"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.” 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV
This thing called Addiction had me duped for a long time. I have to admit even after growing up in an alcoholic home, I was caught off guard on more than one occasion by my sons' addictions and their resulting behaviors.
Having previously gone through it with one son, I still found myself standing with egg on my face as his brother's behavior became even more unpredictable. Nothing could prepare me for the lies, the manipulation, and the desperation that became a necessary part of his survival as he struggled to satisfy the insatiable appetite brought on by his cravings.
2 Chronicles chapter 20 became an anchor for me during those years of struggling to understand how to fight for my sons, while I tried to learn to surrender the false sense of control I had in their lives.
In this story, the enemies of God's people gathered forces and came at them bent on their destruction. We know what that feels like. Our enemy doesn't come in and quietly announce his plans to us so we can figure out what we do to stop him. No, he comes in like a flood. He hits us from all sides and catches us off guard. He causes us confusion, fear, and his attacks often leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless.
If we are unprepared, he will succeed in accomplishing his number one objective, which is to cause us to react out of panic rather than to act and respond out of trusting obedience to our Lord.
Panic is often the result when we don't know what to do.
Prepare for Battle
We will look a little closer at this chapter over the next few days, but for now let's look at Preparation for the battle. Verse 3 says,
"And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord..."
Here we see how we prepare for the attacks of the enemy before we are in the middle of them. The alarm was sounded. King Jehoshaphat feared. He was overwhelmed. The enemy was too big, too fierce, and he knew his people would be destroyed without the help of the Lord.
He was overwhelmed and confused. He was terrified.
Seek the Lord
Did he panic? No. Instead, he set himself to seek the Lord. He personally asked the Lord for help, for wisdom. Nothing can take the place of a personal relationship with the Lord when we are facing an enemy as big as addiction.
No one can speak personally into our lives and circumstance the perfect solution to our unique situations and battles. No one but God knows us that intimately. Our personal communion with him teaches us to hear his voice of direction while the enemy is shouting lies and confusion at us.
Gather the Troops
Next. He gathered the people together to fast and seek the Lord. As we continue our study, we will learn the importance of gathering the army of God's people together to battle our enemies. As we will see in the next few verses, the Lord used other faithful men of God to speak into the lives of terrified people the promises of God.
When we hide behind guilt and shame and refuse to tell others that we are overwhelmed and afraid and need them to stand with us, we lose the power of connection God so wants us to have with each other. If pride keeps us from asking for help, we just may be cutting off the very hand that the Lord is using to feed us comfort and strength.
Fast and Pray
There is power in fasting and prayer. Here the Lord cleanses us from our own agendas and sets us apart for his purpose. As we together with God's people fast and pray, the Lord prepares our hearts for battle and our ears to hear him speak. Through prayer and fasting we are actually strengthened for the battle.
Let's consider these thoughts as we prepare for the battles that await us. We will continue to look at what to do when you don't know what to do in parts 2 and 3.