Do you know what the middle verse of the Old Testament is? Its 2 Chronicles 20:17: You will not have to fight in this battle. This is a significant verse and not just because its the middle point of the Old Testament. Its significant because of what it says to those of us fighting a battle.
Who is God talking to in this passage? Hes talking to King Jehoshaphat and the Israelites. Theyre about to be attacked by three enemies: the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites. I dont know about you, but Im not fond of three against one fights! This was a triple threat. Jehoshaphat had to be worried about how they could defend themselves in such a battle, but God knew what he was thinking. He said, "You will not have to fight in this battle." Now, thats the kind of battle I like! If you dont fight, you cant get hurt.
What God tells Jehoshaphat in this passage, and what he would remind us today, is this: "The battle is not yours; it's mine. You don't have to fight in it." It's God's problem. Let him solve it.
The fact is, if you are Gods child, then your problems are his problems. And hes much better at fighting your battles and solving your problems than you will ever be. Your job is to trust him to work it all out. The reason why we have so many tired, fatigued, and discouraged pastors is they walk around with this Atlas complex. "I'm carrying the entire world on my shoulders! And it all depends on me." The day you resign as General Manager of the Universe, you're going to find that it doesn't fall apart. You can relax in faith, trusting that God is able to run things without your help.
Twice in this passage it says, "Don't be afraid," and "Don't be discouraged." When you face a seemingly impossible situation, don't be afraid and don't be discouraged. Has God ever lost a battle? No. He doesn't lose battles. And because hes never lost a battle, we should never be afraid.
God has a reputation for winning. We are on the winning side. Regardless of the problems or difficulties or the barriers or the circumstances or the hang-ups or the delays, ultimately, we are on the winning side.
That's good news. When I know that I have given my life completely to Jesus Christ and I'm trying to live for him to the best of my ability, I don't have to sweat the small stuff. I may lose a few skirmishes here and there, but ultimately, I'm on the winning side.
There's an important phrase in verse 17. God tells Jehoshaphat, "Take up your positions and stand firm." What does it mean to stand firm? It means to have a mental attitude of quiet confidence. It is never God's will for you to run from a difficult situation. I've discovered that when I run from a difficult situation, inevitably God always brings it back around and gives me another chance. It's inevitable. Why? Because God wants us to learn and he wants to teach us through experience that in every situation he is sufficient. He is competent and capable and he will meet our needs in that situation. Don't be afraid fear is the opposite of faith.
What am I to stand firm on while I'm waiting for God to fight my battles? While I'm waiting for the miracle in my finances or my marriage or my business or whatever, what do I stand firm on? You stand firm on two things:
1) The character of God. He's faithful. He does not bring us this far just to let us down. He doesn't bring you out on a limb and then cut the limb off. Have faith in the nature and character of God.
2) The truth of his Word. Gods Word is faithful. You can count on the promises found in the Bible.
Stand still. Remember Who the battle belongs to. Trust that he is able to deliver you. And then watch him do it!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and The Purpose-Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers. Copyright 2005 Pastors.com, Inc. Used with permission. All rights reserved.