Tag Archives: God’s Battle

Trusting God’s Timing

God’s Time or Man’s Time

When the Lord delivered me from a vast army, I wasn’t aware it marked the end of the first leg of my amazing journey in Christ.

So at the beginning of the new year, I set out with the same mindset as I had before: to work and provide for my family.

First, I reminded myself of my priorities to keep me from being enticed by the world. These priorities limited my options. After exhausting all my remaining options, I realized if I would adhere to these priorities I’d be left with nothing.

“It’s impossible the Lord would leave me with nothing.”

He was silent.

I waited. Each day seemed like weeks and weeks passed like it was forever. I didn’t know if I felt discouraged, frustrated, or hopeless. I considered waiting as inactivity therefore unproductiveness, and therefore a waste of time.

Maybe God’s silence means I should use my brain and do something. I would love to resolve the matter on my own though that would mean compromising my priorities.

During my Bible reading, I was reminded of three characters who needed to wait but did not.

Abraham and Sarah

In Genesis 15, God promised Abraham descendants of his own. Abraham and Sarah waited, and waited, and waited for the promised offspring. After they had been living in Canaan for ten years, Sarah remained barren.

They became impatient and took matters into their own hands. It says in Genesis 16:

1 Now Sarai, Abram’s wife, had borne him no children. But she had an Egyptian slave named Hagar; so she said to Abram, “The Lord has kept me from having children. Go, sleep with my slave; perhaps I can build a family through her.”

Abram agreed to what Sarai said. So after Abram had been living in Canaan ten years, Sarai his wife took her Egyptian slave Hagar and gave her to her husband to be his wife. He slept with Hagar, and she conceived.

When she knew she was pregnant, she began to despise her mistress. Then Sarai said to Abram, “You are responsible for the wrong I am suffering. I put my slave in your arms, and now that she knows she is pregnant, she despises me. May the Lord judge between you and me.”

“Your slave is in your hands,” Abram said. “Do with her whatever you think best.” Then Sarai mistreated Hagar; so she fled from her.

16 Abram was eighty-six years old when Hagar bore him Ishmael.

They rushed God’s plan and “helped” Him accomplish His promise in their own way and timing, in their own limited understanding, which made the situation complicated.

Sarah gave her maidservant, Hagar, to her husband. Abraham passively agreed to his wife. Just as they planned, Hagar conceived but disobedience has consequences. Hagar despised Sarah, Sarah blamed Abraham, Abraham avoided his responsibility and told Sarah to do whatever she thinks best, so Sarah mistreated Hagar, then Hagar ran away pregnant.

Their impatience shows lack of trust in God’s sovereignty and power to do what He promised. This only resulted in marital strife and strained relationships.

The promised offspring came 14 years after this incident, or a total of 25 years from the time God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldeans to Canaan. We find in Genesis 21, God did as He promised:

1 Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what he had promised. Sarah became pregnant and bore a son to Abraham in his old age, at the very time God had promised him.Abraham gave the name Isaac to the son Sarah bore him. When his son Isaac was eight days old, Abraham circumcised him, as God commanded him. Abraham was a hundred years old when his son Isaac was born to him.

Nothing is too hard for the Lord. God’s promises are not dependent on men but on His faithful character. He has His own way of accomplishing His plans according to His own time.

With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 2 Peter 3:8

Saul

Another passage that really struck me was 1 Samuel 13.

Israel went to war against the Philistines. With the Israelites having only a total of 3,000 men versus the Philistines with 3,000 chariots, 6,000 charioteers, and soldiers as numerous as the sand on the seashore, outnumbered is an understatement.

Their situation was critical and their army was hard pressed. All the troops with King Saul were quaking with fear.

The Israelite soldiers gathered together and waited for Samuel, the prophet, to arrive to make a burnt offering to God. Every day they waited increased the chance the Philistines would attack and Israel didn’t want to go to war without seeking God’s favor.

They waited and waited. Samuel said he would come in seven days but he did not come and the men began to scatter.

So Saul took matters in his own hands and made a burnt offering to the Lord even with a clear instruction from Samuel to wait and clear instructions from the Lord to the Israelites that only priests or Levites were allowed to make offerings and sacrifices to God on behalf of the people.

Just as he finished making the offering, Samuel arrived.

Saul wanted to seek God’s favor before going to battle but he did it by disobeying His commands. He made a decision based on their circumstance and the fearful soldiers around him, not on the clear instructions of the Lord, thus his kingdom did not endure.

What is more pleasing to the LORD: your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams. (1 Samuel 15:22)

Trusting God’s Timing

It is difficult to wait and “do nothing” especially when we are troubled or worried. We tend to resolve our problems based on our limited knowledge and understanding instead of trusting God who is all-knowing, sovereign, and faithful.

Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and turn away from evil. (Proverbs 3:7)

God wants us to inquire of Him in everything. And we inquire of Him not just for the sake of asking but with an earnest desire to obey exactly what the Lord wants us to do.

Obedience first requires attentive listening or waiting on God’s instructions, then being fully compliant and submissive to what was instructed.

Not all waiting is waiting around like one would in line or doctor’s appointment.

Waiting on God is not passive but active waiting — actively seeking, trusting, and preparing for His will.

It is a beautiful season to fully trust and be patient in God’s plans and timing, not on our limited knowledge or strength nor in our circumstance. A time to learn from the Lord, to focus on His character, and be certain that He is in control [not us].

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

First published on February 11, 2017. Rewritten October 2019.

