Have you ever heard a song and immediately thought someone had a magnifying glass on your life when they wrote it? A song that spoke so clearly to your life at the time it was undeniable it was meant for you? This last year, that happened to me when I heard Kristene DiMarco singing, “Take Courage” while listening to a YouTube playlist. One day, after listening to "Take Courage" I decided to look and see what inspired her to write this song. I found this excerpt from an interview:
After reading 2 Chronicles 20 I began to see Jehoshaphat seemed to be handling his battle much better than I was currently whimpering through mine… So, I began to outline what it looked like for Jehoshaphat to take courage while he was waiting for the Lord to deliver them through their battle… Here’s what I saw:
Read along with me through 2 Chronicles 20
PRAYER: When Jehoshaphat realized there was an impending battle, his first reaction was to go to God in prayer (20:3).
PRAISE: He gave God praise for who God IS, not for what God could offer him (20:6). His posture toward the battle was one of praise to his heavenly Father.
POSTURE: Jehoshaphat didn’t seem to waver in his faith. He spoke about not knowing what to do other than to keep his eyes on God (20:12). Some might call this, obedience.
PRAISE: As they made their way toward where they thought they’d fight their battle against the Moabites and Ammonites, Jehoshaphat told his army to literally sing praises to God (20:21).
Wow. Okay, but that was how Jehoshaphat handled his battle. Who else went into battle? I wanted to know other people who took on a posture of courage during battles. That’s when my husband Joshua reminded me of the story of Joshua and the battle of Jericho!
Read along with me through Joshua 5:13 – 6:27
PRAYER: Joshua fell to the ground in reverence and asked the commander of the Lord’s army, “what message does my Lord have for his servant?” (5:14).
PRAISE: Joshua’s praise looked a lot like obedience to God’s command (6:2 -9).
POSTURE: Joshua didn’t do anything else other than giving the command to his army, that God had given to him! (Well, technically, they marched. But we’re not going to be nitpicky here!) I think we could agree this is the second person we see in battle being obedient. Yes?
PRAISE: The army was able to win their battle through obedience and the trumpets sounded on the seventh day (6:20)!
Starting to see a bit of a pattern here… but, they’re still human. What about Jesus? Maybe Jesus’ posture of courage looked different? Thinking back on all of the accounts of Jesus’ life I wondered what His greatest battle was, a time when even Jesus could have given up, caved, thrown in the towel…
Read along with me through Matthew 4:1-11
- PRAYER: Jesus fasted for forty days and forty nights (4:2)
- PRAISE: Jesus gave praise to God for His ability to sustain beyond human understanding and physical needs (4:4).
- POSTURE: Satan literally tempted Christ to throw himself down from the mountain but instead, Jesus stood His ground and told Satan not to test the Lord (4:7)! Ultimate obedience to the Word of God.
- PRAISE: Jesus tells us here, we are to literally worship God and serve him (4:10).
If this was the pattern for Jehoshaphat, Joshua, and Jesus to respond, then what should your response be? What has your response been toward battles? What could it look like for you to take courage in your own battles?
Let's run back to Jehoshaphat real quick.
Flip back to 2 Chronicles 20:12
'Our God, will you not judge them? 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 [my spouse].'
'Our God, will you not judge them? 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 [my career].'
- 'Our God, will you not judge them? 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 [my pastor].'
- 'Our God, will you not judge them? 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 [my emotions].'
- 'Our God, will you not judge them? 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 [my Instagram followers].'
'Our God, will you not judge them? 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.”
Maybe taking courage through our battles looks a lot like the patterns we just read about. Perhaps it could look like us being obedient to the one thing God's been gently whispering to us for a while now? Taking courage in our battles could look like bending our knees and allowing ourselves to be completely surrendered - even beyond our comfort - before the Creator.
I want to challenge all of us today to deny our innate desires to resist obedience and encourage all of us to turn back to prayer as our step one. When our battles come, when the troubles seem insurmountable and totally overwhelming, we need to continue to start with prayer for His guidance, praise Him in the middle of our uncertainty, and do a pulse check on our posture to ensure we're being obedient to how He's calling us to walk through the battle before us.
Journal about the following:
Have you been actively going to God in prayer over your current battle?
Journal at least three reasons you will choose to praise God today.
Finish this statement: Throughout this battle, God has been telling me _____.
Why have you been putting off following God's instructions?
What could it look like to walk out what He's calling you to do?
Get with your mentor this week to discuss an accountability program to help you stay in alignment with what God is calling you to be obedient to throughout this battle.
Take courage! He's already won!!
Listen to this song: