Anxiety

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One more strike and you’re out – ‘Soul Ties’


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This is the first post in a new regular series called ‘One more strike and you’re out’ where we take a very quick look at a popular (and widely accepted) false teaching within Christian churches today.

We start with the topic of ‘Soul Ties’. Here’s a definition from a popular Christian website:

“The Bible speaks of what is today known as soul ties. In the Bible, it doesn’t use the word soul tie, but it speaks of them when it talks about souls being knit together, becoming one flesh, etc. A soul tie can serve many functions, but in it’s simplest form, it ties two souls together in the spiritual realm.”

Let’s take a look at this. Firstly, the term ‘Soul Ties’ appears NOWHERE in the Bible, and secondly, neither does the concept it describes, i.e. supposedly uniting or tying one person’s soul to the soul of another person in some way.

False teachers misrepresent the meaning of certain passages in the Bible, like:

And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul. – 1 Samuel 18:1.

and

What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. – 1 Corinthians 6:16.

They claim that these passages are examples of ‘knitting souls together’, but their claim is not supported by a proper interpretation of what is written. Instead, this is yet another case of false teaching distorting the true meaning of scripture to promulgate strange myths built upon speculation. One can be reminded of what it says in 1 Timothy 1:4:

Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. – 1 Timothy 1:4.

So, what does the Bible actually say?

The Bible teaches that a saved Christian is united with Christ alone and with no one else. Even in marriage we unite only in FLESH until the death of the body according to Romans 7, and NOT in spirit or soul.

In 1 Samuel 18:1, “knit” simply means that Jonathan and David entered into a covenant together (v3). Covenants unite two people in a lifelong earthly bond, NOT some sort of ‘spiritual or soul realm’ bond.

Jonathan felt great affection and admiration for David (a ‘type’ of the Lord Jesus Christ), recognising him to be the future king of Israel, and so he became devoted to David, and entered into a covenant with him. It describes their deep emotional and covenantal bond.

In the case of 1 Corinthians 6:16, Paul warns believers not to become “one flesh” with prostitutes through an act of sexual immorality. Notice Paul’s concern was that of becoming one FLESH, NOT one spirit or one soul. He was describing the life-long bond of marriage, not a special spiritual union.

Final thoughts

If there is anything that you still have in your life that reminds you of some ‘bad times’ in your unsaved days, for example, then you should WANT to get rid of them anyway, and to keep you life as clean and pleasing to the Lord as you can. However, there is NO Biblical support for the concept of ‘soul ties’; it’s a false teaching.

Stick with what the word of God says, and compare scripture with scripture. And ask the Lord to reveal His TRUTH to you about these and such things.

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Some helpful Bible verses for situations


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Afraid of circumstances

  • Mark 4:35-41
  • Romans 8:28
  • Isaiah 41:10 & 13
  • Psalms 139:8-10

Afraid of people (see also ‘Bullied’)

  • Psalms 56:9-11
  • Psalms 62:5-8
  • Psalms 27:1-3

Afraid of persecution

  • Matthew 5:11, 12
  • Hebrews 13:6-8

Afraid of the future

  • Matthew 6:25-34
  • Psalms 23
  • Psalms 55:22

Angry with people

  • Ephesians 4:29-32
  • James 1:19, 20
  • Colossians 3:12-14
  • 1 John 2:9-11

Anxious (see ‘Worried’)

Apathetic or complacent

  • John 3:17, 18, 35, 36
  • Revelation 3:15-18
  • Romans 3:22-24
  • Romans 6:23

Away from home

  • Proverbs 3:1-7
  • Psalms 91
  • Psalms 121

Bereaved (see ‘Coping with a death’)

Bitter or critical

  • Matthew 7:1-5
  • Matthew 6:14, 15
  • Hebrews 12:14, 15
  • Ephesians 4:32

Blaming God

  • Job 22:21
  • 2 Samuel 22:31
  • Jeremiah 29:11
  • Proverbs 19:3

Broken-hearted

  • Psalms 34:17, 18
  • Psalms 147:3

Bullied (see also ‘Afraid of people’)

  • Psalms 91:9-16
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalms 37:7-9

