Devotional Week 24 Wednesday
“Tomorrow go down to them. Behold, they will come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the ravine before the Wilderness of Jeruel.”
II Chronicles 20: 16
“Facing the Enemy With Confidence”
“I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heaven and say there is no God.”
Do I trust my heavenly Father during the times that I face hardship in my own life?
What guidance and confidence has my heavenly Father given me during the trials of life?
“Let nothing disturb thee,
Nothing affright thee,
All things are passing;
God never changeth;
Attaineth to all things.
Whom God possesseth
In nothing is wanting:
Alone God sufficeth.”
“On the helm there rests a hand other than mine.”
When I was a young girl, I remember a picture my grandmother had in her bedroom. It was a picture of a boat on a rough sea, and Jesus was at the helm of the boat. This little picture made a big impression on my young mind for it left the thought with me that when life is the toughest for each one of us, Someone much more experienced has their hand on the helm.
In May 3, 1871, a poem-prayer entitled, “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me,” appeared without attribution in The Sailor’s Magazine. I’ve always found these words to be extremely comforting in times when the waves around me seem too swift and too high:
“Jesus, Savior, pilot me, over life’s tempestuous sea; unknown waves before me roll, hiding rocks and treacherous shoal; chart and compass come from Thee – Jesus, Saviour, pilot me.
When at last I near the shore, and the fearful breakers roar ‘twixt me and the peaceful rest, then while leaning on Thy breast, may I hear Thee say to me, ‘Fear not, I will pilot thee!’”
What beautiful words. And today this message can instill great confidence in you and me as we face the challenges before us. As one of my favorite poets, John Greenleaf Whittier so tenderly expressed, “Forgive me if too close I lean my human heart on Thee.”
I ask you, who better to lean on, rely on, and trust in than our Father. And this was exactly the advice contained in the message from Jahaziel when he told King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah, “Do not be afraid or dismayed.”
But there’s more to Jahaziel’s message. He didn’t just say don’t be afraid – he gave the king a real reason not to be afraid for in his message from God, Jahaziel went so far as to tell the people exactly where the enemy would be found. I absolutely love this part of the story for with God on his side, King Jehoshaphat didn’t have to worry at all about a sneak attack. He didn’t have to worry about an enemy’s trap – God had laid out, in clear detail, where the enemy was hiding. And what’s more, I take great confidence in the fact that through God’s messenger Jahaziel, the king found out that the enemy would be “before the wilderness”.
Now I don’t know about you, but sometimes in my own life, I’ve felt like I was getting pushed into the wilderness by the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites – and then God comes, at the moment of my greatest need, and says, “Go out tomorrow with your head held high because before you are pushed into the wilderness, I will deliver you. Victory is mine.” In the words of David in Psalm 91: 2, “I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in Him will I trust.”
This was how God instructed the people of Judah to meet the “triple threat.” Go out with confidence was His watchword. And then to add more than just words of advice, God gave His children a detailed map that let them know exactly where the enemy would be. Now this is a guide you and I can depend on.
In the journal of the missionary David Livingstone, written May 13, 1872, these words were penned:
“He will keep His word – the gracious One, full of grace and truth; no doubt of it. He said, ‘Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out’ and ‘whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, I will give it.’ He will keep His word; then I can come and humbly present my petition and it will be all right. Doubt is here inadmissible, surely.”
As we read in Scripture about God’s advice to King Jehoshaphat, we find not only is our Father at the helm of our lives, but He will even give us a map to guide us along the way. What more could we ask for and what a wonderful reason for us to have confidence and not be afraid.
“I heard a bird at break of day
Sing from the autumn trees
A song so mystical and calm,
So full of certainties,
No man, I think, could listen long
Except upon his knees.
“Tell Him about the heartache,
And tell Him the longings, too.
Tell Him the baffled purpose.
When we scarce know what to do.
Then leaving all our weakness
With the One divinely strong,
Forget that we bore a burden
And carry away a song.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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