In this season of thanks, it’s always good to take time to reflect on the goodness that God has given us in all circumstances. Today’s we focus on giving thanks to God even in the midst of seemingly unbeatable or troubling circumstances. It is important that we be grateful while under pressure.
In 2 Chronicles, the author recounts the story of Israel’s battle against the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites. Most notably is the openness of the author to mention the fear that Jehoshaphat held facing such a multitude that wanted nothing more than to destroy God’s people. This fear drove Jehoshaphat to call his people to a time of fasting and worship before the Lord. This series of events led me to reflect on some key thoughts regarding thanks and our relationship to God.
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.2 Chronicles 20:1-4
Fear is not a reason for shame
It is within human nature to fear oppressive opposition. Many great warriors of God including David, Gideon, and Jehoshaphat in our story experienced fear and worry in their battles. The thing that we must remember is that this fear should lead to action of some kind and not paralysis.
Like Jehoshaphat, we must realize that experiencing fear is not a shameful thing but an emotion that leads us to turn to God. When we are facing something that is beyond our ability to handle, instead of shutting down we should acknowledge the one from whom all of our strength to persevere comes. Jehoshaphat, in his fear, turned to God and called all the people of Judah to do the same.
Remembering God’s Promises fosters Thankfulness
In this account of Jehoshaphat, we find him recounting the character and promises of God. This comes from being familiar with God’s law in order to remind, not God, but ourselves of the power that God has to deliver and overcome. In the midst of trials and difficulties, Jehoshaphat knew that he was only going to find strength through God alone.
In our own lives, thankfulness begins by reminding ourselves of God’s promises even in the midst of trying times. We read through and understand the ways in which God has provided for his people and understand that He still works today as He did back then. In his unchanging ways, God still works to preserve His people.
Blessings Come After the Victory
The final idea is that blessing typically comes after the victory and not during the battle. After Judah achieved victory, they are blessed with the spoils of war that took them 3 days to accumulate. This expresses the fact that God blessed them abundantly beyond measure.
It’s always important in the midst of our blessing to offer thanks for all that God has done for us in the battle. If we are willing to trust God throughout our trial and stand firm, we can be assured that there is a blessing on the other side. This may, most likely, take its form in personal development or character growth but the blessings that do come should ultimately be recognized and thanks be given to God who has brought us through and strengthened us.