Purging…what’s essential

Helen and I have had a week of purging. It’s been great and a lot of work. It started with wanting to give each of our girls their own room. We had the extra room, aptly called our junk room. To get the rooms ready we had to start looking at everything in them. Our girls are at a transitional age. They aren’t playing with Barbies or Beanies. So it’s time to purge. …and paint.

Purging always involves what’s essential and what’s not. The task forces you to make choices.

Options are what Jehoshaphat had in 2 Chr 20 when a huge army was coming at him. Should he fight the oncoming army or surrender? Should he become overwhelmed with fear or trust? Should he organize his army and defense or curl up in the fetal position?

Here’s why Jehoshaphat is noteworthy. He proclaimed a fast and gathered the people. Then he prayed a great prayer. As he concludes his petition he says this, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (v 12 NIV)

We have no idea what to do here Lord. This army is way too big. We are not able to repel these enemies. Yet we seek you. Powerful words of submission, humility. Jehoshaphat is seeking wisdom. He doesn’t have it figured out. His eyes are entirely focused on the Lord’s response. Jehoshaphat knows what is essential. He is pushing all of the nation to wait for the Lord’s answer, for his wisdom.

That must have been high stress time for the nation of Israel. Everyone must have had a pit in their stomach. They would go to bed fearing the worst. They would wake up and for a few minutes think everything is OK, until they remembered …oh no the enemy is at the door! The panic would then return.

We too have these kinds of episodes in our lives filled with fear, angst, anxiety. The question for all of us is what will we hold on to? What is essential? Will we seek the Father’s wisdom? Will we wait? Will we stay in a posture of prayer throughout the day as we expect the Lord’s answer? What is essential? What do we need to let go of?

The beauty of this story is that the Lord does impart his wisdom. He does give us direction. For Jehoshaphat it came from a prophet attending the prayer vigil. Hear the good news given to God’s people and how I would have responded.

  • the battle is not your, but God’s ….Yeah!
  • you will not have to fight this battle …oh Yeah!
  • Do not be afraid or dismayed …ok
  • Go and face them …gulp
  • the Lord will be with you …Awesome that makes the whole difference

Life confronts all of us at times with very trying circumstances that bring with it fear and anxiety. In these situations what will we hold on to? What will we purge? What will we seek? How will we receive God’s wisdom for next steps?


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