The Emperor’s New Foes

Successful. Charismatic. Powerful. He redesigned his country’s judicial system from the ground up. He personally led his people in a nationwide spiritual revival. He commanded a standing army that dwarfed that of the United States. He would have been a serious contender for Time’s Man of the Year!

In spite of all that, the instant his recon squad made their report, he knew that he was in over his head. They reported that the combined armies of three neighboring countries had already invaded his country and were dangerously close to the capitol city. Alarmed, he hired a team of consultants….. No. Alarmed, he reinstituted the draft and considered weapons of mass destruction…… Uh.. No.

Alarmed, he called all his people to join him in the capitol- men, women, children.  He asked them to fast and then led them in prayer.

“For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 1 Chronicles 20:12 NIV 1984

And “they stood there before the Lord.” verse 13

The answer came from an unexpected place. A man addressed the king and said he had heard from the Lord.

This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”  verses 15-17

Early the next morning, they looked down across the valley and the enemy camp. Not one man was left standing. They had slaughtered each other to the last man. The victory was more far-reaching than just the outcome of that day’s battle.

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.  And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. 1 Chron 20:29-30

Jehoshaphat knew a few things.

He knew about mission. He devoted his life to making his country one where people had high value and his Lord was central.

He knew about vision. He knew that only by focusing his eyes solely on God could he hope to be successful and to be successful at the right things.

He knew about humility. He knew that he was totally dependent on the power of God in his life.

He knew how to listen to those God sent to support him.

I face challenges today. Do you? 2012 still looms large, a year filled with uncertainty. My job. Staffing. Expenses. Revenue. My family. Distance. Separation. I don’t have all the answers yet. But I know Who does.

I know that with His power I can live and lead in a way that will please Him.

I know that if I keep my eyes focused on Him, everything else will become clear and in a way that makes Him look good.

Unlike the character in the fable that rhymes with the title of this post, Jehoshaphat was not deluded into believing foolish falsehoods, but kept his eyes focused on his Lord, enabling him to recognise and follow truth when he saw it. How about you?

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