Choosing a career

  • Proverbs 16:3, 9
  • Romans 12:1, 2
  • Psalms 37:3-7

Conscious of sin

  • 1 John 1:5-10
  • Romans 6:23
  • Psalms 25:4-11
  • Psalms 51

Considering marriage

  • Matthew 19:4-6
  • Ephesians 5:22-33
  • Hebrews 13:4

Contemplating revenge

  • Romans 12:17-19
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:15

Coping with death (bereaved)

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
  • Romans 8:38, 39
  • John 3:15, 16
  • John 14:1-4

Coping with failure

  • Hebrews 4:14-16
  • Psalms 73:26

Desperate (at your wits end)

  • Psalms 62:5-8
  • Psalms 55:22
  • 2 Corinthians 1:8-11

Distressed or troubled

  • 2 Corinthians 4:8, 9, 16-18
  • Psalms 9:9, 10
  • Romans 8:28-39
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

Doubting (see ‘Faith is weak’ and ‘Sceptical’)

  • Mark 9:17-24
  • John 20:24-31
  • John 4:50
  • 1 Corinthians 1:18-25

Envious (see also ‘Jealous’)

  • Galatians 5:22-26
  • James 3:13-16
  • Philippians 4:12, 13

Facing death

  • John 3:16
  • John 14:1-3
  • Psalms 23:4
  • 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Faith is weak (see also ‘Doubting’ and ‘Sceptical’)

  • Luke 12:22-31
  • John 14:13, 14
  • Hebrews 11
  • Matthew 8:5-13

Far from God

  • Psalms 145:17-20
  • James 4:7-10
  • Acts 17:22-28

Feeling hurt

  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • Psalms 27:13, 14
  • Hebrews 12:2, 3

Feeling inadequate

  • 1 Corinthians 1:20-31
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
  • Philippians 4:12, 13
  • Isaiah 40:28-31

Feeling lost or unwanted

  • Psalms 107:4-9
  • Luke 15:11-24
  • Luke 19:10
  • Hebrews 13:5, 6

Feeling self-righteous

  • Luke 18:9-14
  • Ephesians 2:8, 9
  • Romans 3:9-12, 21-24
  • Titus 3:3-7

Friends fail

  • 2 Timothy 4:16-18
  • Luke 17:3, 4
  • Psalms 34:18, 19
  • Deuteronomy 33:27

Ill or in pain

  • James 5:14-16
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9, 10
  • Psalms 103:1-5

In danger or threatened (see also ‘Bullied’)

  • Psalms 27:1
  • Mark 4:35-41
  • Proverbs 18:10
  • 1 Peter 3:13-17

Insulted

  • Proverbs 12:16
  • Romans 15:3, 4
  • 1 Peter 2:23

Intimidated

  • Proverbs 29:25
  • Joshua 1:9
  • Psalms 3:1-3
  • Psalms 71:1-3

Jealous (see also ‘Envious’)

  • 1 Timothy 6:6-10
  • Matthew 6:33
  • 1 John 2:15-17

Lonely

  • Psalms 23
  • Deuteronomy 31:8
  • Hebrews 13:5

Looking for a job/made redundant

  • Philippians 4:11-13
  • Proverbs 16:3, 9
  • Isaiah 48:17
  • Jeremiah 29:11

Needing comfort

  • Psalms 34:18, 19
  • 2 Corinthians 1:3, 4

Needing guidance

  • Proverbs 3:5, 6
  • Romans 12:1, 2
  • James 1:5-8
  • Psalms 32:8-10

Needing peace

  • John 14:27
  • Philippians 4:4-9
  • Romans 5:1-5
  • Isaiah 26:3, 4

Newly retired

  • Proverbs 16:3
  • Matthew 6:25-34
  • Philippians 4:12
  • Isaiah 46:4

Praying

  • 1 John 5:14, 15
  • John 14:12-14
  • Luke 11:1-13
  • Psalms 66:16-20

Resentful (see also ‘Bitter or critical’)

  • 2 Timothy 2:22-24
  • Proverbs 3:11, 12

Sceptical (see also ‘Doubting’ and ‘Faith is weak’)

