THE ESCALATION OF FAITH

faith

Faith can move mountains and in the Bible we do see that happening on a frequent basis. In real life and common practice though, it apparently rarely happens. So does faith work? The story of Jehoshaphat, king of Judah as he faced the huge Edomite army coming against him is certainly worth studying. In his own words,

“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.” (2Chronicles 20:12)

Jehoshaphat looks at the challenge facing their nation and acknowledges his extreme limitation in countering the threat. Often we find ourselves at the crossroads not knowing what to do and how to move forward in the midst of the many challenges that appear far too intimidating to handle. The first response for man is to seek help from those that appear to be powerful. But it is disaster waiting to happen when such potential allies are not on the side of God. Jehoshaphat perhaps remembered the condemnation his father Asa invited from God when he went begging for help from the Arameans to counter the Israelites. And so he makes the wise choice of turning to God. “Even though we do not know what to do, it is most reasonable to turn to you who knows all and controls all things”. Faith begins with belief. In faith, there lays a pre-existent belief in the reality of God and the ability of the unseen God to work the physical visible realm.

He presents his case before the Lord in 2Chronicles 20 and appeals to the faithfulness of God and to his justice. He recounts the promise of protection made by God to Solomon when the temple was dedicated. By remembering the history of the exodus when the Edomites were spared by Israel but how they were now being unjustly attacked by Edom, he positions himself on the side of justice. In fact, the previous chapter talks of how Jehoshaphat had undertaken a spiritual revival in the land. Faith blooms with union. Faith works only when the one who exercises faith aligns himself with the nature of God. Applying faith in the absence of a vibrant co-existent faith in the living God turns out to be nothing more than empty words.

God responds with not only reassurance but also with specific instructions.

You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’ ” (2Chronicles 20:17)

He does not ask the Israelites to sit back at their homes and sip soda but asks them to go out to battle. They were asked to take positions in full battle formation. From being a group of men quaking with fear, not even wanting to look the enemy in the eye, they had to transition quickly to a group who had to stand in front of the huge army that could annihilate them in no time. Surely many would have said that it would be better to flee when they could rather than invite sure suicide. God gives his reassurance but they had to demonstrate intent that proved their faith. Faith explodes with intent. Unless a believer moves forward, nonsensically like a David rushing ahead to meet Goliath, faith will refuse to translate to an explosive effort. Even if it means that you are moving against the tide or doing that which appears like nonsense to the rest of the world, faith demands a taking up of positions and moving forward.

What follows is adequately supernatural to achieve the desired end result.

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. (2Chronicles 20:22)

The Lord himself set up ambushes for the invading army by working the spiritual realm to destroy the army and the men of Judah did not have to lift an arm to achieve an impossible victory. All they did was plunder the loot left behind.

Does faith work? It does all the time and for one who goes beyond just believing to living in union with God and demonstrating intent in keeping with the faith, the results are truly explosive.

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