(Please note: At some point there was an ungodly picture posted on my blog. I am not sure who was responsible and was able to hack into my blog, but I have reported this mishap. Thank you for those who called the office to report it. Blessings!)
Matthew 8:28 And when He arrived at the other side in the country of the Gadarenes, two men under the control of demons went to meet Him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way.
This is the day that the Lord has made! I will REJOICE and be glad in it. We had an awesome day yesterday with 25 people that either got saved, or rededicated their hearts to the Lord! Isn't that awesome? Several of the people that responded are people that we have been praying for many years. God still answers prayer!
I woke up this morning with this question on my mind…"Are the '-ites' after you?" What do I mean? In the Old Testament there are several –ites mentioned. Let me give you a few of them: Amorites, Jebusites, Canaanites, Moabites, Ammonites, etc. In 2 Chronicles 20:1-3 it was the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Meunites who were after King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. Let me explain to you what some of the "-ites" meant:
(dwelling on a clayey soil). Supposed by some to be the same as the Gergesenes (Mat_8:28), who lay to the east of Lake Gennesareth;
Jeremiah 32:17 (AMP) Alas, Lord God! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! There is nothing too hard or too wonderful for You--
Philippians 4:13 (AMP) I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].
Matthew 8:28 And when He arrived at the other side in the country of the Gadarenes, two men under the control of demons went to meet Him, coming out of the tombs, so fierce and savage that no one was able to pass that way.So these represent MIGHT that we face. (Situations that seem too strong for us to ever overcome) (Jeremiah 32:17)
- The Amorites — descended from the fourth son of Canaan. They occupied, besides their conquest on the Moabite territory, extensive settlements west of the Dead Sea, in the mountains. (dwellers on the summits, mountaineers). These represent the HEIGHTS in our life (things that are above our understanding and ability to figure out): (Jeremiah 29:11)
Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP) For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.
Isaiah 55:8-9 For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, says the Lord. (9) For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.
- The Canaanites — located in Phoenicia, particularly about Tyre and Sidon, and being sprung from the oldest branch of the family of Canaan, bore his name. (Trader) These represent the Parasites of our life (things that just won't let go. We have battled some of the same battles for years): (Isaiah 40:29-31)
- The Perizzites — that is, villagers, (Village dwellers) a tribe who were dispersed throughout the country and lived in unwalled towns. Villagers; dwellers in the open country, the Canaanitish nation inhabiting the fertile regions south and south-west of Carmel. These represent the FLIGHTS in our life (the things that we have no control over, but causes us to want to run): (2 Corinthians 4:7-9)
2 Corinthians 4:7-9 (MSG) If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. (8) As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, (9) but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken.
- The Hivites —(Wicked; wickedness) These represent the PLIGHTS in our life (the temptations): (Genesis 4:7)
(MSG) If you do well, won't you be accepted? And if you don't do well, sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it's out to get you, you've got to master it."
- The Jebusites — resided about Jerusalem and the adjacent country. They were a very spiritually dark, depressed people. The complete opposite of PEACE. They were from Jerusalem, which means "habitation of peace" These represent the NIGHTS in our life (The dark times and places): (Isaiah 26:3)
So I ask you again, "Are the –ites after you?" Are you battling: fear, seemingly insurmountable problems, things that you can't understand, problems that you just can't get victory over, things that make you want to throw up your hands and quit, strong temptations, and dark places? Then my friend, God's Word has some help for you. Notice what Jehosophat did in 2 Chronicles 20 when he faced the "-ites":
#1 He took control of his emotions before his emotions took control of him (v. 3) "Then Jehoshaphat FEARED, and set himself (determinedly, as his vital need) to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah."
His initial reaction was to fear…but he QUICKLY turned his attention from the problem to the SOLUTION. God help us to do this in every situation. Different emotions will attempt to control us in a matter of seconds: anger, fear, worry, anxiety, lustful thoughts, etc. We must IMMEDIATELY take control of our emotions, and turn our attention to God.
#2 He quickly moved from the flesh to the Spirit (v. 3) "Then Jehoshaphat FEARED, and set himself (determinedly, as his vital need) to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah." The NATURAL reaction is to wonder HOW can I work this out. We have to die to the natural and turn it over to the SUPERnatural! Jehoshaphat determined in his heart to seek the Lord, and called a fast! He knew his answer was not in the flesh.
#3 He refused to internalize his problem. He needed help and asked for it! v. 4
And Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord [yearning for Him with all their desire]. Too many times, God's people have a tendency to believe that it is a lack of faith to ask for help from others. We need each other, and that is why God tells us in Galatians to "bear one another's burdens." There is no shame in asking for help with your burdens.
#4 He took his problem to God in prayer. V. 5-12 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the Lord before the new court (6) And said, O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You. (7) Did not You, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend? (8) They dwelt in it and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your Name, saying, (9) If evil comes upon us, the sword of judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You--for Your Name [and the symbol of Your presence] is in this house--and cry to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save. (10) And now behold, the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom You would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they turned from and did not destroy--[Deut. 2:9.] (11) Behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. (12) O our God, will You not exercise judgment upon them? For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.
Notice some things about his prayer:
- Again, he involved other people ("He stood in the Assembly of Judah and Jerusalem")
- He verbalized his faith in God. This is a form of praise. He was praising in the midst of his problem ("Are you not God in heaven?")
- He laid out his problem to God in detail ("And now, behold our problem…")
- He admitted that he needed direction from God ("We do not know what to do")
- He reaffirmed that their eyes were on God, and not man ("but our eyes are on you")
#5 God gave supernatural instruction v. 14-15 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. (15) He said, Hearken, all Judah, you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you King Jehoshaphat. The Lord says this to you: Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.
#6 Jehoshaphat took God at His Word and WORSHIPPED Him BEFORE he saw the answer come to pass v. 18-19 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping Him. (19) And some Levites of the Kohathites and Korahites stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
#7 He spoke words of FAITH not words of FEAR v. 20:20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe and remain steadfast to His prophets and you shall prosper.
#8 He kept his FOCUS on God by praising Him during the conflict. V. 21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to sing to the Lord and praise Him in their holy [priestly] garments as they went out before the army, saying, Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever!
#9 God responded to the praise of His people v. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were [self-] slaughtered;
My friend, maybe the "ites" are after you today: fear-ites, disease-ites, poverty-ites, bad marriage-ites, stress-ites, grouchy co-worker-ites, rejection-ites, and so on. Regardless of what "ites" are chasing you, do what Jehoshaphat did and turn your attention to God instead of focusing on all of those "ites" and God will give you the victory!
When we have trouble, we should develop the habit of running to God instead of to people. Yes, we need help sometimes to help bear our burden. But we should seek FIRST God rather than our own minds or other people's minds. Ask yourself, "When trouble comes, do I run to the PHONE or to the THRONE?" God might direct us to a person for advice, but we should always go to Him first to show that we honor and trust Him above all else!
I pray that you will mediate on God's Word today! Blessings!
Today's "Through the Bible in a year" reading: 2 Chronicles 10:1 – 2 Chronicles 14:1
This week's memory verse to "Hid in our hearts": 2 Chronicles 20:22
v. 22 And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were [self-] slaughtered;