Weekly REAP – Sabbathing Under Pressure

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After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 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; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD. And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you-for your name is in this house-and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy- behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:1-17

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When Jehoshaphat heard the bad news of the enemy at their doorstep, he didn’t resort to fighting or fleeing. Although Judah was scared, Jehoshaphat neither fled to corrupt Israel nor began preparing his armies, but he led Judah in a fast and prayed an honest, fearful prayer to God. He said something to the effect of, “You promised us you’d be there for us if we called out to you when stuff like this happens. So where are you? Are you going to come through for us?” You can almost hear his voice shaking and his faith buckling under the newfound pressure.

Then God comes through. He reassures the assembly through his prophet Jahaziel that he will do all the fighting. The battle is the Lord’s, and they won’t even have to fight, but only stand firm.

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This is a true Sabbath. I’ve been trying to keep my Sabbaths as low-pressure and comfortable as possible lately, but there’s always something I’m nervous about that is coming up, and it often derails my plans for a stress-free sabbath. I think I’ve completely misunderstood the mood that should define sabbath. It’s the day of the week we dedicate to remembering that all that stuff we’re nervous about, we can’t accomplish any of it by ourselves. On the Sabbath, we’re supposed to stop working and admit, “God I can’t do this unless you come through again for me.” If I’m sabbathing like that, there are bound to be some nail-biting days of rest ahead, but that doesn’t mean I’m sabbathing wrongly.

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Jesus, I can behold my final victory in your cross. There are things in my week that I don’t feel confident to accomplish. Spiritually-discerned conversations I need to have with people, and leading people in worship, and I just know I’m not holy enough to do these things well. But you were the one who went before me and fought this battle against my unworthiness. You bled and died, but defeated the sin that shames me at times even today.

I will not boast in anything, not in my giftings as a worship leader or musician, or wisdom. I will boast in you alone, Jesus. That you died and rose with all power, and declared me righteous for today and every day after.


This post is part of my Weekly REAP series. I’m posting these from my personal journal to share what God is teaching me, and to give some practical examples of the REAP method.  I didn’t write any of these with publishing in mind, so forgive me if they don’t always wax eloquent. Here is some more information on the REAP study method.

 

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