October 12, 2009

Familiar Foes

"O God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” II Chronicles 20:12 NKJV

Foes…we all have them no matter how likeable we are. Whether they are physical, emotional, or spiritual in nature they cause conflict and opposition in our lives. Some are more dangerous than others.

Sometimes our spiritual foes leave us bewildered and confused as they actively oppose and resist what God has for our lives. At other times they are determined to injure or overthrow us completely. They do not just want to inflict pain. They are intent to do harm and can be deadly.

II Chronicles 20 records an instance when God’s people came up against some foes. The people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir were planning to wage war against Israel threatening to throw them out of the land that God had given to them as an inheritance. (see II Chron 20:10-11) The first thing that King Jehoshaphat did was seek the Lord. He then declared a fast throughout all Judea and the people from all of the cities come to unite with him and to ask for the Lord's help.

The king knew that Israel had no power against this great multitude that was about to attack; he also had no plan or course of action. So, after reminding God of His faithfulness in times past, he threw up his hands making the declaration…"nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

My paraphrase on the words of the king is this: Here we are God. We are right where You put us--in the place You brought us to. The heat of the battle would seemingly blind us, burning us up or out, but we choose to stay with You. It does not really matter who, what, or when we will find our position in Your Presence and know You will hear our cries and deliver us once again.

You see, they were not being threatened by an enemy they had not seen before. These enemies were people that God had not allowed Israel to invade when they came out of Egypt. He had told them (Israel) to avoid them altogether. Yet now they were breathing threats against Israel that they appeared to be able to make good on. They were "familiar foes" that God had obviously saved for a later test.

Perhaps you can relate to the people of God having recently been confronted by a foe? One of the things that can make a battle so ferocious is facing a "familiar foe." Perhaps a disease thought conquered returns, a habit thought kicked rears up its ugly head, or feelings of rejection by passed, and thought to be by gone, speak threats against a whole heart and sound mind. These are but a few of the "familiar foes" we face. They come against us bringing fear and intimidation, doubt and depression, hopelessness and despair.

Yet we have a way out. We can walk past the problem straight into the arms of Our Father worshiping and praising Him along the way. I know it is easier said than done but it really is not an option. It is key to our survival, our only position, and the prerequisite to God’s provision.

The king and the people could have paced back and forth wringing their hands in worry. They could have tried to run and hide but that would not have conquered the problem. There was only one thing that they could do and that was to come to the end of themselves quickly crying out "O God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You."

These were seasoned warriors, might men of valor, conquerors, but at that moment the realization of their current position paved the road for God’s provision. Their "familiar foes" were too much for them and they knew it. We have no power. We don’t know what to do. These are not statements of weakness and failure. They are the cries of the child of God to the Father--Who is the Power, the Answer, and Who must be our center of focus at all times.

When we face our "familiar foes" the longer we look at the opposition the bigger it grows. We know all too well what the ugly enemy looks like already so there is no point in wasting precious time staring at him. Our eyes must be upon God. We do not just look to Him for answers we look to Him for deliverance.

If you are being threatened by a "familiar foe" today, the best laid plans in the world will not bring deliverance. That is something only Almighty God can do. Look to Him. Focus upon the Father. He is Jehovah Jireh, Our Provider.

Hear Him speak again the words spoken to those who assembled with Jehoshaphat that day "Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s." The battle is Who's? It is God’s. We do not have to have the battle plan because it is not our fight. Realize that your position is to humbly rely on His provision when "familiar foes" threaten your life.


Martha said...

Oh my, this post could not have come at a better time! If you read my most recent blog entry, you will be able to see how I was shaken but not stirred ;) we are God's children and we shall not tremble!

Anonymous said...

Yes, really.

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