Saturday, August 18, 2018

We're not the masters of our fate

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TODAY’S SPECIAL: 2 Chronicles 18-20; Psalm 75

“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.” 2 Chronicles 20:29

“For exaltation comes neither from the east
Nor from the west nor from the south.
But God is the Judge:
He puts down one,
And exalts another. Psalm 75:6,7

William Ernest Henley ends his poem Invictus with the assertion:

I am the master of my fate,
      I am the captain of my soul.

He echoes the sentiment we humans cling to. From life’s beginning (via artificial means of conception) to middle (change our gender if we so desire) to end (lengthen life with medical science or legally end our own lives at the time we choose), we like to think we’re in control.

We kid ourselves, of course. Psalm 75 gives us a more realistic picture. There we see that God is behind it all, determining the times of everyone, from individuals to rulers of nations (Psalm 75:6-8).

Our reading  in 2 Chronicles today describes two events that illustrate that.

Before Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war, prophet Micaiah predicted that Ahab would be killed in battle. Determined to prove him wrong, Ahab disguised himself as a common soldier. Though the enemy pursued the kingly figure of Jehoshaphat, he managed to survive. Meanwhile Ahab was hit by a “random” arrow that happened to get him in one of the few vulnerable places on his well-armoured person (2 Chronicles 18).

In the second event King Jehoshaphat, threatened by the Ammonites and Moabites, took his problem to God: "We have no power against this great multitude...nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You" - 2 Chronicles 20:12.

God's solution came via the words of the prophet Jahaziel, who said, "You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord" - 2 Chronicles 20:17.

The next day the army entered battle in a very unconventional way, behind the singers and worshipers. Even as the praise began "...the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir ... and they were defeated" - 2 Chronicles 20:22.
As people of faith, I think we put too little stock in God's ability to manipulate the course of our own lives and of history. We need to spend less time criticizing and scheming how to make things happen and more time acknowledging "We have no power, nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You," and then praise Him for the victory He is accomplishing.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your sovereignty over individuals, rulers, and nations.  Help me entrust my future to you, and to keep praying for the leaders of my country and the countries of the world, knowing that You are in control. Amen.
Psalm 75

Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Thanks for reading! This year we are using The Bible Project "Timeless Reading Plan" to read through the Bible in 2018. If you'd like to read along in your own Bible, you can download a pdf of the reading plan HERE.

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