In light of what’s happening around the world right now with the pandemic, we are facing a lot of fears. Today, we are going to talk about what it means to abide in the peace of Jesus Christ. Listen in, I know you’re going to be encouraged.
Transcribed version of podcast is below.
Today’s Scripture Writing Challenge Verse
- Luke 18:35-43
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Hey everybody. This is Heidi St. John. Welcome to the podcast. Today is Monday, March 23rd. It’s Mailbox Monday, but I’m going to do something a little bit different in light of what’s happening around us, in the nation right now, and around the world with regard to Coronavirus and all the things that we’re fearing and talking about. We’re going to talk today about what it means to abide in the peace of Jesus Christ. Stick around, I know you’re going to be encouraged.
Hope you guys are doing well today. As always, you guys know that I am committed, 100% committed, to just encouraging you to remain faithful, to remain peaceful. And I just want to say if you have an opportunity, this is a great podcast to pass on to your friends to say, “Hey, listen, God isn’t silent on the issues that are going around in the culture today. He understands where we are. He understands your fear, and God offers peace in the middle of all of our circumstances.”
And speaking of peace, I am very thankful today because my podcast is being brought to you by our longtime friend Evangelical Christian Credit Union. ECCU is now offering free checking accounts with something called the Kasasa awards program that will help you save, share and build a strong financial future. First Kasasa Cash offers 3% in annual percentage yield on your checking account balance up to $35,000, and Kasasa Cash Back gives you 3% back on debit card purchases. No monthly fees. And best of all, if you’re already an ECCU member, you can easily add either of these accounts. You can save more and give more with ECCU. Check them out at eccu.org/heidi.
I decided today rather than take you guys through the news and even answering your questions, and I’m going to get to some of your questions on Wednesday because everybody’s asking the same questions right now. What do I do with my kids? And I am recording… And in fact, at the time of this podcast, they might already be up on my website, but I’m recording a series of tutorial videos. We’re going to talk about some simple things you can do at home. We’re going to talk about uncovering your child’s learning style. You’re going to hear me rail against preschool because I don’t think you need to do it, all kinds of things.
But before we do any of those things, I think we need to talk… get back to basics. And the basics really begin with our understanding of who God is and what our place is in trials. And so I want to encourage you, and I think this the most significant thing about the platform that God’s given me. Platforms should be used for ambassadorship, and I’m going to try to do that to proclaim God’s promises. And God has promises for you in His Word. And I’m going to proclaim them today, unapologetically, because it doesn’t matter what you’re struggling with. It doesn’t matter where you are in the midst of dealing with this pandemic. Maybe you’re just afraid, maybe your husband or even you have lost your job. You guys, I understand how that feels. I travel for a living. I get paid to speak, and paid to sell books, and when conferences that I’m speaking at are canceled and events that I had planned on paying me have to cancel, that’s not fun.
And I’d be lying to you if Jay and I were having a really great time with the financial implications of thinking about my travel season being massively curtailed. But the Bible tells us that we are to look to the Lord for help. We’re to look to the Lord for help. So I want to take you guys to 2nd Chronicles for just a minute and let’s look at the story of Jehosaphat. Okay. 2 Chronicles 19 and 20. In 19:4, I’m going to start there. Jehosaphat lived in Jerusalem and he went out again from among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors. Jay and I have been talking for a long time about why God gives us platform and why has God given Heidi St. John this platform of a podcast and the opportunity to speak and write.
And I believe that God gives us platform so that we can proclaim His promises, so that we can turn the hearts of the people back to the Lord. And we’re in a moment right now of being tested, and trials test our trust in the Lord. And Jehosaphat is about to come into a really big trial. And the Bible said his heart was already in the right place. He was already doing the thing he was supposed to be doing. And the Bible says that he went to among the people and he turned their hearts back to the Lord. He then appointed judges in the land and each of them fortified the cities of Judah. He told them, “Consider carefully what you do because you’re not judging for mere mortals, but for the Lord who is with you whenever you give a verdict. Now let the fear of the Lord be on you. Judge carefully for with the Lord your God there is no injustice, or partiality, or bribery.”
