Daily Devotion - Wednesday, February 24, 2016
15 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... 17 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.’” - 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17
In today's Old Testament lectionary reading, the ancient Hebrew people are facing insurmountable odds. Neighboring tribes are threatening to attack them, and they are outnumbered. The leaders of the Hebrew people pray to God for help, and they are given a prophetic answer to their prayers.
"Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army," the prophet declares to them, "For the battle is not yours, but God's." Then he goes on to say, "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you..."
Lately, I've been keenly aware of how so many people walk around feeling outnumbered and overwhelmed. I've had more than one conversation with couples whose marriages are falling apart. I've stood next to people at the bedside of their dying loved ones. I've embraced people who have been given a bad diagnosis, and who are full of fear and dread. I've tried my best to counsel those who are struggling with financial hardships.
The list of things that leave us feeling outnumbered and overwhelmed is long and terrible. And for many of us, there have been more than a few moments in our lives when we've felt as though we're staring down a vast, opposing army bent on our destruction. But like those Israelites of old, we are called to not rely on our own strength--because truthfully we can't. Instead, we are called to rely fully on God, and to have the courage to step forward believing that God will fight for us.
If you are feeling overwhelmed today, take heart. The battle before you is not yours to fight. Time after time, God teaches his children that when we trust him, when we put our faith in him, when we step forward believing that God is before us, behind us, all around us and in us... we don't ever have to be afraid--in spite of the odds against us.
May you be filled with courage today to face the "armies" before you. May you say with confidence, "This battle is the Lord's and not mine!" May you step forward in faith and believe that God is on your side, now and forever. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.