Bold as a Lion or Squeaky as a Mouse?

by Christina Rose

After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever! At the very moment, they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.                                                                        2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NLT

The people of Judah felt overwhelmed by the three enormous armies that were about to destroy them. They must have felt like terrified squeaky little mice who were about to be devoured by big, bold lions.  Knowing how hopeless their circumstances were, they called on God to rescue them.  The day before battle, King Jehoshaphat bowed with his face toward the ground and all the people of Judah bowed down to worship the Lord with him.

Early the next morning, Jehoshaphat appointed men to march while boldly praising the Lord as if the battle had already been won. As they marched in front of their army, loudly praising God,  He threw their enemies into confusion, who then turned on themselves, slaughtering one another.  Not only were their enemies defeated,  the people of Judah spent three days collecting the spoils of war that had been abandoned.

Paul and Silas were arrested by officials who severely beat them then placed them in an inner dungeon with their feet clamped into stocks. It is likely their injuries were serious. They had no idea if they would survive this imprisonment.

Rather than hopelessly whimpering or feeling like terrified little mice, they chose to trust God.

Throughout the night they sang bold hymns of praise while the other prisoners listened. Around midnight, a massive earthquake leveled the prison. Every door swung open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off. It was a glorious display of Gods magnificent power to set everyone free.

When my daughters were young, we would load up the little red wagon with a picnic and spend the day at the zoo. As feeding time approached, the bellowing, bone-chilling, thunderous roars of lions resounded throughout the zoo. Despite their being behind bars, we never got too close to the lions. We hung back, wondering if they could be strong enough to break through those cages and pounce on my little girls for a quick and tasty meal. While their majestic presence and intense stares were impressive, it was their bellowing, resounding roars that inspired the greatest awe and fear.

If the people of Judah were scared, squeaky little mice when they went into battle, they would have been squashed immediately. But God responded to their bold and mighty lion-like roars and protected them.

If  Paul and Silas had been whimpering in jail like terrified little mice they most likely would have ended up dying there. Instead, God honored their trust by shaking the earth, breaking their chains, and setting them free.

Sometimes the squeaky little mouse in me threatens to overtake me. I can feel myself shrinking in fear. But then my big, bold lion leaps to the forefront, reminding me of whose I am. We were born to be mighty warriors and to roar to the world that nothing is impossible when we call on our God with songs of worship and praise.

And when we do, He may well conquer our battles for us before they have even begun.

But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you!” 2 Chronicles 20:17 NLT

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Bold as a Lion or Squeaky as a Mouse? – encouragement from Christina Rose on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

christina roseAbout the author: Christina Rose is an author, trainer and speaker certified by the John Maxwell Team of Leadership.  She is a DAR (Daughter of the American Revolution) whose ancestors fought in the Revolutionary War. A devoted mom of two daughters and great aunt to over 40 nieces and nephews, Christina loves spending time in nature and hosting gatherings for family and friends.

Christina’s book, My Appeal to Heaven, is her story. Her marriage in shambles, Christina finds herself in a desperate situation with no resources other than herself. After appealing to heaven, the Lord takes her on a journey of awakening and miraculous empowerment. That power that is available to us all, especially those who are in need of hope and freedom.

Join the conversation: What do you need to trust Him for today?

 

Beyond My Control

by Afton Rorvik

I like order. I like lists. I like knowing what tomorrow holds.

Many years ago when the company I worked for merged with another company, I flailed. My position was being threatened by the powers that be. I knew this job, these people. I worked minutes from my house. There was a lot to lose. But more than anything, I hated sitting and waiting for someone else to make decisions about my life.

During that time, I discovered an Old Testament passage that has since become my go-to story when life throws me a challenge beyond my control. This account, found in 2 Chronicles 20, features Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. He received news that a huge army was about to attack his kingdom. When Jehoshaphat heard the news, he was alarmed. Who doesn’t feel alarmed when unexpected situations come flying at you?

Jehoshaphat, however, did not wallow in panic or fear. And he did not start drawing up a battle plan or gathering troops. Instead, he gathered the people together to fast and pray. His subjects came from all over Judah to jointly pray and seek the Lord’s help.

Jehoshaphat stood among them and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”  (2 Chronicles 20: 6, NIV) He went on to recite all of the ways God had proved Himself faithful in the past to His people. He ended the prayer by pleading, “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.” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV, emphasis added)

God responded to their cry. He spoke through a prophet right then and there, and gave reassurance to the people. The prophet told them “Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but Gods’.” (2 Chronicles 20:15 NASB)

Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord as well.

So . . . a vast army lurked. And Jehoshaphat did something seemingly illogical and impractical. He worshiped.

Let’s be honest, most of us don’t fight life-threatening battles with worship. My knee-jerk response to the unexpected usually involves crawling into myself and focusing on private prayer that goes along the lines of “God, please fix this!”

I need to follow the example of Jehoshaphat in spending time reminding myself of God’s steadfast, powerful, and never-changing character as well as remember the weakness and ineffectiveness of any human effort. And be drawn not into despair but rather into worship.

Worship might take the form of fasting or congregational singing; or it might look like a woman sitting alone in a comfortable living room chair thanking God every morning that He sees, He cares, and He is at work in situations far beyond my control.

I did eventually lose that fabulous job and went on to face a lot of other life challenges. And I’m sure I have many more such challenges ahead of me.

And that is why I return again and again to the story of Jehoshaphat. It pulls me back to worship and helps me make Jehoshaphat’s words my own: “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (2 Chronicles 20: 12 NIV)

afton rorvik.jpgAbout the author: Part of the publishing industry since 1987, Afton Rorvik enjoys her roles as wife, mother, friend, editor, and writer. She loves shaping words, reading books by contemplative authors, listening to music, drinking coffee with friends, traveling, and savoring the words in her favorite book—the Bible. In 2014 Afton published Storm Sisters, a story-filled book on how to be present when storms hit a friend’s life. You can learn more about Afton and her ministry on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

 

Free Book Contest!  Arise Daily will use a random number generator to pick a winner from today’s comments. To enter our contest for Afton’s book, Storm Sisters, Friends Through All Seasons,  please comment below.  By posting in our comments, you are giving us permission to share your name if you win!  If you have an outside the US mailing address, your prize could be substituted with an e-book of our choice.

Join the conversation: What unexpected situation have you faced that might have been helped by Jehoshaphat’s story?