When it’s God’s possession, it’s God’s problem.
If it hits your heart that if it’s
God’s possession it’s God’s problem,
and then you realize you are his treasure, you
are his possession, you are his daughter, you
are his son, you are his friend and your friend
knows how to fight, it gives you the confidence.
“O our God, will you not judge them? For we
have no power to face this vast army that is
attacking us.” “It’s bigger than us. It came up
from behind us. We can’t do it.” “We do not know
what to do…” If you’re there right now, raise
your right hand. “I do not know what to do.
I don’t know how to fight. I don’t know how to
fix it. I can’t control what comes against me.”
“…but our eyes are upon you.” God says if you will
change the focus, he will win the fight. If you
will change the focus and stop looking at how big
it is but start praising him for how great he is…
Help is on the way!
13: “All the men of Judah, with their wives and
children and little ones, stood there before
the Lord. Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon
Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the
son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and
descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.”
“Why did you read all of those names,
Pastor Steven? Why didn’t you skip over
that? That’s not important to the story.”
It absolutely is, because every name that
was represented represented a generation God
was faithful in, and it meant every single
time God got ready to pass his purpose
to another generation he didn’t drop it,
and he won’t drop it now, and it won’t stop
with you, and you won’t lose the battle…unless
you lose your focus. It’s not about
your power; it’s about your position.
I’m so thankful that prophet stood up and
said what he said, because you know everybody
was starting to get ready to fight, and you
know if they had fought they would have lost.
Isn’t that the craziest thing? It’s ironic.
If they had fought, they would have lost.
When you don’t understand the nature of the
battle you’re in, you use the wrong strategy.
Some of us are losing because we
are fighting on the wrong level.
To unpack it I could use Ephesians 6:12:
“We wrestle not against flesh and blood…”
But that’s what we fight against: flesh and
blood. We fight every battle physically. We
fight people. We even fight people who are
trying to help us, because we’re insecure.
We fight the battle to protect
our ego and to protect our pride,
and then we lose the battle in our spirit because
we were more concerned about protecting our pride
than we were about receiving God’s power
and his help and his provision in our lives.
I was talking to somebody this week, and they
were saying all kinds of crazy stuff to me,
and the Lord said, “Not this one. Don’t fight this
one. Learn the 20 percent he’s saying that’s true.
Keep your mouth shut. Save your
energy for the real battle.”
Sometimes I see a comment on Instagram about my
preaching or my shoes or something like that,
and the Lord says, “Not this one. Not this one.”
Because if you convince a fool, all
you have for a friend is a fool.
Not this one.
I watched a movie about Jackie Robinson, 42,
and there was a scene in the movie where the
owner was telling him, “We’re going to put
you in the system and hopefully get you to
Brooklyn to play professional baseball, but
there’s one problem. What are you going to
do when they’re screaming racist threats in
your face? What are you going to do when they
attack you at every stop? What are you going to
do when they push you to the breaking point?”
He jumped up in the depiction in the movie. I
don’t know if this happened in real life, but I
like to think it did. He said, “What do you want?
A player who doesn’t have the guts to fight?”
He looked back at him and said, “No. I want
a player who has the guts not to fight back.”
Here’s the message: Sometimes it
takes more faith not to fight back.
Sometimes it takes more faith to just let
God be God and be great in your situation,
because if you manipulate it,
you’re going to mess it up.
If you start plucking tares, you’re going to
pull up wheat. Sometimes it takes more faith
to let God sort it out. You have to understand the
nature of the battle to understand the strategy.
This is why we don’t fight much in our
marriage after 17 years. It’s not because
we don’t disagree, but we understand it’s not
me against her; it’s me and her against it.
If we thought it was me against
her, we would fight each other,
but we have to line up on the same side of this
problem or we’re going to lose this battle.
One time, when we were maybe a year and a
half married, there came across our desk a
bill for $3,000, and I didn’t have $3,000,
not just lying around. I didn’t have it,
so I did what I do when I’m afraid. I got angry.
Did you hear me? When I’m afraid, I get angry.
The anger is a camouflage for the
fear, which makes me feel vulnerable.
I have to get angry, because
that makes me look strong,
because on the inside I feel weak. I
was yelling at Holly about the bill,
and it was only 70 percent her fault. In the
middle of yelling, I saw her countenance change.
I’m not saying this excuses me yelling.
I should have been more grown up, but
she realized in that moment, “He’s not fighting
me. He’s not mad at me. He’s scared about this,
and if I can help him fight his fear, we can fix
this together.” If you wrestle at the wrong level,
you’ll wear yourself out
fighting it where it shows up,
but where it shows up is not where it started.
If you have somebody and they have an
addiction, you can’t counsel them to win
against addiction with willpower. It’s not a
matter of willpower; it’s a matter of worship.
Something in their life has started meeting the
needs only God alone can meet, and if you don’t
show them that God can meet those same needs that
alcohol can, that God can meet those same needs
that pornography can, that God can meet those
same needs as overspending, overeating can…
If you don’t fix the worship problem,
you can’t win it with willpower.
You have to fight with a focus. The prophet said,
“This is not even about you, so don’t be afraid.”
If it’s too big for you, don’t be afraid.
This is what the Lord says to you:
Don’t be afraid. Don’t be discouraged.