  • Luke 24:36-49
  • John 6:35-40
  • John 10:25-30

Sleepless

  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • 1 Peter 5:6, 7
  • Proverbs 3:21-26:5
  • Psalms 4:8

Stressed (see also ‘Worried’)

  • Matthew 6:25-27, 34
  • 1 Peter 5:7
  • John 14:1
  • Isaiah 40:31

Tempted to: (see separate section below)

Thankful

  • Psalms 100
  • 2 Corinthians 9:10-12 & 15
  • Colossians 3:15
  • Colossians 2:6, 7

Unemployed (see ‘Looking for a job/made redundant’)

Weary

  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
  • Philippians 4:13
  • Isaiah 40:28-31

Witnessing

  • Acts 1:8
  • 1 Peter 3:15
  • Matthew 10:32, 33
  • Romans 10:8-10

Worried (see also ‘Stressed’)

  • Philippians 4:6, 7
  • Nahum 1:7
  • Psalms 46
  • Isaiah 43:1-3

Tempted to …

Commit suicide

  • 1 Corinthians 10:13
  • 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20
  • Psalms 34:6
  • Psalms 31:9, 10, 14-16

Divorce

  • Mark 10:1-12
  • Romans 7:1-3
  • Malachi 2:15, 16

Drink abuse

  • Ephesians 5:18
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:6-8
  • 1 Corinthians 10:12, 13, 31
  • Proverbs 20:1

Drug abuse

  • 2 Peter 2:19
  • Romans 13:13, 14
  • Proverbs 25:28
  • Proverbs 14:12

Lie

  • Proverbs 6:16-19
  • Proverbs 19:9
  • Ephesians 4:22-25
  • Revelation 21:8

Sexual immorality

  • Galatians 5:19-24
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
  • 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10

Steal

  • Exodus 20:15
  • Romans 13:8-10
  • Ephesians 4:28
    Hebrews 13:5
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Catholicism, New Age, and chronic depression


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From Rome to New Age to Christ


Chronic depression, angry mood swings, and anxiety

That was my life for at least 20 years – mental and physical suffering; strained personal and work relationships.

I tried my hardest to get out of it; to change. From studying a ton of self-help tools and techniques to trying different religions; nothing worked. Granted, these things did provide me with a little comfort, but ultimately made me feel more low and empty, and my depression got worse.

On the surface, I had a ‘cool’ lifestyle; expensive sports cars, self-employed, money, married to my dream woman (who loved me very much) who had also given birth to our beautiful dream daughter, so what was the problem? Why the chronic depression?

In 2008, I reached a ‘tipping point’ where I feared I would lose everything in my life. Then one night, I watched a TV programme where a man was talking about the Lord Jesus Christ.

I listened as he spoke about why Jesus had done what He did on the Cross, and that we needed to believe on Him to be forgiven of our sins, in order to go to Heaven when we die.

For some reason, what I heard rang true, and I felt convicted over the sin I had done in my life. I switched off the TV and fell to my knees crying out to God asking Him to forgive me of my sins; believing with my heart the message I had just heard; that Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again the third day. At that moment, I ‘felt’ a heavy weight, or a burden if you will, lifted from me, and my tears turned to rejoicing!

The next morning, I felt like a man with newness of life – lighter, happier, comforted, focused. I realised afterwards that I had been saved by God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ – The WAY, The TRUTH, and The LIFE.

No matter how much I had tried to ‘clean up’ my life before this, I could not do it. I NEVER would have been able to do it, because I needed to have my sins forgiven by God! Only Jesus could do it. Only Jesus could SAVE me!

Oh friend, the joy in my heart now is wonderful; my life has completely changed!

I do pray you found my brief personal testimony of some interest and comfort to you.

May the Lord bless you as you seek to know Him, and the wonderful salvation He offers FREELY to ALL who call upon Him in genuine, heartfelt repentance.

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A Christian and Depression


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Depression is probably the most common human problem, but the Bible does not leave us without help. Many people in OT times felt miserable and depressed, and the prophet Elijah was one of them. He was just like us – James 5:17. His experiences were the same as ours. He had difficulties, tests, and he knew what depression was like.

READ: 1 Kings 18-19.

