Relying on God
Zerah the Ethiopian came out against them with an army of a million men and 300 chariots, and came as far as Mareshah. And Asa went out to meet him, and they drew up their lines of battle in the Valley of Zephathah at Mareshah. And Asa cried unto the Lord his God, “O LORD our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O LORD, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” (2 Chronicles 14:9-12, ESV)
Today I was reading the account of King Asa in 2 Chronicles 14 and felt compelled to spend a good bit of time ruminating on the passage of scripture listed above. While I have never had a million men and 300 chariots lined up ready to do battle with me, I have had a greater enemy trying to destroy me. The Bible tells us that Satan is a roaring lion seeking those that he desires to devour (1 Peter 5:8). That’s a very formidable foe. Often the enemy of my soul is not primarily concerned about wiping me off the face of the earth. I have committed my life to Jesus Christ and have exchanged my rotten rags of righteousness for the pure and holy righteousness of Christ. I am safe in Jesus (John 10:28). My enemy is far more concerned about getting me to be overwhelmed about the daily struggles of life and turn from eyes away from Christ in humble dependence. Those struggles come in many forms: financial, spiritual, organizational, family crises, attacks on my character and leadership, and health issues to name a few. Any of these things can seem as formidable to me as the million soldiers and 300 chariots did to King Asa.
As we face formidable foes King Asa presents for us a glorious remedy that will help us keep our minds healthy and whole amid extremely stressful situations. His approach to the overwhelming power of the enemy is available to all who will humble themselves before the Lord God. King Asa declared that he relied on the God. It is always tempting to lean on political solutions, quick fix solutions, and emotional responses that seem right at the time. However, the solution is always to rely on God. Isaiah 40:31 tells us that those who wait on the Lord receive renewed strength. A few verses earlier the prophet Isaiah tells us that even youth grow weary and fatigued. I know that I do not have as much energy as I once did. I cannot rely on youthful energy, but I have a greater power – the power of God that has been given to me because the Holy Spirit dwells in me. I have learned to rest, to lean, and to rely on the Lord.
Over the past two months I have begun to seek the Lord more diligently and to ask Him to grant me wisdom, to provide for my financial needs, to help me raise my children in a godly manner, to be a godly husband, and to effectively lead God’s church. I am seeing many answers to prayer simply because I admitted that I did not have all the answers and humbly asked the Lord to intervene. While submitting to the Lord I did not cease to use the intelligence God has given me nor to ignore the resources He has placed at my disposal. I’m still reading and studying leadership articles, seeking advice from others, and working hard. I’m not taking a passive approach. The Lord is empowering me and strengthening me to do His work. God does not do it for us. He does it through us. (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)
The difference in my life lately is that I have learned what Asa proclaimed. I am relying on the Lord and am endeavoring to conquer the enemies that come against me in the name of the Lord. I am expressing faith in the Lord, building myself up by listening to sound biblical teaching, singing songs of praise that extol the Lord for His glorious grace, salvation and deliverance. There has been a change of focus and a renewed sense of trusting in the Lord and depending on God for lasting results. I recognize that I can be stupid at times, but that I can always humbly submit to the wisdom of God. I’ve seen the Lord restore to me the years that the locusts have eater (Joel 2:25) I encourage myself in the Lord and strengthen myself in Him. I would like to tell you that I have become perfect in this area. I have not, but I am growing in this area and you can, too.
You might be thinking, “The battles of life are wearing me down. What can I do?” Cry out to God just as Asa did. If you are in Christ you can be assured that you are perfectly loved by the Father because of Christ’s perfect sacrifice on Calvary. You already have the resources of heaven available to you. If you are not a follower of Christ, then cast yourself upon the mercy and grace of Christ. Cry out to Him. Jesus promised, “Whoever comes to me I will never cast out (John 6:37, ESV). Wave the flag of surrender and quit relying on your own meager resources and wisdom. Depend on the Lord to strengthen you and go before you into battle. When you do you will be able to enjoy the daily blessings that God provides. So many people are stressed out and cannot enjoy spending time with their children, viewing a beautiful sunset, or participating in a pleasant conversation with a neighbor. Many people are angry and constantly lash out at others, because they have spent all their time and energy fighting the battles of life with earthly, human methods instead of depending on God and His power.
May we all learn to rely on the Lord, to depend on Him for our wisdom and strength, and to lean on Him in humble dependence.