismayed, for He has gained the victory. Stand up my friend, stand up and fight. Don’t let fear overtake you, don’t let it lie to you and tell you it would be easier if you just give up. Stand up and fight. Stand firm, hold your ground and hold onto Him who has already gained the victory. The battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s.
            “Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites, and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established, believe his prophets, and you will succeed.’” 2 Chronicles 20:18-20

            The burden is not yours to carry. The battle is not yours to fight. Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established. Believe in the Lord your God, in the promises He has given you, stand up my fellow warrior, stand up and fight! You will be established, and this war will end. Believe His word, stand firm, and He will be your success until the very end. Take up your sword my friend; for the battle is not yours, it is the Lord’s. Amen.