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Friday, October 29, 2010

Weekly Snippet: Our Eyes Are Upon You

O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.--King Jehoshaphat's prayer, 2 Chronicles 20: 12 NIV

I started out the day a bit discouraged, having discovered that one of my income sources seems to be doomed, based on some new information.  What made the news hurt worse was discovering there is nothing I can do about it.  Surely this is a generalizable problem?

I decided there was no reason to mope around or mourn this news today.  What will happen, will happen, and if something changes, it will be because God intervened on my behalf.  So what now?  When we are left with no alternative but to rely on God, do we stop at accepting this circumstance, or does God require more of us?

I turned on my radio and heard a really old song playing which spoke of praising God, even when there doesn't seem to be a reason to praise him, and it reminded me of 2 Chronicles 20: 4-30.  For those of you with a Bible on hand, please take a moment to turn to this passage and read it.  For the rest, I suggest you follow the link and come back, because I don't have enough time to thoroughly cover this passage today.

To summarize that part of 2 Chronicles 20, Judah (the southern kingdom after Israel's civil war) learned that a large, multi-national invasion force had gathered and was going to dispossess them all.  Under Jehoshaphat's leadership, they assembled at the temple that Solomon had built and prayed to the Lord to intercede for them.  Their desperate, no-win situation was evident in King Jehoshaphat's words, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."  They were sure they were going to lose this battle--the enemy was too numerous and powerful.

Then they did something that doesn't seem to make sense.  As they marched out in battle, they began to sing praises to God.  They thought they were going to their deaths, and yet they sang these bold, brave songs about the greatness of God!

 Suddenly, something miraculous began to happen--the enemy armies began to set ambushes against each other, and fought each other.  As the forces of Judah topped a rise that overlooked the valley that held the enemy camps, I can imagine their songs of praise trailing off mid-sentence as they surveyed the scene below them.  The enemy armies had killed each other before they even arrived--and no one had escaped!  Of course, I can imagine the songs of praise picked up again, this time with more enthusiasm.  God had intervened in an impossible situation!

Now, I know that we have no power to make God intervene on our behalf.  This is not the point of the story.  I do know that God hears our sincere prayers and rewards obedience.  One part of obedience is trust that God's way is the right way, even when it seems that it isn't presently working well for us.

That said, I think the timing of the miracle (at the same time as the songs of praise) is significant here.  God didn't just listen and intervene--He specifically rewarded obedient and sincere hearts.  They praised God because they looked beyond their circumstances and realized that God is always worthy of our praise, even when the road ahead looks too tough for us.  They praised Him because they trusted Him!

If we withhold our praise for only the times when things are going well for us, doesn't that reflect a lack of trust in God?  Maybe keeping "our eyes upon [God]" should not be read as a passive gesture--as if we sat down helplessly in the road and shot God a pleading look.  Maybe we should read that as an active gesture--a willful act of focusing our eyes on God's goodness and His repeated promises of deliverance, which are untouched by our circumstances.

Praising God today, even when my circumstances looked doomed, might not cause my troubles to destroy themselves, but it certainly has lifted my spirits and allowed me to accomplish much more than I would have otherwise.  I believe that God is changing things, and that He always works for my good in every circumstance (Romans 8: 28).  Why shouldn't I trust Him?  Why shouldn't I praise Him?

Until next time, stay savvy!

1 comments:

Kamal said...

Rachel, Wonderful insights.

While reading this blog, I remembered the portion of the scripture about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the book of Daniel chapter 3. I would like to point out the verses 16-18 of the same chapter and I quote - "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it [Trust in their God], and he will rescue us from your hand [Trust in their God], O king. But even if he does not [Their trust is independent of their circumstances], we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up [In other words it means we serve and worship some other God who alone deserves our trust, worship and praise.]"

There were some amazing lines in this blog and I quote -

"One part of obedience is trust that God's way is the right way, even when it seems that it isn't presently working well for us."

"They thought they were going to their deaths, and yet they sang these bold, brave songs about the greatness of God!"

"They praised God because they looked beyond their circumstances and realized that God is always worthy of our praise, even when the road ahead looks too tough for us. They praised Him because they trusted Him!"

Thank you.

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