“Now look, God Himself is with us as our head, and His priests with sounding trumpets to sound the alarm against you. O children of Israel, do not fight against the Lord God of your fathers, for you shall not prosper!” But Jeroboam caused an ambush to go around behind them; so they were in front of Judah, and the ambush was behind them. And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah. And the children of Israel fled before Judah, and God delivered them into their hand.”
II Chronicles 13:12-16 NKJV
Choosing to follow Jesus can, and often is, a dangerous undertaking, for with each passing day the world becomes more and more evil and hostile to God. It can be very tempting to desire to lower ones profile, to duck down and hide, hoping that one would not be noticed. This is not the calling of the Christian.
We are called to enter the public square and deliver the message the Lord has given us to all the ears we encounter, whether they be open and hearing, or stopped up and unwilling to hear the truth. There are times when going out and telling can be met with outright opposition, even violence, as those one is seeking to reach are so entrenched in their sin as to refuse the words of salvation.
In those dark moments, the follower of Jesus can feel completely surrounded, encircled as the foes of the Gospel threaten.
I loved the reminder I found in II Chronicles chapter thirteen this morning. Abijah stood on the truth of God and the faithful heritage of his fathers as he confronted Jeroboam, who had turned and lead the children of Israel far from the Lord. Abijah led the tribe of Judah faithfully.
Jeroboam sought to encircle Abijah, but he was aware, and the plan was exposed, Abijah and his people cried out to the Lord. The response of Judah is a perfect type for modern day followers of Jesus, as we face spiritual foes, bent on our destruction. Like Abijah, the enemy is bent on sneaking up behind us, hoping to catch us unawares, but the Lord is faithful, for He ever guards His children.
When the tribe if Judah discovered the ambush, they could easily have panicked, or tried to figure it out on their own. They could have fallen into the flesh, and tried to fight out of the trap. But they remembered whose they were.
“And when Judah looked around, to their surprise the battle line was at both front and rear; and they cried out to the Lord, and the priests sounded the trumpets. Then the men of Judah gave a shout; and as the men of Judah shouted, it happened that God struck Jeroboam and all Israel before Abijah and Judah.”
II Chronicles 13:14-15 NKJV
And God moved.
Brothers and sisters, let us be ever mindful of whose we are. Let us not go into spiritual battle, finding ourselves panicking in the face of overwhelming adversity. Let us do the things we know to do when the evil one attacks: cry out to God.
Judah cried out, sounded the trumpets, and shouted, and the Lord brought the victory. May we be a people who cry out, shouting out the Gospel message faithfully, telling all of the great salvation found only in Jesus. As we shout, God the Holy Spirit will move, saving souls and changing lives, slaying sinners, and raising the dead to newness of life.
Let us train ourselves to automatically pick up the weapons the Lord has afforded us.
“Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—”
Ephesians 6:14-18 NKJV
Though it can seem as if we are surrounded, let us be mindful that the enemy is surrounded all the more. Pray that they Lord open our eyes to the spiritual truths, that we come to full realize that He that is in us is truly greater than he that is in the world.
May we be like Elisha, who when faced with an overwhelming enemy, and a frightened servant, as God to open the eyes of the fearful.
“So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
II Kings 6:16-17 NKJV
Begin today to acquaint yourselves with the holy habits of the people of God, that they be as muscle memory, being the first thing you do when confronted with trial. May our first impulse be to cry out in prayers of faith, praise the Lord and tell of His glory.
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