The above verse is the very last sentence of a prayer offered up by an Old Testament king named Jehoshaphat. I’ve loved this story- and this snippet of his prayer ever since I read it many years ago.
The story is about a king of Judah who obediently follows God. He declares God’s law, so that the people hear it and obey it. He tears down all idol worship. He seeks God’s counsel before going to battle.
One day, he is in Jerusalem, and he gets terrible news. Three nations, Moab and Ammon and Mt. Seir have amassed an enormous army and together are headed toward Jerusalem to attack.
In fact, when he gets this news, this enormous army is camped at En Gedi, an oasis in the desert that we visited when in Israel. The picture above was taken there. It is also where David caught King Saul in a cave and cut a tassel off his robe.
King Jehoshaphat immediately prays. You can find his prayer in 2 Chronicles 20:6-12, and it ends with this: “Our God, will you not judge them? 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.”
After he prays, God speaks through a prophet to say: “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…. 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.”
They go to meet this army, but before they get there, the army ends up turning on itself and completely destroying each other. When Jehoshephat and his army “came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.”
There are so many incredible examples of God’s provision in the Bible. I’m not sure what makes this one stick in my mind so firmly- except for that prayer. I have so many moments in my life when I turn my eyes from something hard and seemingly hopeless and say the words: “Lord- I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you.”
When we visited En Gedi, this story was told, and this prayer was quoted. I couldn’t help but smile when it was read. I’ve made it my own. It has been my cry to God in so many things over the years. There are so many times when I simply don’t know what to do. The problem is bigger than I can handle. It looks hopeless. I feel small. But I remember that God is big. He gives hope to the hopeless. He handles the seemingly impossible without any hesitation.
There is something about saying these words out loud. Deciding to stand firm. Telling God that we are watching for Him to move on our behalf. Trusting that He will.
Earlier this week, I read Psalm 5 and it again reminded me to EXPECT God to move. Not to just ask and sit around worrying about what will happen- or to ask and resign myself to nothing changing– but to ask with expectation.
“In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.”
I’ve been praying with expectation this week. Not expectation that God will provide in the ways I see as best, but expectation that he will indeed move in each thing I pray for- and that he will move in ways that will bring life and hope and healing to each person involved.
Join me as I pray for:
- Financial provision for all 135 of our American, Canadian and European interns before May 1st.
- A movement of God- beginning tonight and all through the weekend- for SoulBlast– a huge youth retreat led by my friend John up in Michigan.
- Full support to come in quickly for my friend Ricky as he seeks to serve in Slovakia with JV next fall.
- For those in my life (and yours) who are trying to fill the emptiness inside with anything other than Christ.
While I am consumed with preparations for sending interns overseas in just a few short weeks, God is moving in powerful ways across the countries of Josiah Venture.
The above picture was taken in Slovakia last week at KPM (konferencia pracovníkov s mládežou)- a training conference for youth workers. Almost 700 young people attended! If you’d like to read a little about it, visit this blog written by Connie Patty- she captures all the beauty of it well. Events like this take place in several JV countries. SO exciting to see God moving!!!
Next week is the annual Fusiondary event with JV. It is taking place in the Czech Republic (recently re-named Czechia?!?) April 29- May 1. It is a music festival for all the music ministries of JV. Seven countries and more than 700 people will participate in concerts, seminars and lots of fellowship. Please be praying for this!
JV Spring Conference will take place May 4-8. All staff are invited to come and be refreshed by teachings and time together. Pray that this will be an encouragement to staff that have been working hard all year in Eastern and Central Europe.
I’ve enjoyed seeing many of you in recent weeks as I’ve visited your churches! I still have Avalon Missionary (this Saturday and Sunday) and Battle Creek Friends (next Saturday and Sunday). Hope to see you then!!!
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 6-7