Monday, September 10, 2007

[Holy] Fear

P1010100, originally uploaded by Lizi Beth.

Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let him who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the LORD
and rely on his God.
- Isaiah 50:10

Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you ..."

"O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? ... Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. ... We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you."

All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.

..."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, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.' "

Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD.

Early in the morning they left for [battle]. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, ...! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; ..." After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever."

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 men of Ammon and Moab 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.
The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries 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.

-II Chronicles 20:2-29

All of the above post was from one of the sermons I heard yesterday (I ended up hearing two).
It focused on the idea that prayer is our means of communicating with our God. It involves worship. Humility. Waiting for Him.
The other sermon I heard also talked about prayer. It made prayer sound like it was our ticket to get whatever we wanted from God, treating His power like a gumball machine.
That bugged me.
It is true that God loves us, that He wants to grant our desires. In fact, it is part of Who He is! But He wants us to know Him, for our desire to be Him. He wants us to turn to Him with worship when a situation turns bad, because He is our Light and our Strength, not because we know that He will give us an easy out.

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