Peninsula Community Church
Keep your Eyes on Jesus
July 8, 2018
2 Chronicles 20:12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.
What do you do when the odds are against you? What do you do when the problems of life are overwhelming you? This is what we know from our passage this morning. The land of Judah was in turmoil. They felt powerless and overwhelmed because the armies that were coming against them were powerful and they showed no mercy. In this story, Jehoshaphat gives us insight into how we should respond to the overwhelming difficulties in our life. Let’s look at a few of these this morning.
When you read all of 2 Chronicles 20, you find a couple of things that assist us when we go through the difficulties of life. In verse 2, we find that Jehoshaphat began with an honest appraisal of the realities they faced. He received a report that a great multitude was coming against them. Sometimes, we can ignore the truth and the reality of what we are facing, but that does not help us in the long run. It only delays healing from the pain, and it can delay the blessing of God. When we acknowledge the issue, we can focus our attention in the right direction.
My question this morning is what report have you received? What overwhelming news has come to you that has rocked your world? Have you received bad health news? Have you received bad news about a relationship? How about overwhelming financial issues? We all have those things that attack us and keep us wondering what is next. When this happens, are you acknowledging the truth? Are you living in the present reality? Or, do you deny the issues?
Notice Jehoshaphat’s response! He was afraid. What would you do? How would you respond to a coming battle that is sure to devastate you and kill off many that are with you? There was not much to be excited about. This enemy were a formidable army and they were about to do major harm. Jehoshaphat did what most of us would have done. He was afraid. You see fear itself is not the problem, it is what we do with the fear that makes the difference.
So what did Jehoshaphat do with his fear? He began to pray and to fast with the intent to align his heart and his mind with the heart and mind of God. Elmer Towns, one of the cofounders of Liberty University, along with Jerry Farwell, has written a number of books and articles on fasting. He stated that “we do not fast to get prayers answered as much as we fast to know God.” He describes fasting as that which leads to an intimate knowing of Jesus Christ. Because of Jehoshaphat’s call for prayer and fasting, notice what happens next. Jehoshaphat begins to extol the testimony of all that God has done in the past in an effort to build faith in the present. Through pray and fasting, he was reminded of the goodness and the power of God.
It is then that Jehoshaphat makes a powerful statement. He said this because their heart was aligned with God’s heart and because they were reminded of all that God had done for them. He proclaimed “We do not know what to do but our eyes are on you.” What a powerful statement of faith. What is he saying? He is saying, yes I see the armies. I see the power of their forces. I acknowledge my fear and my concerns. I recognize that we could be overwhelmed and destroyed. And yet, with all of that in mind there is one thing I can do. We might not know what to do, but we can keep our eyes on God.
Think about this. Jehoshaphat is saying we do not have a clue, but we have God. He is saying I do not have any answers, but we have God. He is saying this problem is bigger than us and greater than anything we can do, but we have God. The conclusion of this matter could be devastating, but we have God. We are afraid, but we have God. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on God. We trust Him!
Some years ago we had a man in our church that owned a party fishing boat. One day we had been out in the Atlantic fishing the wrecks for black fish and sea bass. Suddenly, on the radio we began to hear chatter about a severe storm that was blowing in and that we needed to return to the dock as soon as possible. You see the inlet we had to go through was rough even on a good day. Now there was a severe storm. Carl, the captain and owner of the boat, asked that I join him in the wheel house, which I did.
Sure enough the storm came in and the inlet was swirling and the waves were beating the shore with great power. On either side of the inlet were large rocks that would destroy the boat, if we collided with anyone of them. The captain was not deterred. He aligned the boat to go through the inlet and off we went. We were getting tossed around, but he kept his focus and made it through the inlet. How did he do this? He kept his eyes on the boat’s instrumentation and GPS. Though the storm was rough, and I admit I was scared, the captain kept his focus on the instruments. We made it through the inlet and safely to the protected waters of the bay.
When I talked to him later about this event, He stated that he had faith in his equipment and by focusing on the equipment, he navigated the storm. So it is with us. we need to focus on God and He will direct our steps. You may not know what to do, but you can focus on God. He will keep you no matter what. He will move you safely to the protection of the bay.
Listen to the words of 2 Chronicles 20:14-17. They speak to us more than anything else. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
Did you catch the key to this passage? Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. The battle they were facing was not their battle, it was God’s. How many times do we try to fight battles that we were never intended to fight? We try to work things out, and sometimes we try to get involved where we should be allowing God to work out the situation. Notice they were to stand and see the salvation of the Lord. They were to stand in faith and by faith. They were to let God fight their battles. If we will allow God to do so, we can give every problem we face to Him. We can surrender our will to His will, and we will see Him fight for us.
Notice that Judah did not do nothing, they were moved to action but look at the action they took. ’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.” Notice what they did. They did not just sit on the sidelines. They engaged, but not in the way that we might think. They began to worship God. They worshipped Him with song, and they worshipped Him with their praise. They prayed, they trusted God, they realized that this was God’s battle, and they praised God with the words of song and worship. Notice that all of their actions aligned their focus on God and His work in their lives.
Then the most amazing thing happened. God confuses the armies that were set against them and they began to fight amongst themselves to the point that they utterly destroyed one another. They were destroyed but God was glorified. The people praised God and God came through. They focused on Him, and He won the battle. They turned their eyes upon God, and He came through big time.
How about you? Are you fighting battles that are not yours? Have you become focused on things other than God? Have you forgotten the blessings of God on your life?
I love the story of Peter and the fact that He walked on water. Why? Because he had his eyes on Jesus, when he stepped from the boat. He was focused on Jesus. Notice that as soon as he took his eyes off of Jesus, he fell into the water and was overcome by the storm. While he remained focused on Jesus, he was walking on water. Peter, Peter was walking on water. How awesome is that? What changed in his condition? He was distracted by the waves. He took his eyes off of Jesus. He lost his focus and into the water he went.
In the end we must keep our eyes on Jesus. We may not know what to do but we can trust God. We can stay focused on Him. We can worship God with songs of praise and songs of worship. We can pick our battles and not fight the ones God already has under His control.
For an audio of this message go to http://pccministry.org/media.php?pageID=14
Copyright © 2018 All Rights Reserved Robert W. Odom