Our enemy, the devil, uses depression

If the devil gets us depressed, he makes us less able than we usually are; he wins a major success. The devil can use all sorts of tests and troubles to make us feel depressed.

READ: 1 Peter 1:6 – they are called manifold temptations.

Our tests are of various kinds and ‘shades’, but they will encourage us.

READ: 1 Peter 4:10; 2 Corinthians 12:9 – But there is also manifold grace of God, and God’s grace is always sufficient.

Notice 3 things about depression. It often comes:

1. When we feel extremely tired

READ: 1 Kings 18:46.

The devil knows the right time to attack us with depression. We are especially weak when our bodies feel very tired. It was certainly like this for Elijah. He sat down under a tree and wanted to die, as he had no physical energy at the time.

First, he had run nearly 20 miles to a place called Jezreel. Then he heard bad news in the city. So, he ran for more than another 80 miles.

This may be the main cause for your depression. How much do you do during a day? Too much perhaps? Do you take care of your body? Remember, your body is the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, 6:19-20).

Do not be careless about your physical needs as it brings dishonour to God:

  • Get rest and sleep.
  • Eat properly and enough – check your meal times!
  • Relax with some activity.

All these things have spiritual as well as physical importance. There are times when it is easier to become depressed, and the devil will try to use them. These times are when our health is weak.

2. When we have had great spiritual benefits

READ: 1 Kings 18:16-39.

Elijah had had a great experience on the mountain, and it was a great success. God had showed his power and greatness, and Elijah must have felt great excitement. But then came the depression.

It often happens like that in our lives. There is no natural reason for it. God has just given us a great benefit, but the devil wants to steal it from us. He wants to take away our joy and peace in God; to make us feel depressed is the easiest way to do it. The devil can use just a minor event in our lives or bring to our memory an event, or feeling, or fear from the past. If we forget about God, and we become very depressed.

3. When we least expect it

This is the time when the devil comes to attack us – then cometh the devil (Luke 8:12), with ‘the darts of depression’.

Elijah left the place where he had been successful, and had astonished all the people, rushing off to Jezreel. He was going to tell people about God’s great success, but he was soon a very different man; afraid and depressed.

READ: 1 Corinthians 10:12 – depression often just appears in our lives, and we must remember to take heed.

Depression does something bad to us

Depression robs us of many good qualities that God has given us – courage, strength, discernment, etc.

READ: 1 Kings 17:1-16.

Elijah was usually a brave man. His desire was that his nation would return to God, and he was ready to die with them. He marched into Ahab’s palace and announced that God’s punishment was coming, then God told him that he would provide for his needs.

All that time, Ahab was hunting Elijah (1 Kings 18:10). Soldiers were searching for him, and they would kill him if they found him. It was at this time that God sent him to Sidon, which was the country of Jezebel, the wicked queen. Then he went to speak to Ahab, the evil king (1 Kings 18:15-18.), whilst the soldiers were hunting him.

So much happened at Carmel too. Elijah needed to be brave (1 Kings 18:19-40) and strong. After all this though, Elijah felt great physical weakness, and then depression followed. He had none of his former strength. He ran to save his life.

Maybe Elijah let a little pride affect his spiritual life?

READ: 1 Kings 18:36-37.

We cannot be sure about this; but perhaps there were two prayers here. The first had ‘I’ in it, then, the reason for his prayer changes in the next verse. Remember that Elijah was
a man subject to like passions as we are. Maybe he had the problem of pride too?

There may be another sign of this in 1 Kings 19:4 – O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. Nobody said that he was! God did give him a special job to do, and he knew that God was using him, so maybe this gave him a feeling of spiritual importance? One cannot prove this of course.

But one thing is certain, depression often comes to those who only think about themselves. We want life to go completely our own way, not God’s way.

Depression always makes us unable to see the facts as they are

There is humour in 1 Kings 19:4. Elijah asks the Lord to take away his life, but if this was really what he wanted then he should have stayed where he was. He need not have had such a long, tiring journey; Jezebel promised to kill him in the next 24 hours. But poor Elijah did not look at the true situation. Perhaps we are all like that too sometimes.

