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Monday, February 11, 2013

Lord, Teach Us To Pray! Part 223

Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Jehoshaphat continued...

Because they had come before the Lord in prayer, because the intent of their heart was to see the salvation of the Lord, God’s answer to their prayers was the assurance that their enemy would be vanquished not by their strength, but by the strength of the arm of the Lord.

When God assures us of victory, nothing can stand in our way.

Jehoshaphat’s prayer teaches us to run to the Lord, to trust in Him, and to walk in His authority rather than our own. Though he was king, though he led the people of God, Jehoshaphat realized he could not stand against the enemy which had amassed against him, he could not hope to win the battle on his own, and he set himself to seek the Lord.

As children of God we must know from whence our salvation comes. As children of God we must know it is the Lord who wins the battle on our behalf, and not we ourselves.

Rather than start coming up with battle plans, strategizing and devising contingencies when we see the enemy approaching, it is far more beneficial to humble ourselves, and set ourselves to seek the Lord.

We know victory is guaranteed and absolute when the Lord assures us of it, and because we know the character and omnipotence of He who promised the victory we are fearless in our stance against the enemy.

What have you set your eyes upon this day? Are your eyes set upon the Lord? Do you seek victory from His hand?

As human beings we tend to allow circumstances to overwhelm us. We do not consider the good, we do not consider the blessings, we do not consider the victories, but let us suffer one setback and we will obsess over it for long and long.

We do not give our victories the same consideration as we do our setbacks, and rather than set our eyes upon the Lord we look to the trial itself, or to those who have abandoned us, or to the enemy amassing itself against us.

We must fight the temptation of being distracted by our circumstances and set our eyes upon the One who can remedy them.

Psalm 121:1-2, “I will lift my eyes to the hills – from whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.”

Not only did Jehoshaphat set his eyes upon the Lord, he also sought the Lord. For some this might seem like a negligible distinction but for those who have come to understand that no passage of scripture was included accidently or superfluously we realize it is important not only to set our eyes upon the Lord but to seek the Lord as well.

Our prayers must be fueled by the desire to know the person of God. We must seek Him. We do not come before Him seeking what He can do for us, what He can give us, or what He can bless us with, but seeking Him, understanding He is sufficient.

If we seek the Lord and find Him, then we have everything we will ever need in this present life. We will never lack for wisdom, peace, joy, guidance or protection as long as we have the Lord, and this is why we seek Him and not something He can do for us.

Jehoshaphat declared his helplessness as he came before the Lord, doing something which is contrary to human nature as well as much of the spiritualized humanism running rampant through today’s church. Jehoshaphat humbled himself!

He could have come before the Lord and said, ‘because I am king, I am entitled to your protection, favor, blessing or intervention,’ but instead of approaching God from a position of entitlement, Jehoshaphat approached Him from a position of humility.

Perhaps it is because we sing it so often, but for some reason we’ve lost sight of what it truly means to humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, trusting that He will lift us up.

‘If you don’t do it yourself, it’s never going to get done.’

This is the lie the enemy whispers in the ears of many a servant, and rather than commit to seeking the Lord and knowing the Him exclusively, they get distracted by self-promotion, self-praise, and self-adulation. Because the flesh likes it, self-aggrandizement comes easily, and the more they do it, the more the flesh likes it, and the more the flesh likes it the more time they devote to letting people know just how special they are.

Given enough time seeking the Lord becomes something they do once everything else gets done, and since we’re all busy, busy folk, we can go for days and weeks and months without ever making the time to seek the Lord.

Jehoshaphat knew there was nothing more important than setting his eyes upon the Lord, and seeking Him. Even though the enemy was approaching, even though they outnumbered his own army, even though he could have been doing a thousand other things from planning his own escape, to trying his hand at diplomacy with the Moabites and Ammonites, Jehoshaphat sought the Lord.

Instead of reacting in the flesh, Jehoshaphat let the urgency of the hour melt away, the thousand other things he could have done were moved to the side, and he concentrated exclusively on the Lord, seeking Him.

During moments of extreme crisis as was the case with Jehoshaphat and the enemy hoards coming against him, we either trust in ourselves, in other men, or in God. If we trust in ourselves and in the arm of the flesh we are sure to suffer defeat. If we trust in others, and what they can do for us, we are sure to be disappointed and disillusioned. If we trust in the Lord, we will see His victory before us, and walk in the authority reserved for those who know, trust, and are dependent upon Him.

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

If it isn't in your heart to pray, you can't pray. Everyone has their own relationship with God. What works for one doesn't work for another. Some like to praise constantly in joyfulness and dance and sing, and think this brings them closer to God. Not everyone feels this way. Some people are quieter and are not in the mood for partying on cue once a week.

I don't think they are wrong for just being glad for what they do get without acting like they are entitled to it all. People who live high on a praise cloud might come crashing down hard some day.

This is why I hate churches, because all the prayer is corporate, even with every sinner and satanic infiltrator who walks in the door. That can't be spiritually healthy.

It ends up making you feel drained and stymied. To join in praise with those who openly mock God is an abomination. Yet the aim of the church is just to love and accept everyone at their word, even the devil who is a liar.

People who really love God are too much for church. No one believes they are even Christian. The only people who recognize them are the ones doing the devil's work. Maybe that is why Jesus would rather hang out with the sinners.

I think churches leave you feeling spiritually raped and then you feel ashamed for having gone in there. God said he is going to punish those who are part of the whore of babylon and fornicating with the kings of the earth.

Why get God angry just for fellowship?