Through the Word Special Edition: Picking your battles


King Josiah is one of my heroes. His efforts at reforming Jerusalem, Judea and the Jewish people were unparalleled. Those efforts are recorded and celebrated in chapters 34-36 of 2 Chronicles. They are inspiring. Josiah’s courage and single-mindedness in following the Lord are more than exemplary. He humbled himself before the Word of the Lord; mourned their national sins; sought out God’s Word; made a fresh covenant with the Lord to walk before Him, and keep His commandments and testimonies with all his heart and soul, and set about to rid the land of every vestige of idolatry. Then he re-instituted the right worship of the Lord which had been so long neglected.

Would to God some leader of this type might rise up in our day.

And then we read of the sad events in chapter 35 – where Josiah was killed in battle. But the problem was, it wasn’t his battle to begin with.

The truth is that the downfall of many a good and godly man, is occasioned by getting involved in battles that ought to not concern them. That are not properly their’s to fight.

How we must learn to choose our battles very carefully.

Not every fight is ours. Not every wrong can be righted. Not every cause is wise to be taken up. Knowing which battles, and when and how to engage them is a dearly needed faculty of wisdom few possess.

Hubris sometimes leads into things we ought not to meddle with. Centuries before this account, Solomon had noted: “  Whoever meddles in a quarrel not his own is like one who takes a passing dog by the ears.” Pr 26:17. It is a graphic warning. It’s a great way to get your face bitten off. It is a no-win proposition.

The thing which I notice most lacking in the account is simply this: He was so careful to inquire of the Lord previously, that seeing God’s blessing upon him, he didn’t seem to bother this time. It must have just seemed “right” to him. But alas, it wasn’t. And he was needlessly cut down before his time.

If it is the Lord’s battle, no foe is too great. If it isn’t, no stockpile of good intentions will be enough.

Heavenly Father – make us wise in our generation to discern by your Spirit and your Word which battles we ought and need to entertain, and which must be left alone for the time being. Not to automatically assume you will be on our side in everything, simply because we have known your blessing, and because it is in our hearts to do well.

To never imagine ourselves as always to have chosen wisely, but to humbly seek your face in every endeavor.

Raise up a host of Josiahs in our day. And keep us on our knees seeking your face lest we wander into things that we are not appointed for. Josiah did not listen to the words of Neco which came from the mouth of God. Keep us from failing to recognize your voice just because it comes from a source we don’t like.

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