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….Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 CH 20.15, 17)
When we face a “great horde”, be it actual enemies, financial problems, rebellious children, marital problems, sickness, or our own gigantic sin that looms before us, we can be tempted in two ways. We can be tempted to be afraid and tempted to be dismayed. God told Jehoshaphat two times not to give in to these temptations.
Do not be afraid or dismayed. Don’t fear and don’t be discouraged.
God tells us not to yield to fear or discouragement, for the battle belongs to him. He is waging war against the sin in our life and in the life of that rebellious teen. He is fighting the fear and unbelief in our hearts. He is fighting for our holiness and joy. The battle is not ours but God’s.
We must guard against this double-edged temptation. We must battle fear and discouragement.
“Do not be dismayed” has to do with the present. We can be dismayed at the state of our marriage or how our kids are doing. We can be discouraged at our slow progress to conquer a sin.
“Do not be afraid” has to do with the future. We fear for our teen if she continues the direction she’s going. We fear there won’t be enough money next month. We fear that this pain won’t go away. God tells us not to be fearful for the future, nor be discouraged about the present.
A sister I know had been battling depression and was experiencing powerful emotions of discouragement and fear. One day on her way into a store, she passed a Salvation Army Lady collecting money. She’d just heard a message about casting our bread upon the waters, so she went back and gave a dollar, and the lady gave her a little envelope with a card inside. She opened it and the card read:
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.’
God specifically spoke to her about the very emotions she was struggling with and greatly encouraged her that day, and he wants to encourage you today. Do not be dismayed at what you see, nor afraid of what may be – the battle is the Lord’s.
photo by Eugene of Norway