Marching Behind The Tenors

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You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you . . . . II Chronicles 20:17

Background Scripture:  II Chron. 2:20:1-29

You know the scene in the World War II movies:  the diverse group of soldiers who we’ve seen bonding through their training and experiences, waiting for the final battle of the film.  There’s the obsessive smoker, the letter writer, the harmonica player, the gamblers, the soldier cleaning his weapon of the third time. Each in their own way, they are preparing for battle.

How do you prepare for battle?  Personally, I usually waste a whole lot of time arguing that I shouldn’t have to fight this battle.  That it’s totally unfair that I be involved. But then I’m done complaining, I get to work and want piles of information as I plot my strategy.  Others can not wait for the battle. They are in a constant state of readiness, occasionally attacking when there is no adversary. And some of us avoid battles at any cost, going to great lengths, spending huge amounts of time and money to sidestep a confrontation.

Is it possible, taking into consideration the variety of personalities and gifts God has given us, that God has a plan for how we are to enter battle?  II Chronicles 20 offers a very different approach to battle that you may not have considered.

Rather than fight the people of Israel alone, forces from three countries were join together to fight King Jehoshaphat.  This was an extremely grave situation. All the people – men, women, children and babes-in-arms – gathered together to seek the Lord’s guidance.  The spirit of the Lord descends upon a man, Jahaziel, and he delivers the Lord’s battle plan to them.

“Tomorrow, march against them.  They will be at the Pass of Ziz.  They will be at the end of the gorge in the desert.  Take your positions, stand firm and don’t be afraid, because the battle is the Lord’s, you won’t even have to fight it.”  Given that my knowledge of war has been acquired from films and Tom Clancy novels, I’m in no position to judge battle plans.  But I find Jahaziel’s plan seriously lacking!

I want more information!  How long is this gorge? How deep?  How many men do they have? What weapons do they have?  But none of that information is available, or even sought.  The next morning the men assemble and prepare to march to the Pass of Ziz.  And then – the final absurdity! At the front of the army they place, not the best swordsmen, the dead-aim archers, or the strong men, but the best singers.  Singers?

Do you believe that any battle you face, be it in courtroom, with co-workers, or over the boardroom table, is won by your skill, knowledge and power?  Or do you believe that the battle is won by the Lord? You know the “right” answer; the question is, do you believe it? And do you believe it enough to fall in line behind the tenors?

So out of the city they march, singing praises to God.  And as they praise, (“as” being the operative word), God causes the three armies to fall upon each other and kill each other so that when the Israelites arrive, the battle was over.  We are to enter battle praising God! Not complaining. Not strategizing and planning. But with praises to God for who God is. With praises for the splendor of His holiness.

If the battle was God’s from the start, why did God command His people to march to the Pass of Ziz?  Why couldn’t they sleep in and putter around the house? I offer two possible explanations.

One:  they were prepared and on the scene, paying very careful attention to everything that was happening.  They were ready to be great witnesses. The men of Israel were excellent witnesses to God’s acts at the Pass of Ziz.

Two:  not a single member of the army could claim that his actions had anything to do with the success.  They arrived to find a vast army of dead men! Not even a great egomaniac would dare claim any role in this, God’s victory.  Not only were they witnesses, but witnesses who could tell only one story and assign the praise only to God.

When your next battle appears on the horizon, what will you do?  Pout? Attack? Avoid? I encourage you to try the model given us in 2 Chronicles:  (1) Be fully prepared. (2) Enter singing, praising God for who He is. (3) Be prepared to be an excellent witness.

Betsy Miller, Administrative Assistant for Geneva School of Law project.

B. Miller, Week 17: Marching Behind the Tenors, in WHAT DOES THE LORD REQUIRE OF YOU? 42-43 (L. Buzzard ed.1997).

Used with permission of the publisher, Advocates International.