When children are young they are taught about safety in crossing streets. You probably remember being told to “stop, look and listen” before you crossed. It was a way to help keep you out of danger.
In 2 Chronicles 20:1-19 there is a story of a battle that can be likened to some of the spiritual battles that we face. But just as there is safety in learning how to cross a street, spiritually there is safety when we stop, look and listen. To put everything into context, Judah was about to be invaded and they were going to be seriously outnumbered.
The king at this time was Jehoshaphat and he was in great fear. He knew that they didn’t stand a chance. They were facing a battle they just couldn’t win. But Jehoshaphat implemented a spiritual “stop, look and listen.”
STOP – Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord…(verse 3) How often do we attempt to move ahead when a battle has come upon us? We try to do things in our own power. We try to make things happen. But Jehoshaphat knew that he could do nothing but stop and seek the Lord.
Too often we are quick to pick up the phone and call someone. We seek outside advice or we just want someone to agree with us that things really are as bad as they look. Jehoshaphat used his life line to not phone a friend but to call upon God.
In the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem he began to pray out loud declaring His power and might. He recognized that no one could stand against God. He recalled the former things that God had done.
Stop and remember. Recall all the ways that God has come through before. Instead of getting worked up and worrying, declare the praises of His works.
LOOK - For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You (verse 12)
Where did Jehoshaphat look to? Man? His own abilities? The circumstances? No, he looked to God. He had no idea what he was going to do about this mighty multitude coming against him but he knew where to look.
Jehoshaphat has prayed and in the midst of their prayer gathering the Spirit of the Lord comes upon a man named Jahaziel and he begins to declare the very next step they are to take.
LISTEN – Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s (verses 15)
God has something to say to you in the midst of your battle. When you take the time to stop and look upon Him, you are ready to listen to His orders. He didn’t give a play-by-play plan of what was going to happen. He didn’t give the end result of the battle. Instead, he told the people that they didn’t need to fear or be dismayed because this wasn’t going to be their battle to fight. It would be His.
They would just need to stand and see the salvation of the Lord for He would be with them. When the enemy is coming against us hard and strong we don’t necessarily have to do anything. We may need to just wait on God and watch Him do His thing.
Oh there is so much more to this story, which I am going to save for next week. But for now think about stop, look and listen the next time you are facing a battle.