Let Steadfastness Do Its Work
"And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said, “O Lord, 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, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’" 2 Chronicles 20:5-9
Judah's king heard frightening news: his enemy was on the move and on the horizon. They were coming for the city of God.
I wonder if the weight of the kingdom and the fear of losing everything he held dear was what brought this son of Asa to his knees in desperate dependence on the Lord. Jehoshaphat knew he was powerless before the enemies of the Lord and so he fixed his eyes on his King:
"O our God, will you not execute judgment 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.”
He believed in the promises of God, he remembered the covenant, and he called upon the name of the Lord. The horde surely was on the way, but it stood no chance against the will and the hand of God.
"Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the wrath of my enemies, and your right hand delivers me." Psalm 138:7
Friends, do you face any horde? Are you waiting for an onslaught of difficulty or grief? Do you feel powerless and not know what to do? Or perhaps you feel battered by life's discouragements or oppressed by a certain sin. Oh, that we might all fall on our faces and then stand like Jehoshaphat and remember our God who fights for and protects those who are his own possession. That we would turn our eyes to Jesus, his Redeemer, who secured the victory once and for all, for those who believe. The Good Shepherd is also a Warrior who always wins and who will never forsake you in any battle.
"No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord and their vindication from me, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17
Dear believer, do not fret the future or any present troubles. Receive whatever it is that Almighty God brings your way. Receive his providence with humility and meekness, for from this posture you will find the mysteries of contentment and joy.
I write to you today in the trenches of this sort of battle myself. I need God, in his mercy, to forgive and heal. I need his help to replace bad habits and I'm looking to him to defend me and my family from all discouragements we have to endure. And isn't that what all of life is? Surely it is full of repentance and endurance by faith in Jesus. For he alone will satisfy us and fulfill his many promises to us. He will bring all of his own to glory. We are never without this blessed hope.
"Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." James 1:2-4
Let steadfastness have its full effect -- these words are like honey to me right now. Oh, that we might receive with joy each and every thing that comes to us, knowing in our deepest place that whatever it is, good or bad, it comes from the sovereign hand of God. I want to be a believer who lets go of fear and control enough to see the work of steadfastness. I want to be someone who can see a hard thing coming and instead of react in anger meet it with much patience and an eternal perspective. Be encouraged, the Lord is near and he is able! With his ever-present help we can be set free.
I highly recommend Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth's podcast, Revive Our Hearts, and particularly her recent ten-part series on the topic of meekness. She draws heavily upon the classic work on the subject by Matthew Henry, "A Discourse on Meekness and Quietness of Spirit," also linked below. I have been so convicted and blessed by both of these resources and trust you will be too!
You'll find the Meekness series on the page above, as it was mostly published in the month of July (2021).
I don't know about you, but the more time goes on in my life I'm realizing (from failure!) the importance of a gentle and quiet spirit: one that is meek before God and man. One that responds with an already renewed mind, ready gracious words, and a temperance that is from God.
Oh Lord, do this work in our hearts for your name's sake. Amen.