Don’t back down. Don’t get in your
own head and try to figure it out.
You can’t figure this one out. If you
fight it, you’re going to lose it.
If you try to meet the righteous requirements
of the law in your own strength and don’t let
the power of Christ flow through you and the Holy
Spirit direct you, you are going to keep losing
the battles, because you are wrestling on the
level of what you can see, but it is not against
flesh and blood. It’s spiritual. He said, “Don’t
be afraid for this vast army.” Vast army is the
phrase they used when they were saying, “It’s
too big for you. I know it’s too big for you.”
“But the battle is not yours;
it’s God’s.” When I say this,
I want you to receive it like it was just for
you. If it’s too big, it doesn’t belong to you.
If it’s too big, you have to give it back
to God. We say the battle is the Lord’s,
but we stress like it’s ours. We say the
battle is the Lord’s, but we worry like
it’s ours. Now we’ve wasted all of our strength
worrying when we could have been worshiping.
The battle is not yours. Give it back. Quit doing
God’s job for him. God wants his battle back.
It’s too big for you. It came up from behind you.
You can’t do it. Give it back. You can’t fight it;
give it back. You can’t figure it out; give it
back. How do you give it back? That’s a focus.
That’s looking beyond what’s coming against you
and looking toward what is within you to know
that “Greater is he that is in me than he that
is in the world.” God wants his battle back.
“The battle is not yours, but God’s,
and tomorrow I want you to march down
against them. I want you to march down against
an enemy you’re not even going to have to fight.
I want you to get in position. Not so you
can fight, not so you can struggle, but
so you can see the deliverance the Lord
will bring about to Israel this day.”
God is fighting for Judah. God is fighting
for worshipers. God is fighting for praisers.
God is fighting for his people. God is
fighting for you! You’re his friend.
You get his help. You get his
strength. You get his miracles.
You get his wisdom. You get his
provision. You get his angels…if
you worship. You wage the war of worship. “It’s
too big for me.” What do you do when the battle
chooses you? You worship your way through it.
Now that sounds good, but it feels stupid.
Because here they come: Ammonites, Moabites,
Edomites. They were all big in their own right,
and they’re all fighting together. So how are
you going to fight them? What are we going to do,
Jehoshaphat? What are we going to do about this
situation? What are we going to do about it?
The prophet said, “You will
not have to fight this battle,
but you’re going to experience the
victory. Not by fighting but by focusing.”
If they would have fought, they would have
lost, but because they focused on the goodness
of God… Do you know what they did? I love this
Scripture. I think this Scripture is a beautiful
illustration and picture of the weapons of our
warfare that pull down strongholds in our lives.
Verse 18: “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face
to the ground, and all the people of Judah
and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the
Lord. Then some Levites…” That’s the priests.
Some Levites, the ones who administered the
Levitical law, the priestly law. “…from the
Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the
Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.”
Why? “Early in the morning they left for
the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out,
Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen
to me, Judah…'” Judah means praise.
“…and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in
the Lord your God and you will be upheld…”
It’s fight or flight time, but when you can’t
win the fight and you can’t run from it… Watch
this. This is amazing. They didn’t have
to fight it, but they did have to face it.
God wants to give you the faith to
face it and to trust him to fight it.
Do you have the faith not to fight it in your
flesh but to deal with it in your spirit?
Jesus told Peter, “Put your sword away.”
Sometimes it takes more faith not to
fight. Sometimes it takes more faith
just to go to the cross and get over
your pride and get over yourself
and let him fight your battles.
What they did next is remarkable,
especially considering the enemies
were standing right in their face.
The Scripture says, “After consulting the people,
Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord…”
Singing is a strange strategy to
fight three nations all at once,
but sometimes the battle is so big that
you know, “I can’t fight this on my own.”
I always thought this Scripture meant that
when you’re in trouble you should sing,
but some people can’t carry
a tune and don’t like music.
Now I realize the passage isn’t
about music; it’s about focus.
“I want you to look past your enemy,
and I want you to sing.” It says,
“Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and
to praise him for the splendor of his holiness.”
Let’s focus on him. Let’s focus on what’s right
about God rather than what’s wrong with our lives.
If you will focus on that, if you will look past
what’s standing in front of you that’s bigger
than you and look to the God who is bigger than it
and praise him for the splendor of his holiness…
“…as they went out at the head of the
army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.'” Give thanks to
the Lord. I wonder if there are any praisers
from the tribe of Judah who are willing
to use gratitude as a strategy for the
battle you’re in and magnify the
Lord in the middle of the battle.
“As they began to sing and praise, the
Lord set ambushes against [their enemies],
and they were defeated [by
the angel armies of God].”
God is going to fight what you can see
by sending what you can’t see. I declare
an ambush against insecurity,
an ambush against addiction,
an ambush against depression, an ambush
against the darkness in your life!
“The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against
the men from Mount Seir…” That’s the enemies.
“…to destroy and annihilate them.” The
enemy started eliminating the enemy.
That’s what happens when you let God
fight your battles. He’s going to use
everything that came against you! He’s going
to use everything the Enemy meant for evil!
He’s going to use a cross to create
a space for a resurrection for the
glory of the Lord! He’s in this
place! Give him a shout of praise!