Perhaps it may turn out a sang,
Perhaps turn out a sermon.

-- R. Burns Epistle to a Young Friend

Friday, September 19, 2014

Maybe They Had Bagpipes

O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.  -- 2 Chronicles 20:12

The story of Jehoshaphat being told here is a well-known and celebrated one, preached over and over like the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego or David and Goliath.  Judah was threatened by an invading army of overwhelming numbers.  The king proclaims a fast and prays.  God answers by telling the people of Judah to send singers and musicians out in front of their forces to praise and glorify the Lord.  The enemy is thrown into confusion, and the allies begin to fight among themselves until they are wiped out.  When Jehoshaphat and his people arrive on the scene, all they have to do is pick up the spoils.

 The message is usually that looking toward God, praising Him, and relying upon Him will enable us to overcome otherwise insurmountable obstacles and be greatly blessed.  It’s a good message, and it’s true, but the key to the whole thing, it seems to me, lies in the couple of sentences above which are part of Jehoshaphat’s prayer. 

We do not know what to do … When we are faced with a terrifying, mind-numbing situation, stricken by loss, suffering, in pain, confused and frightened, that is the first thing we need to realize.  None of the options I can come up with are particularly appealing or offer any hope of success.  This set of circumstances, the demands and threats I face are beyond my experience, knowledge and understanding.  What I am supposed to do?

but our eyes are on you – I don’t have a solution.  I don’t have a pat answer.  The only thing I know to do is to look to You, Lord, to keep my eyes on You, to be ready to take whatever direction You offer. 

In this case, God gave them a specific and somewhat odd instruction.  The “praise team” at church likes to think that the solution is always just to sing “In the Presence of Jehovah” or whatever “powerful” chorus is currently popular.  I would remind them that in another dire situation, also involving Jehoshaphat and a musician, God told them to keep quiet and dig ditches (2 Kings 3).  The point is not to assume that you know what the Lord wants done but to seek Him for what He wants and how He wants to do it this time. 

Sometimes Jesus healed people by speaking a word, sometimes by a touch, one time He spit on a mute’s tongue, another time He spit on some clay and put the mud on a blind man’s eyes.  David was told to use different strategies on different occasions in battling the Philistines.  Samson didn’t carry that jawbone with him everywhere he went. 

That’s not to say that a person can ever go wrong praising the Lord and giving Him glory.  Rather as we serve the Lord and follow Him and are led by the Spirit, we sometimes need to say, "I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on You," and be ready to trust and obey.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"The point is not to assume that you know what the Lord wants done but to seek Him for what He wants and how He wants to do it this time."

That's a big nugget of wisdom, Mushroom.
It's funny how often I forget that or think I can figure out Thebest way to proceed.

That might work for little things but never for big things.
Thankfully it doesn't take me long to see there is nothing I can do on my own, as God waits patiently, waiting for me to call out to Him for help.

Some things, many things only the God Father Himself can do and it's wise to seek and. follow the counsel of the Holy.

Faith used seem so simple to me and an easy thing to do.
But I have learned that many times in my life the faith I thought I had was on my own terms, or based on some "formula" from the Scriptures.
Or the fallacy that i can use my authority as an adopted son of God to command myself out of problems.

How do I know if my faith is genuine?
Well, because the results of my faith and prayers doesn't come from any ideas of mine, for one.

God works in ways
i could never have thought up.

IRT authority there are circumstances where a Christian can use it in conjunction with prayer and faith, but only in God's name and Way.

if the authority is coming from I it's an illusion.
Sorry for gettin' sidetracked there but .i wanted to clarify that point and it appears I have done a poor. job of it.

mushroom said...

No, that's good. We're always looking for formulas and steps and techniques when we need the interaction and the communication -- the communion with the Father.