Summary: Sometimes we face situations that leave us filled with fear and uncertainty. We don’t know how to respond because our situation seems impossible. But God works in ways we cannot see and if we will do life with Him, our growing trust in Him will compel us
The Valley of Blessing
Intro: It was Easter morning, 1799, and the people of Feldkirch, Austria, were terrified. They believed this Easter would likely be the very worst day of their lives. Outside the gates stood the army of Napoleon, and he wanted in. The citizens were ready to raise the white flag of surrender.
But the bishop of the church had another agenda. In a voice trembling with emotion, he said to the townspeople, "This is Easter Day. This is the day of our King’s resurrection. We must have one moment of triumph. Let us at least ring all the bells of Easter." Fearfully, the people agreed. Soon the sound of church bells pealing out a celebration of victory filled the air.
Napoleon’s army was astounded. What could it mean? It didn’t take long for the generals to conclude that only one possible explanation could account for such celebration: the Austrian army had arrived during the night to help defend the town. The bells had not yet stopped ringing when the French army broke ranks and fled.
-We will be looking at 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 today, where a similar situation takes place. God’s people find themselves in an impossible situation and do not know what to do. They know they do not have the strength to help themselves. However, they follow their King’s lead and cry out to God, and God comes through to deliver them and give them an amazing victory.
-Sometimes we face situations that leave us filled with fear and uncertainty. We don’t know how to respond because our situation seems impossible. But God works in ways we cannot see and if we will do life with Him, our growing trust in Him will compel us to call out to Him for help. And He will answer us and help us.
-Let’s look at this story and see if we can learn how to respond to the impossible situations that come our way.
1. The Threat of the Enemy (1-2)
1 After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar." (This was another name for En-gedi.)
-The enemy was already in the land of Judah and they were getting closer to the stronghold of Jerusalem where King Jehoshaphat was living. They were on a mission to destroy Jerusalem and the people of Judah. The threat was real. War had been declared and the troops were already marching. Hazazon-tamar or En-gedi was a town in the wilderness of Judah on the western shore of the Dead Sea. It was close to 30 miles away, so the likelihood of attack was only a day away.
-Let’s apply this setting to the people of God today. The enemy is in our land and is closing in everyday it seems. He has wrecked families and faith! He has attacked our relationships, our health, our finances. He has assaulted our confidence, leaving us feeling weak and ineffective, too timid or terrified to even use the weapons we have. He has messed with our unity and commitment, trying to get us to turn on one another instead of fighting against him. He has thrown every distraction possible at us so we will not have a chance to stop and realize who we really are in Christ! In many ways he has gotten well past the outlying areas, unlike the enemy in this reading. He has played on our greed making us think we need to accumulate a bunch of stuff to be happy. That in turn has made us slaves to our jobs or to any endeavor that will get us more money. On top of all this, he has infiltrated our culture to such an extent that wrong seems right to many and right seems extreme or completely out of touch.
-This is no small campaign! He is using every weapon and enticement he can come up with to throw the people of God into panic, confusion, or complacency.
-Now even if this assessment seems somewhat distant from your situation, let me assure you that you do have an enemy who is on the march toward you and your family! Maybe you are under attack right now! He doesn’t want to just give you a little trouble or make you have a bad day. He wants to take you out! John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.”
-So what are you going to do about it? Are you going to try and fight him yourself? How are your resources? Should you surrender? Or maybe just hope that he goes away. After all, what did you ever do to him? Leave him alone, maybe he’ll leave you alone?