Trust God

Philippians 4:4 has been put to music.  Perhaps you know the song:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, "Rejoice!"
Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, "Rejoice!"
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Again I say, "Rejoice!"
Rejoice!  Rejoice!  Again I say, "Rejoice!"

But this is the beginning of some instructions with promises attached to them.

Philippians 4:4-6:
Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

See the instruction?  "Careful" is old English for "anxious."  So we are to be anxious for nothing.  But God doesn't leave us there.  He not only tells us what not to do; He tells us what to do instead.

"... in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God."

Prayer is asking and supplication is also asking.  God wants us to ask Him, not everyone else, and He wants us to ask Him with thanksgiving.  And there's a promise with that.

Philippians 4:7:
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

So when you, instead of being anxious about something, ask God for help and thank Him for taking care of you, the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your heart and mind through Christ Jesus.

Notice it's the peace of God, not the peace that comes from anything in the world.  And notice it says the peace of God "shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."  Your heart and your mind shall be peaceful because the peace of God shall keep them.

Do you need to understand that peace and how it's going to keep your heart and mind - especially when you're really worried because the situation is so very dire?  No.  In fact, you can't understand it because it says the peace of God passes all understanding.  But you will be peaceful.

So God has told us what not to do, what to do instead, and what promise we'll get when we do what He told us to do.

The next verses are also instructions with a promise.

Philippians 4:8-9:
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

So we are to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report.  We're to think about things that have virtue, things that are worthy of praise.  Then it tells us to do the things that we've learned and received and heard and seen in this man of God.  And if we do that, the God of peace shall be with us.

So again we have the instruction and the promise.  But notice the promises are almost the same.

If, instead of being anxious, we ask God for what we need and thank Him for taking care of us, His peace shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

If we think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report - things that have virtue and praise - and do what we've learned and heard and received and seen in the man of God, God, who is the God of peace, shall be with us.

Now look at 1 Peter.

1 Peter 5:6-7:
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Most people try to exalt themselves - give themselves a higher position or make themselves look better.  But if you humble yourself under God's hand, I guarantee He will exalt you one day and that will be far better than you could ever exalt yourself!

But notice it says we are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.  We are not told to humble ourselves under everyone on the street, or under the doctrines and philosophies of men or the people who promote them.  And we're certainly not told to humble ourselves under those who would harm us or the unbelievers who try to tell us how to be a Christian.  ("If you were a Christian, you wouldn't do such and such.")

We are to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God.  And in humbling ourselves, we are to cast all our care on Him because He cares for us.

2 Timothy 1:7:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

God has not given us the spirit of fear (which is what worry and anxiety really are).  God has given us power and love and sound minds.  That's why we can cast all our care on Him; that's why we can be anxious for nothing; that's why we can think things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report - things that have virtue and praise; and that's why we can do what we've learned and heard and received and seen in the man of God. Then the peace of God shall keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus and the God of peace shall certainly be with us and God will exalt us in due time.

There's a passage in Jeremiah that makes this very plain:

Jeremiah 17:5:
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.

Notice it says, "Thus saith the Lord."  These are not man's words; they're God's Words.

But what does it mean to make flesh your arm?  Well, the arm God's talking about here is not the thing attached to your shoulder; it's your weapon.  When you carry a weapon, you're said to be armed.  A pistol is a side arm.  To make flesh your arm or your weapon is to trust in man to take care of you - to fight your battles for you, so to speak.

If you trust in some man, or woman, or group of men or women, or even yourself to take care of you, you've made those people your weapon and notice it says your heart has departed from the Lord because you should have been trusting Him, not them.  This is the figure of speech where three things are said, but one thing is meant.  "Trusteth in man," "maketh flesh his arm," and "heart departeth from the Lord" are all the same thing.  And notice God says this man is cursed!

Verse 6 says more about it.

Jeremiah 17:5-6:
Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord.
For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited.

Do you know what a heath is?  I didn't either, so I looked it up.

