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Good Fear

Daily Reading: 2 Chronicles 20

 

Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord (2 Chronicles 20.3-4)

 

Devotional Thought: Early in his reign, King Jehoshaphat brought trouble on himself by allying himself with Ahab, a wicked king who influenced Jehoshaphat to go against the will of the Lord.  Having learned from that experience, he now influenced others to call upon the Lord when they found themselves in trouble.

 

Faced with an overwhelming force of Moabites, Ammonites, and Meunites, Jehoshaphat...

  • Was afraid.  Jehoshaphat feared the invading armies.  That fear led him not to despair, however, but to hope.  Our fear - to be productive and healthy - needs to lead us to God.  "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (Proverbs 9.10)

  • Set his face to seek the Lord.  Jehoshaphat did not run and hide.  He did not blame God for his terrible predicament.  He determined, instead, to seek the face of God.  When facing insurmountable problems, we need to come face-to-face with God. "Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord" (Psalm 4.6).

  • Proclaimed a fast.  There are times when fasting and prayer must be done in secret.  This was not such a time.  Jehoshaphat knew the people were in trouble, too, so he invited everybody to participate in a fast.  More than that, he insisted, by royal proclamation, that the people fast.  When we find ourselves in trouble, we need to gain strength in the united efforts of God's people.

  • Assembled the people.  How easy it would have been simply to send out messengers to say, "Please pray for this situation."  Instead, the king saw value in coming together to seek the Lord.  The situation was drastic and demanded drastic measures.  We need to be like the early church who, "lifted their voices together to God" (Acts 4.24).

 

Prayer: Lord, I know that fear in itself is not bad, but is rather a vehicle to take us to you.  I know also that perfect love casts out fear.  So, when I am afraid, help me to trust in your perfect love, running into your arms for deliverance.  Amen.

 

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 68:11-18

11 The Lord gives the word; the women who announce the news are a great host:

12 "The kings of the armies--they flee, they flee!" The women at home divide the spoil--

13 though you men lie among the sheepfolds-- the wings of a dove covered with silver, its pinions with shimmering gold.

14 When the Almighty scatters kings there, let snow fall on Zalmon.

15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!

16 Why do you look with hatred, O many-peaked mountain, at the mount that God desired for his abode, yes, where the LORD will dwell forever?

17 The chariots of God are twice ten thousand, thousands upon thousands; the Lord is among them; Sinai is now in the sanctuary.

18 You ascended on high, leading a host of captives in your train and receiving gifts among men, even among the rebellious, that the LORD God may dwell there.

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