A lesson here is to avoid making important decisions when you feel depressed. You are not seeing things as they really are. There will be a day when you will feel much happier, and that would be a better time to make a decision.

READ: 1 Kings 19:10, 14.

Notice something else about Elijah. His wrong opinion of the situation appears again. Like our own sad accounts of trouble, it went on and on. He repeated the same thing, and it was not even an accurate! God says that there are 7,000 people who love him (1 Kings 19:18).

There are physical reasons for much depression

We have already mentioned this. But 1 Kings 19 reminds us about its importance. Notice 19:5-7. We read about the first things that God did for Elijah. They were things that he should have done for himself. God made him sleep. God gave him food.

The same thing happens today. There are good, sincere Christian workers, and many of them suffer from depression at times, because they too neglect these two essential things in life. God gave Elijah two long periods of good sleep, and He also gave him two meals. THEN, He allowed Elijah to continue his journey.

In depression, find some quiet place, and prepare yourself to meet with God

God knew where Elijah was going (1 Kings 19:7). It was the place where God gave the Law to Moses. Elijah feared that people no longer appreciated God’s law, so it was natural for him to go there. It was also the place where God talked to Moses. (Exodus 34:29). There God showed what He wanted for his people (Deuteronomy 5). Perhaps Elijah hoped that God would talk to him too, and that is exactly what happened.

In your depression, God will do the same for you. Find some quiet place to meet with Him. Your mind may be full of doubts, and you may even feel that it will be of no practical use, but just do it. Go to Him and be still.

We can discover again what is most important

We do this when we meet with God.

He comes to us when all is quiet

READ: 1 Kings 19:11-12 – it speaks about a still small voice.

We must all learn to be completely quiet at times (Psalms 46:10; Isaiah 30:15).

He gives us something new to do

READ: 1 Kings 19:15-17.

So much depression comes from only thinking about ourselves. This type of attitude is not healthy. Service for other people can be God’s way for us to escape.

He helps us to see our life as it really is

READ: 1 Kings 19:18.

There needs to be communication with God. Then we will be free from our wrong ideas, which just make us more and more depressed.

He provides the help and friendship of other Christians

Elisha is an example of this.

READ: 1 Kings 19:19-21.

God gave him to Elijah. Later, there is a beautiful description of him. He which poured water on the hands of Elijah (2 Kings 3:11) – that he served Elijah.

God is very good to us too. He usually sends someone into our lives. He or she will help and encourage us. When this happens to you, avoid giving another account of your troubles! Ask God for His help to start life again. He is sufficient, whatever your needs may be you will have His strength and peace in your time of depression.

What you have leaned now may help other people later. Their need may be even greater than yours is now (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

For Group/Family Discussion


Sometimes when people’s bodies are very tired this may cause depression. The Bible says that believers’ bodies are like ‘temples’ for the Holy Spirit. READ: 1 Cor. 6:19. So, believers must not use their bodies in a way that would harm them. How can busy people organize their daily life so that this does not happen?


What can busy people do to provide good opportunities for necessary quiet time with the Lord?


Perhaps Elijah suffered from depression because he was lonely. The Bible teaches us that Christians should be like the parts of a body. The success of each part depends on the other parts. READ: Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:12-31; Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Pet. 4:8-11). How can each believer best contribute to the lives of other believers?


God gave His servant, Elijah, a way to escape from his depression. He provided him with a reliable partner, Elisha, who helped him. What do you think that meant to Elijah? What does it mean for us, when we give support to other believers?


Can a Christian do anything to avoid or reduce periods of doubt and depression?

Further Study


Look carefully at what God said to Jeremiah (Jer. 15:15-21) during one experience of depression. (Note that it was not the only time of depression in Jeremiah’s life.) The honest account is there in the Bible, and it is there to ‘teach’ and ‘encourage’ us. What do you think that the passage is saying to believers today?


John the Baptist said (twice) that Jesus was the Lamb of God, which taketh away4 the sin of the world (John 1:29, 35). But later, while he was in prison, he showed a little doubt and depression, but Jesus knew everything about John feelings, and said that John was one of the greatest men who had ever lived. Jesus chose not to consider John’s doubt and depression. He chose to think about greater parts of John’s life (Mat. 11:7-19). We might know a believer who has doubts and who has depression, and we want to help them. How might Jesus’ opinion about John help us?