Verse 8: in Jerusalem also, Jehosaphat appointed some of the Levites, priests and head of the Israelite families to administer the law of the Lord and to settle disputes. And they lived in Jerusalem. He gave them these orders, “You must serve faithfully and wholeheartedly in the fear of the Lord. In every case that comes before you from your people who live in the cities, whether bloodshed or other concerns of the law, commands, decrees, or regulations, you are to warn them not to sin against the Lord. Otherwise, his wrath will come on you and on your people. Do this, and you will not sin.”
Verse 11: the second part says, act with courage and may the Lord be with all those who do well.
So here’s Jehosaphat and he is strengthening the people that God has given him the ability to reach by his voice and with his example. And you guys, for years and years we’ve been talking about things at the podcast, right? This is episode number 901. For 900 episodes, I have been encouraging you, walk with the Lord, pay attention to what your children are learning. You can’t pass on what you don’t possess. Trust that God is always good, right? To faithfully serve the Lord. And then the Bible says don’t fear, act with courage. And you guys, this is your time to act with courage. This is your time to not be afraid and Jehosaphat is going to come up against a time where everything that he has known, everything that he’s been talking about, is going to be tested. And that is where we are right now. That’s where we find ourselves in the culture.
Let’s look at chapter 20, starting at verse 20. After this, the Moabites and Ammonites along with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehosaphat. Now what’s going to happen? Fear is going to creep in. Are you guys feeling fearful yet? Because if I’m looking at my inbox and every place that I can find online where you guys can have access to me, including Mailbox Monday, I am seeing a lot of fear. And this is why Jeff Myers came on the show with me—to talk to you guys about fear. Now fear is going to creep in, because listen to what happens. The people already know what they’re supposed to do. Jehosaphat’s already told them to be strong and have good courage. But the truth is you guys, whenever something unexpected happens, and we are living in an unprecedented time in human history right now, and I would be lying to you if I said I was not afraid, or that I hadn’t had moments of fear.
But we don’t want to be overcome by fear. Look what happens to the Israelites now that they realize that the Moabites and the Ammonites and even some of the Meunites have come to wage war against their King. Verse 2 in chapter 20, some people came and told Jehosaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar.”
Verse 3, alarmed, Jehosaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and proclaimed a fast for all of Judah. Let’s stop for just a second because these are people who came with a legitimate concern to Jehosaphat, right? And they’re like, “Dude, listen, there’s a vast army coming. We’re afraid.” That’s basically what they’re telling him. And he is alarmed. We’d be foolish not to be alarmed. But what did he do? Jehosaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah.
Verse 4, the people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. Indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. And Jehosaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in front of the new courtyard, and this is what he said, “Now he’s going to proclaim what he knows is true.” Are you guys doing that? Fear is going to creep in. We’re going to have an opportunity to make a decision as to what we are going to do. And then as the children of God, we will be given an opportunity to proclaim what we know is true. God’s people do not run.
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven?” This is Jehosaphat’s crying out to God in front of the people, “You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and built in it a sanctuary for your name. Saying if calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague, or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your name and we will cry out to you in our distress and you will hear us and save us.” So now he’s proclaimed the truth and he’s going to outline the problem. Like, “This is how we got to where we are.”
Verse 10, “But now here we are, and men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt, so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. And look how they’re repaying us. They’re coming to drive us out of the possession that you gave us as an inheritance. Oh God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that’s attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Men and women of God.
We sometimes think of the Bible as this long past relic that we can read for comfort and read for encouragement. But you guys, there are people just like we are. They were people that faced plague, and famine, and wars and they are showing us what we need to do. We come before the Lord and we say, “Father, we don’t have any power to face this vast army that’s attacking us, this plague. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Are your eyes on the Lord today? Are your eyes lifted heavenward? Because that’s what God is telling us he wants us to do right now is to lift our eyes heavenward.
Verse 13, all the men of Judah with their wives and children and little ones stood there before the Lord. Then the spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, a Levite and a descendant of the Psalmist Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. And this is what he said, “Listen, King Jehosaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem, this is what the Lord says to you. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army for the battle is not yours, but it is the Lord’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They’ll be climbing up at the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the edge of the gorge. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged. Go out and face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.”
