Friday, September 14, 2012

Feeling dry?

This has been an extremely dry summer here in Nebraska.  The fields are edged with dead corn - those plants too far away from the irrigation shriveled up and died long before it was time to turn brown for harvest.  The difference between plants that were given water and plants that received none is stark.
Even the leaves on the trees lining the roads turned brown and died long before they should have.  If you walk along under them, the leaves crunch, reminding you of fall.  But you know it's a sign of premature death.

It's not supposed to be this way.  It's supposed to rain.

I wonder if the weather can affect my soul.

Ever feel brittle?  Thirsty?  Forgotten?

Well.  Here's my cure for that today.

"Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord."  2 Chronicles 20:3 (My grandma's Amplified Bible that I've been reading through)
Judah and Israel are split.  God's chosen people separated into two nations.  Israel is under the rule of a wicked man named Ahab.  Remember the stories of Elijah running from an evil king?  That's Ahab.  The mountain with the prophets of Baal and the fire falling from heaven?  Ahab.  Jezebel?  Ahab's wife.

But Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, has decided that he's going to be different.  He's going to seek God and worship Him alone.  And what does he get for his loyalty?  Attacked by the Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites (whoever they are) - a HUGE army.  

Jehoshaphat panics just for a second and then he decides to seek God, praying, "We have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us.  We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You."  2 Chron. 20:12

 And then?

Jehoshaphat and all Israel with him, "stood before the Lord" (vs 13) and waited.  Who knows how long, but they stood there until God spoke.

This is the part where it's easy to feel brittle.  Easy to feel that if it doesn't rain soon you might just shrivel up and die under the pounding of the sun.  Easy to feel that while God has been pouring Himself out to show others His heart, He's forgotten you.

But God is faithful and always answers His people.

"You shall not need to fight in this battle; take your position, stand still, and see the deliverance of the Lord [Who is] with you, O Judah and Jerusalem.  Fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you." (vs 17)

So... (I LOVE THIS!) Jehoshaphat sends his army out the next morning led by a praise band singing, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and lovingkindness endure forever!" (vs. 21).
As a singer and not a warrior, it takes faith to walk in front of the fighting men to meet your enemies' advancing armies.  But when Judah arrived at the battlefield, they saw that God had been there before them and the armies were already dead.
All of them.
Suspecting betrayal among the armies, they had destroyed each other.

And God receives all the praise and glory for the victory.  Every nation surrounding Judah and God's people themselves know that the battle was won by God!

So, my takeaway from all this?  What's the cure for feeling forgotten?
1.)  Set yourself to seek God.  Fight distraction.
2.)  Stand in the presence of God and wait.
3.)  Remind yourself that God is always faithful!
4.)  Whatever He tells you to do - DO IT!
5.)  Praise God knowing that when He answers, all the glory will (deservedly) go to Him!