Summary: I have battled depression much in my own life. I know that many Americans are depressed over the events of Sept 11th, 2001. This devotion I shared with my youth has continually been a source of hope for me.
Ever found your back against a wall? Ever been in a situation you weren’t sure you would make it through? Maybe you are going through something right now. It’s like finding yourself in a canoe on the Niagara River and you can hear the thunder of Niagara Falls just ahead. Maybe it’s depression you’re facing or a difficult situation at school.
I. The Place of Absolute Surrender
If there was ever someone who found himself on a limb, it was King Jehoshaphat of Judah. Though being a king might sound fun, it can sometimes be lonely at the top. One day Jehoshaphat woke up to discovering that he was at war with three kingdoms. There was no way the army of Judah could take on three armies. He gathered his subjects at the Temple and they cried out to God:
“Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, disease, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear and rescue us.
“And now we see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them and did not destroy them. Now see how they reward us!
For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave as an inheritance. O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”—2 Chronicles 20:9-12. New Living Translation
It always starts here. We have to come to that place of absolute surrender where we give it all to God. It’s that place of being in front of the Red Sea with the Egyptian army behind you, ready to pound you into the dirt. It’s that place you come to where only God can part the sea and provide a way out.
David was someone else who understood this well. He often found himself in impossible situations! Consider this prayer of his recorded in Psalms:
“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold to stand on. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched and dry. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” - Psalm 69:1-3 NLT
“But I keep right on praying to you, Lord, hoping this is the time you will show me favor. In your unfailing love, O God, answer my prayer with your sure salvation.” - Psalm 69:13 NLT
II. The Place of Absolute Trust
Can you relate to David? Have you ever felt this desperate in a situation? So what did Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah do in their fix? A prophet came to them and told them this:
“Listen, King Jehoshaphat! Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s” –2 Chronicles 20:15 NLT
We can relax! It’s not our fight! Consider what is written in the following verses:
“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honor you. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.” –1 Peter 5:6-7 NLT
“Then he said to me, "This is what the LORD says to Zerubbabel: It is not by force nor by strength, but by my Spirit, says the LORD Almighty. “–Zech 4:6 NLT
“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." –John 16:33 NLT
After coming to the place of absolute surrender, we then come to the place of absolute trust. We realize that we can do nothing in our own strength, but with God’s help we can come through any situation with a shining testimony!
III. The Place of Absolute Victory
After Jehoshaphat heard from the prophet. He began his plan of attack. Who did he send out first? It was not the infantry, artillery, or even the Green Berets. No! He sent out a choir! Check out what happened:
After consulting the leaders of the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: "Give thanks to the LORD; his faithful love endures forever!"