2 Chronicles · Exodus · Isaiah · Uncategorized

God’s Battle (Part 2): A Pathway Through the Wilderness

Isaiah 43:19, The Lord is doing something new, wilderness, wasteland, a new pathway, The Lord will make a way, mountains, trees, grass, way, route, dirt path, green grass, sky, blue sky, field, pathway through the wilderness, Nagsasa Cove, Nagsasa backwoods, Zambales, Philippines, trekking
Nagsasa backwoods, Zambales, Philippines | March 2013

I went out unafraid of the vast army ahead of me because of God’s promise the night before.  However, as the day unfolded, my heart was again in turmoil. I began to worry about a lot of things. I easily lost sight of Him. In my eyes, the vast army became greater than my Lord.

“Are you really going to deliver me? Why? How can this be Your battle? Why would You show favor to me when I am at fault? Was that really Your message for me or am I taking that passage to suit my own desires?” I asked Him.

I was fearful and was prepared to retreat but the Lord took hold of my heart and shifted my focus back to Him. He made me realize that my emotions were dictated by what I was magnifying. If I want my heart to be still, then I need to focus on the steadfast character of the Lord and not on the changing circumstance and people around me.

So I took refuge in His Word: “Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17) This was the only thing that kept me going each day.

Finally, I had relief from the storm. The Lord delivered me but not the way I thought it would be. He led me to a safe place however, it was through a route I never wanted to take. Wanting to understand what had happened, I asked the Lord: “Was it really necessary? Does it really have to be this way?”

He replied through the passage in Exodus 13:17-18: “When Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, ‘If they face war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt.’ So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle.”

Even though the Israelites went out ready for battle, the Lord knew they might change their minds and return to Egypt if they face war against the Philistines. So He led them through a different route. Then He had them turn back and encamp by the sea. Pharaoh thought ‘the Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert’ so he pursued them but the Lord gained glory for Himself through Pharaoh and all his army. (Exodus 14:1-4)

At first, it didn’t make sense for me to take a longer and more difficult route when there are easier alternative routes for that same destination. Then pondering on my prior hesitation in acting upon a decision, I believe the Lord did this so that there is no chance or possibility for me to change my mind and choose not to go out of my comfort zone. The Lord is provident and He knows my heart. He knows exactly where He is leading me and what route I should be taking in the same way He knew exactly where He would lead the Israelites in their journey from slavery to the Promised Land.

Just when I thought the battle is over, He said this to me again: “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)

Oh yeah, the Lord is not yet done! That was just the first leg of a journey I have never ever imagined even in my wildest dreams! I await with eager expectation to see the fruit of and witness His glory in what He is doing now.

18 “But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
(Isaiah 43:18-19)

God’s Battle (Part 1): Finding Peace and Comfort In the Face of a Vast Army

2 Chronicles · Uncategorized

God’s Battle (Part 1): Finding Peace and Comfort In the Face of a Vast Army

It took a long time for me to come up with a decision. I weighed the pros and cons, and from that I had an action plan but I was hesitant and thought of prolonging it. Then I inquired of the Lord on what I should do. I had hoped He would tell me to do what my heart desired. Instead, He instructed me the opposite and even told me to go the extra mile and do what was difficult for me.

His message was clear and I was rebuked that my desires and actions were reflections of my defiant and arrogant attitude. He wanted me to submit and give respect to authority, to imitate His character, to not just have an exceptional output but more importantly have a right heart before Him. He also wanted me to do something that was not even necessary.

After a few weeks, I asked Him again on what I should do. I had a feeling that this decision or event was something inevitable and I thought maybe the Lord just wanted to correct my heart before making that decision. But He told me the same thing as before, it was a no.

As the situation went to a climax, I cried out to the Lord wanting to be out of it. I asked His leading if I can do what I had been asking Him. The Lord comforted me by reminding me of His character and the things He has done:

Father, You are the One who is ultimately in control – You always are in all situations.
You are the same yesterday, today and forever.
You never change Your mind. My days are already set before You.
You are faithful and dependable. You have shown Your faithfulness time and time again and I have no reason to doubt You.
You are true, steadfast and unchangeable.
You are not swayed by mere men.
You are God all-powerful and all-knowing.
Yet in all Your majesty and splendor, You make time for me.
You have turned Your eyes on me and have shown me mercy…

The Lord led me to read 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. It is about how King Jehoshaphat with the men of Judah defeated the vast army of the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites without lifting a finger against them. The Lord told them to march down against that vast army. When they arrived on the battlefield, they found all their enemies dead and a great amount of plunder to carry. It was indeed God’s battle.

At first, I just wanted to be continuously encouraged by God’s character and the things He has done by reading Jehoshaphat’s prayer:

O Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?…

As I continued, I realized the description of what I felt – I was in distress!

9 …will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.

 12 …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.

The Lord comforted me all the more in His response to Jehoshaphat’s (their) prayer:

15 …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. 16 Tomorrow march down against them…

17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you… Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”

Problems, challenges and trials reveal the contents of my heart, my inclinations and my character. The Lord is faithful in revealing my deepest sins, rebuking, correcting and confronting me. At the same time showing and reminding me of His character, comforting and encouraging me to follow Him and do what is right in His sight.

That night, I was at peace and ready to face a vast army. The situation did not change but the Lord changed my heart. I found peace and comfort just by hearing His voice through His Word and by Him guiding me where to go. I found peace in the truth that though I am shortsighted, He who directs my path is all-knowing and trustworthy. I found peace in the assurance that it was what He wanted me to do and He promised to be with me. The Lord gives peace not in having a favorable circumstance but peace that can only be found in Him alone regardless of the situation.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

God’s Battle (Part 2): A Pathway Through the Wilderness