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September 28, 2017

Restoring Faith When You Feel Overwhelmed: Part 3

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

“He said, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! 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. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!’” 2 Chronicles 20:15-17 (NLT)

What kind of faith does it take to “… stand still….” amid overwhelming circumstances?  King Jehoshaphat was outnumbered three to one with a vast army approaching!  As he gathered all of Judah together at Jerusalem and prayed, God responded.  They were told to march out against the enemy, BUT…

“… you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD”S victory.”  (Vs.17)

As God restored their faith, He was giving them the opportunity to exercise that faith in Him to see the victory.  They were not to fight but to position themselves for a miracle!  That would require faith!  If you want to see the miracle God has for you, it will require faith.  This story teaches us three truths about faith we can exercise as well when we feel overwhelmed.

  1. Faith is standing on God’s promises when I don’t see the answer.

The writer of Hebrews describes faith like this:  

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

If we could see it, it wouldn’t require faith.  The Bible says we are to walk by faith and not by sight.  That’s what makes faith such an adventure!  What assurance did Jehoshaphat have when he went out to meet the enemy?  He had the same assurance we have when we face overwhelming odds.  He had the promises of God!  God was with him. God was for him!  God would fight the battle!  Give it to the Lord, and stop fighting.

  1. Faith is standing in prayer when I feel anxious and fearful.

Faith is not the absence of fear.  It’s believing God and acting despite my fears.  The Bible says,

“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance.  He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.”  2 Chronicles 20:3 (NLT)

Admitting you’re afraid is human!  When we feel overwhelmed, we are flooded with fear and anxiety.  God knows that.  It’s why He assures us of His promises.  Faith is standing on those promises in prayer when I feel anxious and fearful and obeying even when I don’t understand it.

  1. Faith is standing to praise before God answers.

We, too often, think that faith is praising God after He answers.  That’s gratitude.  Jehoshaphat demonstrates the kind of faith that praised God before the victory was won.  There is power in praise!  God inhabits the praises of His people!  It’s amazing what happens when we stand to praise God in the face of overwhelming circumstances.  In verses 21 and 22 the Bible says,

“After consulting 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!’ At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.”

Take a moment to just visualize that!  Either Jehoshaphat figured the singers were expendable, or he was believing God to do what God said He would do!

What happened?  Glad you asked.

“At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves … Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.” 2 Chronicles 20:22, 24 (NLT)