“And you… He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it.”
– Colossians 2:13-15
Jesus, in His victory at the Cross, has given us victory ourselves. We fight and struggle from a knowledge of the outcome. In the Kingdom, we fight from a position of victory, not towards it, because Jesus has already won. This makes us more than conquerors, marching to assail an enemy. This makes us visionaries in the Spirit, catalysts for change and growth, and our stance in the world must reflect that. We are the heirs of God, jointly with Christ, and our commitment to worship in the sight of sovereignty of the Lord is what allows and defines our success. The battle is already won, because we have partnered with the victor.
The story of Jehoshaphat is a remarkable example of the power that can come from stepping into the victory of God and moving as though already victorious. To provide some background—after the death of Solomon, political strife within the twelve tribes once more caused a split, ten of the tribes forming the northern Kingdom Of Israel, while Solomon’s descendants formed the southern Kingdom Of Judah. Jehoshaphat, the fourth king of Judah, was an uncommonly holy man in a time of extraordinary idolatry. Under his leadership, the Kingdom Of Judah prospered in peace for some time. He suppressed idolatry, and worked to instruct his people in the Law of God, while protecting and fortifying his kingdom from outside danger. A generous man, he also attempted to maintain cordial relations with the northern kingdom, joining forces with them despite their blasphemous practices to defeat the Moabites, who were intent on revolting against Israel. It was this defeat that finally caused the Moabites to unite with several of the surrounding nations to move against the southern kingdom.
Jehoshaphat found that a vast army was arrayed against the beloved kingdom that he had spent twenty-five years of his rule keeping safe in a region full of upheaval and strife. Not knowing what to do, he cried out to God before the court of Judah, saying “‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’” (2 Chronicles 20:9)
At this point, the Lord told him to do a remarkable thing. Summoning all of the people of Judah within Jerusalem, the capital of the kingdom, the Lord said, “‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17)
And so they did, descending to face the vast army come to destroy them, the everyone in Jerusalem (men, women and children) marching with the army, praising God as they did so. A strong and noble king, the father and protector of his people for a quarter of a century, Jehoshaphat had no hesitation in sending the population of his capital city into conflict because God had told him that the battle was won; and they worshipped as they marched. Then the Lord set the combined forces of the opposing army against each other, and when the people of Judah emerged from the mountains in the place that God had commanded them to go to, to overlook their enemy amassed in the wilderness below, they found that the host had destroyed itself, and not a man remained alive to threaten them. The battle was won, as the Lord had promised.
Jehoshaphat and his people’s uncompromising devotion to God allowed them to move in victory, before a single sword needed to be drawn in defense of their beleaguered kingdom. Their battle cry was a song of worship, just as ours needs to be, because we must concentrate on the majesty and supremacy of the Lord and give thanks for that sovereignty in our lives. We focus on Jesus in fascination and joy, and in that way cannot be intimidated by any enemy or obstacle that stands in our way, because intimacy with God is the single greatest weapon that we have against fear and doubt and the threats of those who would bring us down.
David knew that. A century before his great-great-great-grandson demonstrated his own unwavering devotion to God before the great threat to his kingdom, David, “a man after God’s own heart”—a worshipper—took on the might of Goliath, and in defeating him, defeated the heart of the Philistine army. David became a giant-killer through intimacy with God, through focus and faith and thanksgiving.
We are aIready standing in victory. In rejoicing at the victory, the particulars of how it will come about are revealed to us, just as the people of Jerusalem and their king Jehoshaphat came out of the mountains rejoicing, as the defeated host was revealed to them.
We are already standing in victory. It’s Christ’s gift to us, which means that whatever battles we fight are ours to lose, not to win. We can lose if we lose focus. We can lose if we no longer have the faith to stand. We can lose if we no longer give thanks for the victory. Think on your own life—what victory belongs to you in your current circumstances? How can you give thanks to God for this victory?
Because we’ve seen it before when, distracted and intimidated by the host before us, we’ve asked God to give us the strength we need to overcome them, the power necessary to do what must be done. He has already given us that power, and we stand in his victory. So where do you stand at this moment?