June 9, 2014
“After this, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat to battle. It was told Jehoshaphat, ‘A great multitude has come against you from beyond the Dead Sea, from Edom: and behold they are in Hazazon-tamar, which is Engedi.’ Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself determinedly, as his vital need, to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah.”
II Chronicles 20: 1-3
“The Triple Threat”
“It is only the fear of God that can deliver us from the fear of man.”
What problem has come against me in my life and caused me to be fearful?
How can I set myself “determinedly” within my Father’s will during this time of trouble?
“Have you ever taken your fears to God, got the horizons of eternity about them, looked at them in the light of His love and grace?
Robert J. McCracken
“Jesus came treading the waves; and so He puts all the swelling tumults of life under His feet. Christians – why afraid?”
Augustine of Hippo
One of the most tremendous blessings that has entered my life since Transformation Garden began nearly ten years ago is the daily feedback I receive from God’s daughters and sons all around the world. Whether it is a prayer request or an answer to prayer or some other special note or comment, I not only read every one, I treasure each one, too.
But of all the notes that affect me most are the ones when you write to me and tell me that a specific devotional, written and sent to you on a specific day, was exactly “What I needed” or was “heaven-sent.” These notes encourage me in ways you may never know. Sometimes, the devotional may have been written months earlier, and yet, you’ll let me know that you needed that particular message on a day when you felt you were at the end of your rope. All I can say when I get an email with a message like this is, “Isn’t our Father wonderful, for He knows exactly what we need and when we need it.”
This is the reason that for the next few days, I have chosen to review a series of devotionals that I need right now – just as much as you might. It is always an encouragement to read how God steps in to bless us just when we need it the most!
Over the last few weeks, as I’ve been reading ahead in the Bible in preparation for upcoming devotionals on Esther and Huldah, and other Biblical people, I was reading, in II Chronicles no less, and again came upon a story about King Jehoshaphat. Now you may be thinking, “Here in the garden we’re studying about women’s lives aren’t we?” Well, you would be correct. But as I’ve told you before, God’s wisdom in inspiring the Bible is seen in the way He shows how lives are intertwined. Barak and Deborah needed each other – as we found out. And what would Moses have been without a mother, a princess, a sister, and a wife.
What’s more, there are lessons that, we as women, can learn from the lives of many men in the Bible. And King Jehoshaphat is one such person.
I was going to wait a couple of months until we got to II Chronicles to review this story with you, but over the past few days, everyday as I prayed, this king’s name and his story of encouragement filled my mind so fully that I finally said, “OK dear Lord. We will be refreshed by Your Word again as you work in the life of the King of Judah!”
And so today, we are going to meet King Jehoshaphat.
First of all, this king who was a contemporary of the wicked King Ahab was also allied by marriage. He had seen what terrible things had been done by the vicious leaders, Ahab and Jezebel. So when Jehoshaphat became king of Judah, he was determined to follow God. He brought back the worship of the God of heaven and earth – Jehovah. And this king purposed to do what was right in the sight of God.
I’m going to stop for one moment because I read all the prayer requests you send. And I know with certainty that many of you face the same challenges Jehoshaphat did. You may live in a destructive situation. You may work in a place of turmoil. You may even face upheaval within your own life. And yet, day after day, I receive precious notes that let me know you want to live a life of purpose. What you really long for is that God will be at the core of your life. And so, with boldness and courage you have chosen to step onto the path of your heavenly Father. This was what Jehoshaphat did. The Bible tells us that Jehoshaphat “went out again among the people (of Judah) from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers” (II Chronicles 19: 4). He was on a one-man crusade for God. And after the maniacal Ahab and Jezebel, what a contrast!
You would think that following God and doing what was just, merciful and right would have paid big dividends. If we are to believe what some people say, “If you follow God, you’ll be prospered,” then Jehoshaphat should have had smooth sailing. But in
II Chronicles, we find out that having re-established the ministry of the Levites and having
re-introduced the people of Judah to their heavenly Father, what happened? The Bible is very clear. “After this,” it says! After doing good, after being good – “the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat.” These wicked nations jumped on this good king, thinking they would take him down.
Now I’d like to lay before you a thought which was shared with me by a friend who noted that the pastor of her church observed that most times in our lives, our personal battles in the Spiritual realm come as three specific attacks – to our health, to our finances and to our relationships! It’s like the Moabites, the Ammonites and the Meunites – a triple threat!
I want you to think about this, for as I pondered the idea, and looked at my own life, it has seemed that these are the three areas – health, finances, and relationships, where the evil one comes and assaults me with such ferocity that just like the Bible tells us happened to King Jehoshaphat, I become fearful! I know this is true for I speak from personal experience! Will there be enough money to pay the bills? Is that severe pain in my foot a sign that another part of the bone is dying again? Why do certain relationships have to cause so much hurt? I’m certain as you review your life, especially in the areas of health, finances and relationships, that many of you are going to have your own list of triple threats – those enemies who are trying to take you down. And what’s worse, they are trying to incapacitate you and me so we will not be effectual in carrying out heaven’s plans for our lives. And let me just give you a “heads-up.” In the coming weeks, we are going to be studying about two events in Jesus’ life. They happened just before He went home to heaven. And let me tell you – they have to do with your purpose and mine on this earth. Our purpose for living is absolutely critical! So we cannot let anything deter us.
Jehoshaphat didn’t let the “fear” caused by the “triple threat” stop him in his tracks. Believe me, he recognized these were fierce enemies – three of them. But when nearly overcome with fear, the Bible tells us that King Jehoshaphat, “set” to “seek,” or as the Hebrew translates this phrase, he “committed himself to frequent and tread with the Lord.” The Hebrew states that the word “set” is like a “cast.” King Jehoshaphat cast himself solidly on his Father’s pathway. When confronted by a triple threat that intended to conquer him after he had purposed to follow God, King Jehoshaphat determined to set or cast himself firmly in seeking after his Father’s will and way.
We can do the same! In the words of H. E. Fosdick:
“Fear imprisons, faith liberates;
fear paralyzes, faith empowers;
fear disheartens, faith encourages;
fear sickens, faith heals;
fear makes useless, faith makes serviceable;
most of all, fear puts hopelessness
at the heart of life,
while faith rejoices in God.”
Like King Jehoshaphat, may we determine to cast ourselves everyday within our Father’s will.
“Our hearts, our hopes, are all with Thee,
Our hearts, our hopes, our prayers, our tears,
Our faith triumphant over our fears,
Are all with Thee, -- are all with Thee!”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
You know our hearts, our anxieties, our hesitations and You know the crutches we have developed to handle them. Forgive us for not letting You be the One on whom we lean and in whom we are totally trusting. Help us each to want to find our knees more often. Help us to see prayer as a beautiful gift available to each of us at anytime. Lord, above all else, help us each to realize that we don’t have the time not to pray. Amen”
Touched By God”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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