A Pathway Through the Wilderness

I went out unafraid of the vast army ahead of me because of God’s promise and assurance to me the previous night.  However, as the day unfolded, my heart was again in turmoil. I began to worry about a lot of things. I easily lost sight of Him. In my eyes, the vast army became greater than my Lord.

Are you really going to deliver me?
Why?
How can this be Your battle?
Why would You show favor to me when I am at fault? 
Was that really Your message to me or am I only taking that passage to suit my own desires?

I became fearful and prepared to retreat but the Lord took hold of my heart and shifted my gaze back to Him.

My emotions were dictated by what I was magnifying. If I want my heart to be still, I need to focus on the steadfast character of the Lord, not on the changing circumstances and people around me.

I took refuge in His Word: “Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17) This was the only thing that kept me going each day.

Finally, after three weeks in battle, I found relief. The Lord delivered me but not the way I expected it. He led me to a safe place but through a route I never wanted to take. Hoping to understand what happened, I asked the Lord: “Was it really necessary? Does it really have to be this way?”

He replied through the passage in Exodus 13:17-18:

When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, “If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.” So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.

Even though the Israelites went out ready for battle, God knew they might change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war against the Philistines. So He led them through a different route. Then He had them turn back and encamp by the sea. Pharaoh thought “the Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert” so he pursued them but the Lord gained glory for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army. (Exodus 14:1-4)

At first, it didn’t make sense to take a longer and more difficult route when there are easier and shorter alternative routes for that same destination. But considering my hesitation about an important decision, I believe God did this so there would be no chance for me to change my mind and choose not to go out of my comfort zone.

The Lord is provident. He knows my heart. He knows exactly where He is leading me and what route I should take in the same way He knew exactly where He would lead the Israelites in their journey from slavery to the Promised Land.

Just when I thought the battle is over, He said this to me again:

“Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Oh yeah, the Lord is not yet done! This was just the first leg of a journey I never ever imagined even in my wildest dreams! I await in eager expectation to witness God’s glory and to see the fruit of His work.

But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.

For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

First published on April 14, 2017.

Fear Not, For the Battle Belongs to God

A Vast Army Ahead

It wasn’t easy to make this important decision. After contemplating about it, I was still hesitant and thought of postponing my plan.

I asked the Lord what I should do. I had hoped He would tell me to do what my heart desired. But He instructed me the opposite and even told me to go an extra mile and do what was difficult for me.

God’s message was clear and I was rebuked that my desires and actions were reflection of my defiance. He wants me to submit and respect authority, to imitate His character, to not just have an exceptional output but more importantly have a right heart before Him. He also wanted me to do something that was not even necessary.

After a few weeks, I asked Him again what I should do. I had a feeling this event was something inevitable and I thought maybe the Lord just wanted to correct my heart before affirming my decision. But He told me the same thing as before — no.

As the situation went to a climax, I cried out to the Lord wanting to be out of it. I asked His leading if I can do what I had been asking Him. The Lord comforted me by reminding me of His character and the things He has done:

Father, You are ultimately in control – You always are in all situations.
You are the same yesterday, today and forever.
You never change Your mind.
My days are already set before You.
You are faithful and dependable.
You have shown Your faithfulness time and time again.
I have no reason to doubt You.
You are true, steadfast and unchangeable.
You are not swayed by mere men.
You are God all-powerful and all-knowing.
Yet in all Your majesty and splendor, You make time for me.
You have turned Your eyes on me and have shown me mercy…

Fear Not, The Battle Belongs to God

The Lord led me to read 2 Chronicles 20:1-30.

A vast army from the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord.

At first, I just wanted to be encouraged with God’s character and the things He has done by reading Jehoshaphat’s prayer:

O Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 

Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?

They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’

“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir… Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

They cried out to God in their distress. And I realized this is the exact description of what I felt – distressed!

As I continued reading, the Lord comforted me with His response to Jehoshaphat’s prayer:

…This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them…

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

God’s response was addressed to Judah, Jerusalem and their king Jehoshaphat. But God’s character described in this passage is true for eternity and was the only thing I held on to.

Though they were greatly outnumbered, king Jehoshaphat obeyed without question. He trusted God and led the people to obedience. His confidence was not from great assurance in their military ability but confidence that comes in trusting God’s faithfulness to His promise and the assurance that He would be with them.

Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” . . .

As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.

Find Peace in God’s Presence

The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

The Lord was glorified through their obedience. He not only gave them victory over their enemies but also peace to the kingdom of Jehoshaphat.

Faith and trust in God produces obedience. Obedience is key to receiving God’s favor and blessings.

Problems, challenges and trials reveal the contents of man’s heart. And our response shows how we perceive God and how much we trust and obey Him.

The Lord is faithful in revealing my deepest sins, rebuking, correcting and confronting me through His Word — the Bible. At the same time showing and reminding me of His character, comforting and encouraging me to have a right heart before Him and to obey regardless how difficult or unreasonable it may seem.

We find true peace not in having a favorable circumstance but in God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. It enables us not to depend in our own strength or in what we see but only in God’s power and sovereignty.

God’s presence comforted me and His voice, through His Word, assured me. I found peace in the truth that though I am shortsighted, He who directs my path is all-knowing and trustworthy.

My situation did not change but the Lord changed my heart. I had the courage to face the vast army because my God promised to be with me. All I needed was to obey what He told me. The result belongs to Him.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

(First published on March 15, 2017 entitled: “Finding Peace and Comfort In the Face of a Vast Army”)

Further readings and study about King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

“When You Trust God, There Is No Need to Fear”

Ambushing Satan with Song