Heb. 'arar, (Jer. 17:6; 48:6), a species of juniper called by the Arabs by the same name ('arar), the Juniperus sabina or savin.  "Its gloomy, stunted appearance, with its scale-like leaves pressed close to its gnarled stem, and cropped close by the wild goats, as it clings to the rocks about Petra, gives great force to the contrast suggested by the prophet, between him that trusteth in man, naked and destitute, and the man that trusteth in the Lord, flourishing as a tree planted by the waters."  (Tristram, Natural History of the Bible)

Source:  Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary

I can see this little juniper tree, all gnarled and twisted, growing out of the side of a rocky cliff, no soil to grow in, only rock.  It gets almost no water and it's in the hottest part of the desert.  Nothing can even get to it except the goats on a tiny ledge and they eat the few little leaves it has.  And nothing else grows around it, because the verse says it's in a salt land.

Have you ever seen the Utah salt flats?  There's nothing but salt for miles and miles!  And about every hundred yards or so, there's a scrawny, little plant that's pushed its way up through the salt.

This heath is in such dire straits it can't even see when good comes!  People who trust in man, even in themselves, are just like that.

You know those people!  Things are always going wrong for them.  And they're full of fear and always complaining about everything.  They can't even see when good comes.  They wouldn't recognize a good thing if it walked right up and bit them on the nose!  If they won a million dollars, they'd worry about how they were going to pay the taxes on it!  That's the curse.  They can't even see when good comes!

But, look at the next verse.

Jeremiah 17:7-8:
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.
For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

I've seen those trees.  There's a river that flows from Mt. San Jacinto into the Palm Springs area.  They say there are seven waterfalls on that river.  I've been to the bottom two.

In August at midnight it's still 100 degrees in Palm Springs!  If you park just off Highway 111 and walk to the river, you'll see that, even though the river is there, 20 feet from the bank it's desert - dry and parched and hardly anything grows there.

But if you walk upstream, eventually you'll get to a waterfall.  The water falls and makes a pool and the spray goes up.  There are trees all around the pool, close together, with their branches covering the pool like a canopy, holding the spray in.  When you walk into that room, it's like walking into air conditioning!  It must be easily twenty degrees cooler in there!

Those trees don't even see when heat comes!  Their leaves are always green.  They don't even know what a drought is!  Yet twenty feet away it's desert!

You'll be like those trees when you trust God for everything in your life!

Psalm 37:1-2:
Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.
For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.

See that?  Don't worry about them or envy them because they're going to be cut down.

Verse 3:
Trust in the Lord, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

This is written to Israel but it's still true.  If you trust in the Lord and do good, you won't be cut down; you'll live and be fed.

Verses 4-5:
Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.
Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass.

He's going to give you the desires of your heart.  He's going to bring it to pass.  You don't have to do it!

Verse 6:
And he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday.

You can't bring forth your own righteousness, but God will bring forth both your righteousness and your judgment.  And it doesn't matter how old you are or how smart you are.  God will do it for you!

Verse 7:
Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself because of him who prospereth in his way, because of the man who bringeth wicked devices to pass.

Just rest in the Lord and don't get upset when other people seem to prosper even though they're wicked.

Verses 8-10:
Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth.
For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.

One day the wicked won't exist.  We'll look for his place and it won't exist; there won't even be a trace of him!

Verse 11:
But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Jesus Christ taught this in the sermon on the mount.

Verse 12:
The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.

Yes, evil people plot against us.  The devil is always trying to kill God's people.  But you know what?

Verse 13:
The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

And we can laugh at them, too, not only because we see that their day is coming, but because God takes care of us and protects us from them.  Their attacks are nothing compared to the power of God!  Even if they kill us, God will raise us from the dead and we will live forever!

Verse 14:
The wicked have drawn out the sword, and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as be of upright conversation.

Yes, the wicked want to cast down the poor and needy, and kill those who are of upright conduct.  But look what's going to happen to them.