An important teaching in the Bible is on ‘Meditating’. This is when we think much about the meaning and the message of words from the Bible, and we study the passage(s). Read Jos. 1:8; Ps. 1:2, 119:15, 23, 48, 78, 97, 99 and 148. These passages also explain what meditation means. What do you think this includes?


Some well-known Christian speakers of old like John Bunyan and C.H. Spurgeon had times of serious depression that lasted a long time. Then they found that it was difficult just to read the Bible. How would you try to help someone who felt like that?


 

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A Christian and Anxiety


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READ: Job 5:7 – The Christian suffers the same troubles as the unsaved person. But a Christian views them in light of what God wants to teach us.

  1. Problems are sent our way to make us think.
  2. Criticism comes our way to get us to check on ourselves.
  3. Pain comes our way to teach us patience.
  4. Sorrow pays us a visit to make us sympathetic.
  5. Disappointments come our way to keep us humble.
  6. Fear overwhelms us to engender righteousness.
  7. Difficulties come one after another to teach us to depend on God and have no confidence in the flesh (Philippians 3:3).

Trouble will always come to you at some time, even suddenly. And there will be situations in life that will upset you.

The Lord Jesus Christ knows the sweat, pain, and tears of sorrow (Isaiah 53:3-9), and He ‘feels them’ (Hebrews 4:15).

Your disappointments are His ‘appointments,’ and you cannot escape tribulation (John 16:33). Sometimes it will take prayer, grace, a sense of humour, and the support of friends to get you through your troubles.

READ: 2 Corinthians 11.

You may lose plenty on the way home to Heaven. Paul had more ‘trouble’ in ten years of ministry (Acts 9-20) than the average person has in a lifetime.

A king who needed to take his own advice

READ: 2 Chronicles 19:11 – the king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, encouraged the people about God being near to them.

The Old Testament emphasises practical things. What you believe is important, but you must express what you believe in your daily life. It should show in your behaviour.

The king needed to take his own advice. God often tests you when you are in trouble. You have advised other people in their trouble, and now you must obey your own advice. You have big lessons to learn in life, and you must often learn them by trouble. This is a sad fact.

Jehoshaphat’s reaction to his problem was one of anxiety.

READ: 2 Chronicles 20.

Things were going quite well for this good king. He made mistakes sometimes, but he loved and obeyed God, and he was loyal to Him too. Then there was sudden trouble.

Two countries, which were the king’s neighbours sent their armies. They even got extra military help from other nations. They all came to attack Judah (the land where Jehoshaphat ruled). It was a complete surprise, and he was not prepared at all only having a small army. He knew that the people in Judah could never overcome the enemy. God was their only chance, and if he would help them, then they would succeed.

This was the time when the king needed his own advice, Deal courageously, and the LORD shall be with the good. It was natural for him to be very anxious. Judah had no military strength, and cruel neighbours often attacked them. Now Jehoshaphat’s worst fears were happening. This is what he did when he was so anxious.

He prayed hard

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:3 – he asked the LORD what to do.

Remember: Any kind of trouble can be worthwhile if it brings us nearer to God.

Of course, Jehoshaphat would not choose this trouble for his people, but maybe he would not have prayed so hard if he had not had it? Because he was anxious, he hurried to the place for prayer.

Circumstances may cause pain and despair, but you should not be anxious. You should look at your trouble in a calm way. Look for the good that could come out of it; this can hard to do. The good thing for Jehoshaphat was that his trouble helped him to improve how he prayed.

Do not let anxiety control your thoughts

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:6-12 – Choose to remember God’s goodness in the past.

Jehoshaphat remembered the former days; the wonderful help from God that his people received.

When you are anxious, you may often look at the present; that pain is all you can think about, which then leads you to fearing more troubles in the future. But you should begin by looking back at how good God has been to you in the past. So, why should He forget you now? He was sufficient for you then. He is still the same God now, and He wants to help you today.

Do not forget that God rules

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:6 – God knows about your present difficult situation.

Thinking about how your circumstances have changed can tempt you to be anxious; you wish that you did not have this trouble. Perhaps you fear that something bad is going to happen.

