The Confidence of the Lord
By Benjamin H. Liles
The people of Judah and Jerusalem met in front of the new courtyard in the Temple of the Lord. Then Jehoshaphat stood up, and he said, “Lord, God of our ancestors, you are the God in heaven. You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations.
You have power and strength in your hand so no one can stand against you. Our God, you forced out the people who lived in this land as your people Israel moved in. And you gave this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham. They lived in this land and built a Temple for you. They said, ‘If trouble comes upon us, or war, punishment, sickness, or hunger, we will stand before you and before this Temple where you have chosen to be worshiped. We will cry out to you when we are in trouble. Then you will hear and save us.’ ~ 2 Chronicles 20:5-9, Expanded
I am reminded of the steadfast attitude of both men and heroes who refuse to bow their knee in the face of adversity. Except when it comes to being fully prepared before our Lord and King. Yes, we're looking at what Jehoshaphat did here, but at the same time, it reminds me of how Daniel's friends stood with Nebuchadnezzar. If we go back to Daniel 3, we see the king had set up an idol of himself for everyone to pay homage to. Unlike the others, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, not only refused to bow down to the image of gold, their reply was thus, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up" (Daniel 3:16-18, New King James).
I sit here and I wonder how I was going to title this. Originally, I was going to give it the title Living in Boldness. But I did a cursory look and felt The Confidence of the Lord is far better. Why? When we take the attitude of "Lord, I don't like the circumstance I'm in. This is terrible. I'm not moving until you move. I'm not getting up from this spot until there is an answer. Once I have your word, your favor, I will do whatever it is you need me to do." Both camps of people did this. Jehoshaphat and his people fell face flat on the ground, seeking after God and His ways. They weren't going to go anywhere until they had a definite answer on what was going to happen.
In the case of Daniel's friends, they were put rather on the spot by how the text reads. We read, "Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and accused the Jews. They spoke and said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, shall fall down and worship the gold image; and whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego; these men, O king, have not paid due regard to you. They do not serve your gods or worship the gold image which you have set up" (Daniel 3:8-12).
Nebuchadnezzar leaves the counsel of those men wound up and wanting blood. "Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying to them, “Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the gold image which I have set up? Now if you are ready at the time you hear the sound of the horn, flute, harp, lyre, and psaltery, in symphony with all kinds of music, and you fall down and worship the image which I have made, good! But if you do not worship, you shall be cast immediately into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you from my hands?" (Daniel 3:14-15).
What can be done in those moments where it seems so dark and the light of God seems to be puffed out? Are we to take a confident stand in Him who is our strength? Do we fall over ourselves in fear when things appear dismal and bleak? The first thing I can say here is that no one can extinguish the light of God. There is no power that can overpower the light of Him who created both night and day. It is in God's word that all else fails. We can have confidence in Him as He is our banner. He is our sure hope in times of peril. If we fall, let us fall before Him in humility with expectant hope He will bring us through.
Consequently, God's Spirit did come to Jehoshaphat. "Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah," (2 Chronicles 20:14) saying, "Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s...You will not need to fight in this battle...Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you" (2 Chronicles 15-17).
Once we have God's word, His security, we can do those things He commands of us. We can live in His confidence. By standing in Him when it seems all Hell breaks loose we can come through anything. It doesn't mean we run and hide. It doesn't mean we run headlong into foolhardy battles that can easily be lost. When we take our stand in Him, it means a level of sacrifice on our part. The rest belongs to Him who promises He will take care of His part. All we have to do is put our trust in Him.
Lastly, when it comes to being our time to go we don't have to fear death or the grave. Jesus, God's Son, conquered that for us. He came before us setting out to finish what the Father intended on putting asunder. When we turn to Him, repenting of our sins, giving our lives, and offering our whole selves up to and for Him, He goes before us taking care of our enemies. In fact, the day Jesus took on the cross, the powers of Hell were put on display. Yes, the serpent struck the Son's heel (the nail) as God said would happen in Genesis (see chapter 3, verse 15), but Jesus also bruised Satan's head by remaining on the cross even while He was ridiculed and mocked (see Mark 15:31).
The point is that Jesus took on the cross, death, and the grave so we would no longer be held captive by the enemy any longer. We have nothing to fear. Not in this life, nor in the next to come either. We have the victory. The battle wasn't ours to begin with. You can rest assured in that.
Father, thank You for the promise You give when You say You have things covered. I realize I may sin and do wrong, but I know when I come to You and confess my wrongs You clear the slate. It doesn't mean I go back and do it again. It means I am now aware of remaining clear. I am to be holy, set apart and sanctified, so Your name is praised. Besides, when people see me, I want them to see You in me. I want others to have confidence in You as I have confidence in You. For You are everything to me, and everything I ever need is in You. I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.