There’s this one little verse in the account of Jehoshaphat that brings color to his whole history. “His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord.” Under his reign, Judah became a strongly fortified land, so fortified that the surrounding kingdoms lived in fear of the Lord. Jehoshaphat appointed judges and commanded them to “deal courageously” with the people. Perhaps his greatest act of courage came when a great multitude rose up out of Edom, and Jehoshaphat was afraid. But in his fear he “set his face to seek the Lord” and he prayed.
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven?
You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.
In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you…
If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine,
we will stand before this house and before you in our affliction,
and you will hear and save…
WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO, BUT OUR EYES ARE ON YOU.”
The Lord’s answer to that courageous prayer was in these words,
“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde,
for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them…
Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord.”
What the Israelites saw was the enemy turn against itself and wipe itself out.
While the army of Judah did nothing but sing.
It’s a story of courage that fits perfectly in the Hebrews 11 account of those,
“who through faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises,
stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword,
were made strong out weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight…”
But in these same heroic annals were listed those who were
“tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life.
Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment.
They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword…”
How could such a courage exist? The author of Hebrews echos the prayer of Jehoshaphat when he too, says one need only to “LOOK TO JESUS.” Only in considering the One who has founded and perfected our faith, endured the cross, despised it’s shame and is now seated at the right hand of God can we find the courage to resist sin, endure discipline, and strive for peace and holiness. Hebrews 12 ends with the following call to courageous worship.
“Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us off to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
“Did we in our own strength confidence, our striving would be losing, were not the right Man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing: Dost ask who that may be? Christ Jesus, it is He; Lord Sabbath His name, from age to age the same, And He must win the battle.”
Click on the About link at the top of the page to find out how we use tiny objects like the one above to help remember each of the 25 people in the genealogy of Christ we will be reading about during the Advent season