Verse 15:
Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken.

They're going to get killed with their own sword and their bows are going to be broken.  So don't worry about them.  God will take care of you!

Verse 16:
A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked.


Verse 17:
For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the Lord upholdeth the righteous.

Their weapons will be broken but God will take care of you.

Verses 18-19:
The Lord knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.

The upright have an inheritance that shall be forever!  This is written to Israel but the epistles tell us we, also, have an inheritance.  So I guess we'll have to live forever to enjoy it, won't we?

Verses 20-21:
But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.
The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again: but the righteous sheweth mercy, and giveth.

The righteous can give because they know Who supplies their need.

Verses 22-24:
For such as be blessed of him shall inherit the earth; and they that be cursed of him shall be cut off.
The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way.
Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholdeth him with his hand.

The Lord always upholds us!

Verse 25:
I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

Quite true!

Verses 26-28:
He is ever merciful, and lendeth; and his seed is blessed.
Depart from evil, and do good; and dwell for evermore.
For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.

"Judgment" here is "justice."  God will not forsake His saints, which are us in this Age of Grace.

Verses 29-31:
The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.
The mouth of the righteous speaketh wisdom, and his tongue talketh of judgment [justice].
The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide.

See that?  None of our steps shall slide - not even one!

Verses 32-33:
The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him.
The Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.

God's been protecting you your whole life.  That's why you haven't seen anyone trying to kill you lately.  And God will continue to protect you!  So trust Him!

Verse 34:
Wait on the Lord, and keep his way, and he shall exalt thee to inherit the land: when the wicked are cut off, thou shalt see it.

God will exalt you.  And when the wicked are thrown into the lake of fire, you're going to see it!

Verses 35-36:
I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.

Couldn't even find him.

Verse 37:
Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.

Our end is peace.

Verses 38-40:
But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

Our salvation is from God.  He is our strength, not ourselves or anyone else!  Why does He deliver us?  Because we trust Him!  That's the key!

Now let's look at this in action.

2 Chronicles 20:1:
It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.

Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah.  So these nations are actually attacking Judah.

Verse 2:
Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.

We'll see how great a multitude this is later on.

Verse 3:
And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

When they fasted, they prayed to God.  Jehoshaphat went to God and told all the people to go to God, also.

Why didn't he "tighten security" at his airports and caravan assembly points?  Why didn't he pass a "Patriot Act" or set up temporary flight and camel restrictions?

Because he knew that nothing he could do would protect God's people from their enemies.  Remember?  Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm!  Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord!

Verse 4:
And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

See that?  The people followed Jehoshaphat's lead and went to God, also.

Verses 5-9:
And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court,
And said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.

He led them in prayer.  (Wouldn't it be great if our President would lead our nation in prayer?)  And in his prayer, he reminds God - and himself - and the people - who God is and what He's done and what He's promised.

Verse2 10-11:
And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.

He tells God the problem.  Those three nations are coming to attack them!  And in the land that God gave them to inherit!

Verse 12:
O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.

He asks for God's help.  ("... let your requests be made known unto God.")  And he knows that he can't do anything about the situation, himself.  But he's trusting God.

Verse 13:
And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.

They all stood before the Lord.  This was not something just the leaders did.  Nor even something just the men did.  All the people - old, young, wives, children - all were trusting God.  It doesn't matter how old or how young you are; you still have to trust God.

Verse 14:
Then upon Jahaziel the son Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the Lord in the midst of the congregation;

Now why him?  Because he's a Levite (the priest tribe).  And he's a descendant of Asaph, who wrote several of the psalms.  It doesn't say whether he was young or old.  It doesn't say whether he had any special position.

But he had to be someone who believed God.  You see, he's taking a real chance here.  What if the king doesn't like what God told him to say?  What if the priests disagree?

But God called him to deliver His message and Jahaziel did it with boldness, even though he was talking to the king!

Verse 15:
And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God's.

Look at that!  The battle was not theirs, but God's!  Maybe some of your battles are really God's, too.

