The well-known story of Jehoshaphat describes one of the greatest epic battles in the history of Israel. Jehoshaphat, the king of Israel, received word from a friend that the combined armies of three enemy nations were on their way to fight him and conquer him. The chronicler tells us that these three nations were the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites (2 Chron. 20:1), and all were nearby—just beyond the Jordan River or the Dead Sea. The odds were definitely not in Jehoshaphat’s favor.
This story is relevant to each of us because we all face battles each day: financial, spiritual, marital, vocational, relational—all kinds of battles in our daily lives. God put the story of Jehoshaphat in the Bible in order to illustrate certain vital spiritual principles in winning the battles of life.
IDENTIFY THE ENEMY
Second Chronicles 20:1 shows us the first principle in overcoming the battles of life: identify the enemy. This seems like a rather obvious principle, but actually it is not. Many people simply do not know who their enemy is. We often think the enemy is a person who is trying to take something from us—our job, our spouse, our money—but very often the enemy is our own attitude. It is not so much the situation that gets us down but our response to the situation. Before we can start winning our personal battles, we have to accurately and honestly identify the enemy.
Notice how Jehoshaphat reacted when he heard that these three nations were coming against him: he was alarmed (v. 3). This is a typical reaction for everyone. When we see a big problem, we panic and become unsure of what is going to happen. “What’s going to happen to me? I’m starting to get afraid!” This is a natural reaction to problems, and fear is not bad unless we deal with it in the wrong way. We can use fear to motivate ourselves to conquer the problem. But if we become discouraged and give up, or get angry with God and ask, “Why me?” then fear defeats us.
Rick Warren, God’s Answers to Life’s Difficult Questions (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2008).
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How to Cope with Stress
How Can I Rebound from Failure?
How Can I Defeat Depression?
How Can I Live Above Average?
How Can I Have Peace of Mind?
How Can I Handle Discouragement?
How Can I Overcome My Problems?
How Can I Be Confident In a Crisis?
How Can I Ever Change?
How Did I Get Myself in To This Mess?
How Can I Overcome Loneliness?
Why Is This Happening to Me?