Sometimes, the hardest thing in the world to do is absolutely nothing at all.
And I imagine that’s how it felt for a man named Jehoshaphat.
You can find the details of this story in 2 Chronicles 20, but the quick version is that three nations were teaming up to pick a fight, putting Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, on defense and wondering how he should prepare for battle. Nonetheless, before he did anything, he gathered everyone together to praise the Lord and ask God what their first move should be.
And God answered: Do nothing. Gear up for battle, go to your positions and do nothing.
But wasn’t Jehoshaphat expected to engage in war? It was right and honorable and wise for him to defend the people of Judah and their land. Only cowards ran away. Only those how doubted God’s ability to help them win sent out negotiators, hoping to make a compromise. Only those who fought for the Lord’s people should expect to win.
But sometimes, God works in unexpected ways and wants to allow us the privilege of being reminded that he is God and we are not.
They took their positions, but instead of engaging in the fight, defending their people and their land and losing many lives in the process, they praised God, singing, “’Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
And it was during their worship that God did what only God can do. He had promised them that this battle was his and that, therefore, it was his to win. Jehoshaphat and everyone else watched as the three armies who were supposed to attack them as one, instead attacked and destroyed each other.
Yes, you read that right; they attacked and destroyed each other, keeping Jehoshaphat and the men of Judah safe, unharmed and carrying away the plunder that included lots of equipment, clothing and articles of great value. Costing them no lives or requiring any compromise.
It was then that Psalm 46 was written, and verse 10 that says, “be still, and know that I am God.”
Be still. Don’t move. Do nothing. Choose not to act.
You could move. You could do something. You could act.
But, please, be still.
One of the things I find most challenging in making decisions that are neither right or wrong is determining when to do something and when to do nothing. When are my actions simply getting in the way of God wanting to remind me that he is in control and will provide? When is he calling me to step up and participate in the story, taking an active role? It’s when neither choice is wrong or right that I find this most challenging. It’s the gray area where the logical part of my mind wants to take over and the responsible part of my heart seeks to do something.
But it is in that exact same moment where if I seek the Lord for his guidance, his assurance and his wisdom before taking one step and he tells me to be still, I can dare do nothing and experience more joy, more provision, more hope, more grace and more love than if I had done everything on my own.