Remind yourself that God rules, and that He is still in control of all life’s situations. Good things can result from this trouble, and it can bring honour to God too. This may seem impossible, because you feel so much pain and despair, but thousands of Christians have proved this truth.

Jehoshaphat did the right thing. He looked back. NOT on his failings, but on all that God had done for him in the past. He looked up to God in Heaven; to Heaven’s resources, which have no limit, and when he realised this, his anxiety began to disappear.

Remember this when you have troubles

God promises to help you in every kind of difficulty. The king stood in the place of prayer, and thought about two great national leaders, Abraham and Solomon, who lived centuries before Jehoshaphat did, and whom God had made promises to and kept.

In your times of trouble, do the same. Think, read, and study the great promises of God for a Christian. Accept and hold onto them, and God will never disappoint you. Jehoshaphat’s prayer was very serious. It was sincere. His trust was in God, so God sent him a message using a man who worked in the Temple.

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:15-17.

Remember God’s promises, and look to Him for help.

You can always thank God for something

Perhaps serious trouble has come to you, and you are feeling in pain and despair. But remember that when things are at their worst, there is always something for which you can thank God.

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:18-19.

The place where they fought the battle became famous. Many years later, people called it The valley of Berachah (20:26, which means blessing). It can be the same for you. You are in a dark valley now, but one day you too will say that it was a valley of blessings; something good will come out of it.

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:21.

This was a strange battle in the valley. They did not put their best soldiers on the frontline, but instead they had a group of singers! They marched out praising the LORD (20:21). The singers sang, and the LORD acted by getting the armies to fight each other instead of Judah.

You may have anxious thoughts and fears, so you should offer your praise to God. David sang a song of praise when he was happy, which is easy to do. But Jehoshaphat sang it on a day when he was afraid, which is a bit more difficult to do.

It is possible that his song was a short copy of David’s prayer. If so, it would give certainty to the soldiers. They would hear the words as they marched behind the singers, and it would have reminded them about their great king David. With God’s help, David defeated the enemy many times, so it would give them comfort and encouragement to hear the song.

Think about the benefits that the king received from his trouble.

  • His prayer and friendship with God became better (20:3-5).
  • His trust in God became stronger (20:12).
  • His understanding of God increased (20:17).
  • His love for God increased (20:27, 28).

The story began with the fear of man (20:3), and it ended with the fear of God (20:29). Jehoshaphat’s experience convinced his neighbours. These nations did not know or follow God, but they could see that God was great and good (20:29).

Your reaction to trouble is important as it can convince your friends and neighbours too about how wonderful God is. They can know the God who always loves, and to know Him for themselves.

FOR GROUP/FAMILY DISCUSSION


Are there extra blessings when people come together to ask help of the LORD? (2 Chronicles 20:4). Is group prayer more useful than personal and private prayer?


Jehoshaphat admitted that he was weak – for we have no might against this great company (2 Chronicles 20:12). We might want to do something effective for God too, but should we admit that we are weak?

READ: 1 Corinthians 2:3; 2 Corinthians 12:7-10; 13:4.


Jehoshaphat also admitted that he did not know what to do (2 Chronicles 20:12). We all need God’s advice, but do we only need His help for the major decisions, or for everything in life? How can we understand what is the difference between important things and unimportant things?

FURTHER STUDY


Hard times can come suddenly when we do not expect them. Then people can become seriously afraid. They can let things upset them. What causes that to happen?


What does it mean to keep looking at God?


Other Bible characters give us good examples. They encourage us to keep looking at God. Can you name any of them?

READ: Hebrews 11:27; 12:2; Psalms 105:4.


Another leader who loved God helped Jehoshaphat in this emergency. Perhaps we know people who are in times of trouble. How can we help them by what we say?


Could you make a list of the great truths that Jahaziel told the king? (2 Chronicles 20:15-17).


During the battle, the king’s choir sang some familiar words. They come from the book of Psalms. To praise God is a privilege, but do we forget to praise Him in times of trouble?

READ: Psalms 20:21; 1 Chronicles 16:34-36; Psalms 107:1; especially Psalms 136.