If you have been in any kind of Christian setting, you may have come across this phrase: “Brother, Sister, just enter into the rest of the Lord.” To my consternation, this little phrase caused quite a stir in my mind. It seemed like an impossible place to find! Where is this rest you speak of? What does it mean to enter in? How do you enter in?
Rest. To me, it sounded like a place where you could just chill. A place where you didn’t have to do anything but work on your tan. Pina colada in your hand and toes dipped in the infinity pool. There is no enemy to upset you, or to tire you out. After a lifetime of striving to get free, I was determined to find this place.
Almost by accident, I discovered the path that takes you to Rest, as I followed king Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. He found it. The secret to entering Rest. But I have to warn you, it didn’t look at all like I imagined.
“And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.”
2 Chronicles 20:29-30 NJKV
To find rest you might have to overcome the impossible.
Jehoshaphat was one of the few good kings of the tribe of Judah. One day, he got some bad news. Some really, really bad news. The little tribe of Judah was about to come under attack. There were three enormous armies approaching. They were coming to kill, steal and destroy. The odds were not good.
It is often in the times when we are facing impossible odds, where we find extraordinary solutions. We find supernatural wisdom. We find keys that will take us into a place of freedom and rest. However, we need to know where to look and how to find it.
It’s not about doing nothing.
What made Jehoshaphat a good king? For one, he didn’t tolerate idolatry like other kings. But most of all, he was committed to seeking God (2 Chronicles 19:3). His first reaction to the bad news was seeking the Lord for guidance (2 Chronicles 20:3).
What is our first response to bad news? Do we run to Google? Do we ring the doctor? Or the bank manager? Or do we seek the Lord for guidance? I have to be honest, this is not always my first response. Jehoshaphat’s reign has inspired me to live a life committed to seeking God. He didn’t panic. He called a nationwide fast. He made room for God to enter the chaos. As all of Judah assembled together, he prayed.
It’s about Who you know.
Jehoshaphat’s prayer says a lot about his relationship with God. In 2 Chronicles 20:5-12, we don’t see him cry out in desperation, but in confidence in his God. He calls upon a God who is good, powerful and faithful. A God of promise, who never goes back on his word.
Do you know the God you pray to? Please hear my heart, I am not trying to be judgemental here. I can’t afford it, because I am staggered by Jehoshaphat’s prayer, myself. I am confronted by this very question. When we know our God, we don’t pray from a vantage point of desperation. We pray from confident expectation. That is a powerful place to pray from.
It’s about Inheritance.
This was a king who knew how to stand his ground. He understood the boundaries of what belonged to him. He was living in a land marked out for him, by the Almighty God. No one could take away what his God had given him. No way! (2 Chronicles 20:11).
Are you living within the boundaries of your promised land? The land of health and abundance that you were given when you became a citizen of the Kingdom? You don’t have to fight for it, it is already yours. You just have to stand your ground. We are not asking for something that is already ours, we are pushing back an enemy that is trying to take our ground. The answer to your prayer is already yes, because the land is yours!
You will need to listen and follow instructions.
Jehoshaphat humbled himself praying, “we don’t know what to do, will you help us?” (2 Chronicles 20:12). He didn’t rush into battle with a plan and strategy and say: “God bless my plan and help me win!” He asked the King of Heaven for a strategy. And God answered with a prophetic promise. This is something he still does, when we humble ourselves to listen.
All of Judah quieted themselves before the Lord. Zechariah, a descendant of the Levites prophesied: “Do not be discouraged because of this mighty army. The battle is not yours, but God’s.” God instructed them to march into battle the following day. They still had to face the enemy. But God promised to do the impossible. God’s instructions do not always make reasonable sense. I mean, wouldn’t it have been better if God just wiped out the army without them having to put on their armour and march all that way? But they obeyed and saw an incredible victory.
There is a key that will unlock the door to rest.
On the way to the battlefield, I wonder if the soldiers were feeling a bit worried? Was that prophecy accurate? Maybe there was some nervous chatter between the men of Judah as they marched towards impossible odds. Jehoshaphat stopped them midway and challenged them (2 Chronicles 20:20-21). Are we just marching? Or are we marching in faith, believing that God will do what he promised?
You see, throughout the ages, the enemy loves to tempt God’s children with the same, old question: “Did God really say..?” Did God really say he would forgive all your sins? Did God really say he would heal all your diseases? Did God really say that he would rescue you, when you put yourself in the pit of destruction? You haven’t been responsible with your finances, do you think he would still provide for you?
Will he even protect you, when you get to this battlefield?
Jehoshaphat encouraged his men to respond in Faith. In agreement with his leadership it was decided that the the musicians would be put on the frontline. They would lead the people into battle, worshipping. Singing about the love and faithfulness of God.
Faith is the key that unlocks Rest. Faith requires us to partner with the promises of God. 2 Chronicles 20:22 says that as they started worshiping, the three armies that was coming against them, turned on each other. By the time they got to the lookout point, all they could see was a field of dead bodies. It took them three days to collect the loot! What an incredible victory.
There was no earthly kingdom that would touch the nation of Judah, after that result. They were famous for being people who belonged to a powerful God. People whose God is a Mighty Saviour. A God of the impossible. This God, was Jehoshaphat’s God. And his God gave him rest all around.
May we have the wisdom to learn from Jehoshaphat, so that we can also enter that place of rest. I pray that we will have a deeper understanding and revelation of the God who loves us and has given us a glorious inheritance.
May we have the courage to stand our ground. May we have the wisdom to humble ourselves before we rush into battle. May we have ears to hear the strategies of Heaven and obey the instructions we are given. For our God wants to fight our battle. He wants to give us Rest.
Today, I hear the Father declare: “Victorious Child! Every battle you will ever face, has already been won. Overwhelming victory is yours, because I love you. My ways are not your ways. It doesn’t always make sense. Do not allow your reasoning mind to stand in the way of a supernatural outcome. Seek me first, I have the best strategy. Seek my plans and you will see breakthrough. Look to me, and you will find rest. Because above all, you are loved. Always.” ❤