Verse 16:
To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.

God told them exactly where to find these guys!  They couldn't have had better intelligence if they'd had a spy at the enemy's war council!

Verse 17:
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.

Wow!  Judah won't even have to fight in this battle!  That's going to be a miracle.  And it's not exactly the easiest thing in the world for them to believe, especially with so much on the line - unless they're trusting God.

Now let's see what the king does.

Verse 18:
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord.

Look at that!  Jehoshaphat believed the Word of the Lord, even though he was the king and even though it came from this nobody Levite, Jahaziel!  Wouldn't it be great if our President did that!

But notice it says, "all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord."  They all believed the revelation, too!  Wouldn't it be great if our whole nation did that?

Verses 19-20:
And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

They got up early.  They didn't want to miss what God was going to do.  And the king reminded them to trust God.  He knew that was the key.

Verse 21:
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.

Singers?  Why didn't he appoint archers?  Why didn't he appoint swordsmen?  Because God told them they wouldn't have to fight in this battle and the king and the people believed God.  So, no need for swordsmen; let's appoint singers.

Verse 22:
And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.

Now look at this.  When they began to sing, God set the ambushments.  So maybe Jehoshaphat appointed singers because God told him to.

But who ambushed those guys?  Judah?  I thought they only had singers.  What did they do, sing off key?

Wait a minute; it says the Lord set the ambushments.  So who ambushed those guys?  Angels?

Well, we can guess or we can keep reading.  What's the chances we'll get it right if we guess?

Right!  Let's keep reading!

Verse 23:
For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.

Wow!  Ammon and Moab destroyed the inhabitants of Mount Seir and then they killed each other!  Who would have guessed that would happen?

Verse 24:
And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.

This watch tower was what Ammon and Moab and Seir were going to use to see when Judah was coming.  But Judah got there and nobody was on watch because they were all dead.  And none escaped!  Judah didn't even have to chase them!

Verse 25:
And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.

This spoil is not rotting vegetables.  It's the gold and jewels and other valuable things the army brought with them.

Notice it says the spoil was more than Judah could carry away.  Now think about that.

The armies brought the riches with them.  They carried it to that place.  And armies generally travel light, especially when they have a long way to go.  So those guys, travelling light, brought in more riches than Judah could carry away.

That must have been quite an army!  Judah was really outnumbered!  If Judah had tried to stop them without God's help, they would have been wiped out easily!

When you're outnumbered, God will take care of your enemies, too!

Verse 26:
And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.

They got together and thanked God for the victory and for the riches - the spoil.

Verses 27-28:
Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again to Jerusalem with joy; for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.
And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the Lord.

Now wait a minute!  They rejoiced over their enemies?  That doesn't sound very humanitarian.  And what happened to the spoil - the riches and jewels?  Didn't they send any of it back to the countries the soldiers came from?  Didn't they rebuild the countries whose armies were wiped out?

No!  Verse 25 says they stripped off the riches and jewels "for themselves."  They didn't send any of it back and they didn't rebuild the countries!  And look what happened as a result of that.

Verses 29-30:
And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel.
So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.

So Judah prayed to God, believed the revelation, trusted God, did what God told them to do, and kept the spoils!  And the fear of God was on all the other countries!  And Judah had peace.

Maybe we'd have peace in our nation if we did that!

Maybe the fear of God will be on your unbelieving neighbors and you'll have peace when you pray to God, believe His Word, trust Him, and do what God tells you to do.  I've lived in places where the neighbors didn't want to believe God.  In fact, they were thieves and drug dealers.  But I've heard them say to each other, talking about us, "Those are God's people.  Don't mess with them!"

God will take care of you!  Just trust Him!

Psalm 25:1-2:
Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in thee: let me not be ashamed, let not mine enemies triumph over me.

Psalm 37:39-40:
But the salvation of the righteous is of the Lord: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
And the Lord shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

By Jeffrey Moore, Southern California