Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. (2 Chronicles 20:2-4, NIV)
In 1939, as World War II was breaking out all over Europe, the newly formed British Ministry of Information was tasked with creating a number of propaganda posters. Three posters were printed. The first two posters were hung all over the British Isles to boost the morale of the citizens. The third poster (KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON) had a somewhat different purpose. The plan in place for this poster was to issue it only upon the invasion of Britain by Germany. As this never happened, the poster was never officially seen by the public. Presumably, all of the pre-printed posters were to be destroyed after the war. While only a few of the original posters remain today, the slogan (with all of its variations) continues to inspire people.
Don’t let the simplicity of the ‘Keep Calm’ poster mute the impact of its message. There are three things we can use to gain perspective:
- The Crown – This singular embellishment, the crown of King George VI, was a constant reminder to the citizens of Britain of who their true leader was. No matter influence of an invading army, the kingdom remained.
- KEEP CALM – The presence of the invading enemy within the most intimate areas of our lives, marching through the streets of our neighborhoods and affecting our friends and loved ones, is no time for panic.
- CARRY ON – This is a clarion call for the survival of a people. Britain would only remain a nation so long as its citizenship remained in the hearts of its people. [For example, the modern day nation of Israel could not have been established in 1948 if there were no Israelites to become citizens of the new nation.]
Today, God’s Church must understand that it is also at war. We have to deal with bombings, gunmen, an anti-Christian culture, and murderous Islamic jihadists. It has been stated that 80-90% of all religious martyrs are Christians. However, there is an equally real battle within us. We are constantly invaded with ideas that Creator God is not enough. It is a fight waged against doubt and fear; a war against our own flesh. Unfortunately, all too often we go into survival mode and try to fight this war as lone soldiers.
Given these two battlefronts, what is the proper call to action? Look to King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. In response to a vast invading army of Moabites, Jehoshaphat declares a nationwide fast. The final line of his prayer reveals the king’s dependence on God: We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (v. 12)
God, who never forsakes His children, replied through his prophet Jahaziel:
‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s… You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’ (vv. 15, 17)
Because Jehoshaphat humbled himself before God, and he took the time to hear God’s Word, he was able to go into battle with the Lord’s provision:
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (vv. 21-22)
We are called to battle! Often, we will be called to stand stronger together and lead the charge. Therefore, we must cling to God’s Word and always be prepared to answer the command of God to lead, to encourage, and to go out. Our hearts must reflect complete dependence on our King. Through spiritual maturity and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we must KEEP CALM. And finally, we have been called to a ministry of leadership in worship, just like the Levites of old. Therefore, we must SING ON.
I love you choir, orchestra, and media team!
For Christ and His Bride,