Jehosaphat bowed down with his face to the ground and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Even in going into battle, Jehosaphat is reminding the people to trust the Lord.
Verse 20, early in the morning, they left for the desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehosaphat stood and said to the people, “Listen to me, Judah and the people of Jerusalem, have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld. Have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” After consulting the people, Jehosaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out ahead of the army saying, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
And listen to me, men and women, listen to me, children, lean in. This is when God shows up. As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men of Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. And after they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. So their enemies were actually destroying each other. What would happen, you guys, if we prayed that the virus would begin to eat itself? God can do it. You see, when the children of God praise the Lord and they trust him and they don’t run in fear, they begin to see the deliverance of the Lord and they see His mighty power.
Verse 24, when the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and they looked down toward the vast army, they only saw dead bodies lying on the ground. No one had escaped. So Jehosaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing, more than they could take away. There was so much plunder. It took three days to collect it. Can you guys imagine? They didn’t have to even fight the battle, the men turned on themselves. And then led by Jehosaphat all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.
Here’s the net result, verse 29: The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehosaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. His God gave him rest on every side. On every side. God is asking us to behave like the men and women of Judah under the leadership of Jehosaphat. Jehosaphat trusted the Lord. Jehosaphat sent in the worshipers. Jehosaphat admitted that he did not know what to do, but that his eyes would be on the Lord. Jehosaphat thanked the Lord. Even before the battle was won, he thanked the Lord.
Are we thanking the Lord? Are we showing our children what it looks like? You see Jehosaphat knew how to abide. He knew how to stay at peace. He did it by trusting the Lord. He wasn’t afraid to say who he trusted. He shouted not only his story, he told God’s story. In 2 Chronicles 17:6, the Bible says his heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord. He had spent his life telling the people around him that they needed to come back to the Lord. And you guys, this is what I’ve been doing over here for eight years. Come back to the Lord. Cry out to the Lord. Let Him know that you trust him. Let the people around you know that you trust the Lord. God is on his throne, and nothing that’s happening today is taking him by surprise. Nothing.
So I would encourage you, lean in to the Lord today. Lean in. Don’t be afraid. Share what you have with those around you. As men and women of God, we don’t take more than we need. We trust that God will provide for us, and we share with those around us who are in need. God’s people don’t panic, they praise. God’s people don’t worry, they worship. And this is who God says we are. Do you believe it with me today? Do you believe it? I’m sitting here at the HomeSchool Resource Center in Vancouver and it’s quiet because the city shut us down, and there’s a lot of uneasiness around me. And I don’t know about you, but I want to be like Jehosaphat.
I want to be a woman who stands up in the face of trial and says, “Lord, I trust you. I trust you. I want my kids to see that I trust the Lord.” Let your children see that your hope is in the Lord. You don’t even have to know what to do. Jehosaphat didn’t know what to do. Jehosaphat said, “Lord, we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” And when we put our eyes on Jesus, He tells us that he’ll show us what to do. Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face and the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of his glory and grace.
You guys are loved. God is on his throne, and we’re going to make it through this. All right? We’re going to make it through. I want to encourage you guys, you can check out the videos that I’ve been recording, hopefully just in time to help you figure out this learn at home thing. If you know people who are frustrated and struggling with what to do with their kids right now, you can encourage them because it turns out the whole world’s homeschooling right now, right? Let’s encourage each other. We have an awesome opportunity to be exactly who God says we are.
Thanks for listening today everybody. You can turn your questions in to me at heidistjohn.com/mailboxmonday and please, please, you’ve got a little extra time on your hands right now. If you’ve never left a review for the podcast or for my books, this is a great time to do it. It would greatly encourage us. And also please continue to subscribe to MomStrong International. You can join me there for the Bible study. It’s just $8 a month. And your $8 a month goes a whole long way in keeping this podcast on the air. We love you guys. We’re praying for you and I’ll see you back here on Wednesday.
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