Rejoice, For the battle is not yours, but God’s.


In my quest to grow in Embracing and Experiencing Joy, I have reread over and over that God wants me to rejoice in my circumstances regardless of the nature and the outcome. I am moving to grasp that concept, but there are times where my emotions do not line up with the Word of God. This is one reason that He gives us His Word. He knows that we are but dust.

In the post Simple Joy, I shared with you 2 Chronicles 20 where Jehoshaphat (“Jehovah has judged”) was given a Word from God by the prophet Jahaziel.

“15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! 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. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”

If you didn’t read 2 Chronicles 20, it’s your loss. The Word gives us strength. It lights our path. Get in it! There you will find the text above. God tells Jehoshaphat not be afraid or discouraged twice in one communication. In other words, God did not want him nor the people to be sad, but glad. As I have shared, the most common word used in the Old Testament for joy is simchah (sim·khä’: Strong’s H8057). It means to be glad. If we are not to be afraid or discouraged, we are to be confident and courageous. This would make anyone rejoice or glad. 

Numbers 23:19 tells us that “God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?” The Word sent to Jehoshaphat was reason not to be afraid or feel discouraged. Remember in the text, there was a vast army marching against Judah. Carnally speaking, there was nothing that the army of Judah could do against an army so much larger than its own giving rise to concern even fear; however, since God told Jehoshaphat do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, it was his responsibility to respond accordingly. While that is true, we, in our human frailty, often only rejoice after God has done something great for us.

In faith knowing what God had already done, Jehoshaphat told the people “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” He also appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness before going into battle. Why? They were to rejoice because of the promise God made to them. The promise that the battle is not yours, but God’s. Verse 24 reads “When the men of Judah 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.” God had indeed fought the battle for them.

How did they respond? “27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets.” As a body of believers, a church if you will, they went to the temple (church) to praise God for His works in their lives. This is the main reason for all of us to attend church – to express our praise and worship of God for who He is and what He has done, but I digress.

Some battles we create because of our sinful behavior. We need to repent and ask for forgiveness in those situations with the people whom we may have offended as well as God. The battles where we can rely on God to fight for us are the ones He has sent us to fight. Those battles have to do with defending His Word, the truth, and proclaiming His Word, the gospel. My pastor, Robert Benson, has just started a series in 1 Peter on the sufferings one experiences for proclaiming the gospel. We can expect hardships, but we should not fear or be discouraged. We should, in faith, Rejoice, For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Who will you share Christ with today. Ask the LORD to show you who He intends for you to reveal Him to today.

Listen to Yolonda Adam’s song The Battle Is Not Yours.

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