How To Be Established In God
Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high. And they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established. Believe His prophets, and you shall prosper." And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: "Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever." (2 Chronicles 20: 19-21)
The man who didn't know what to do learned what to do and he "rose early in the morning" to do it. Jehoshaphat's instructions to his people contain a key to resolving our own dilemmas of life: "Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established. Believe His prophets, and you shall prosper."
How To Believe And Be Established
"If you believe God, you will be established," declared Jehoshaphat. The prophet Isaiah later articulated the converse of these words, "If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established" (Isaiah 7:9). When you are established in God, negative circumstances no longer immobilize you. You may not know what to do, but you know God has the answer. Confusion is replaced by confidence. Fear is conquered by faith.
But how do you believe and become established in faith? Here are some scriptural guidelines:
If you are going to embrace belief, then you must reject unbelief and doubt like the plague because they result from a hardened heart:
Later He appeared to the eleven as they sat at the table; and He rebuked their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they did not believe those who had seen Him after He had risen. (Mark 16:14)
An unbelieving heart will not receive God's message:
But you do not have His word abiding in you, because whom He sent, Him you do not believe. (John 5:38)
Unbelief hinders you from receiving solutions.
Doubt literally cuts you off from the blessings of God! This is graphically illustrated by the experiences of the nation of Israel. God supernaturally delivered Israel from Egypt, parted the Red Sea, and guided them through the wilderness. At Kadesh-Barnea God directed them to take possession of their promised land, but when ten of the twelve spies returned with an evil report the people's hearts were filled with unbelief:
Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief. (Hebrews 3:17-19)
Unbelief cuts you off from the supernatural life flow of God:
Now He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief... (Mark 6: 5-6)
Don't limit God's power to work in your circumstances by your own unbelief. Reject doubt and assert your confidence in God. You must believe it is God's will to establish you because, "if you will not believe, surely you shall not be established" (Isaiah 7:9).
The Psalmist David declared, "He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps" (Psalms 40:2). God sees the hurt and confusion generated by the situations for which you have no answers. God longs to lift you from the pit of these circumstances--and He will do it - but you must believe.
Belief is not optional. It is a command:
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He commanded. (1 John 3:23)
Is it hard for you to believe? Have you been in perplexing circumstances so long that you see no way out? As the New Testament man whose child was ill, begin to cry out, "Help my unbelief!"
Belief is fostered by immersing yourself in God's Word:
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)
To be established you must believe God exists and that He will respond to those who seek Him, for ... "he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him " (Hebrews 11:6).
Belief generates faith and soon you will receive an internal witness that your confidence is not misplaced:
He who believes in the Son of God has the witness in himself; he who does not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given of His Son. (1 John 5:10)
-“Don't be afraid ... only believe."
-“Believe and you will receive."
-"If you can believe, all things are possible."
"All things" includes the solution to your circumstances for which there seems to be no answer.
Obey God's Word:
It is not enough to just read and study God's Word, you must also obey it if you are to be established in God. Samuel told King Saul:
... "You have done foolishly. You have not kept the commandment of the Lord your God, which He commanded you. For now the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever." (1 Samuel 13:13)
When you take God's Word literally for what it says and let it reign over your circumstances, then its supernatural power is released to work in your life:
For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
Obedience brings blessing, but disobedience allows curses to operate in your life (Deuteronomy 11:27-28). God declares:
-"Obey my voice, and I will be your God." (Jeremiah 7:23)
-"Obey my voice ...and you will be my people." Jeremiah 11:4
-"Obey and your soul will live." (Jeremiah 26:13)
Those who observe and obey the Word are blessed:
Observe and obey all these words which 1 command you, that it may go well with you and your children after you forever, when you do what is good and right in the sight of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 12:28)
Many refuse to obey God's Word, close their ears to the truth, and live in rebellion. Others compromise the Word of God to accommodate their own fleshly desires. James cautions:
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. (James 1:22-25)
Obedience is not infeasible. God enables you to obey through His ability, not your own:
I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. (Ezekiel 36:27)
You can break the power of disobedience in your life by determining, like Jesus, that you will do God's will:
I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me. (John 5:30)
The Apostle Paul declares:
Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one's slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? (Romans 6:16)
Obedience results in righteousness and the Word declares, "In righteousness you shall be established..." (Isaiah 54:14).
Evaluate Your Life:
Consider the direction of your life and evaluate the consequences of each decision.
Proverbs encourages you to "Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established" (Proverbs 4:26).
Sometimes we end up in complex circumstances because we act before we think. We become involved in worldly entanglements and then cry out, "I don't know what to do!" Ponder your direction in life, think seriously about each decision, and let God guide your footsteps each day. Decisions determine destiny.
Be Grounded In The Faith:
Stability results from being "established in the faith," which means you are grounded in the basic doctrines of God's Word. Paul encourages us to be "...rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving" (Colossians 2:7).
Commit Your Works To God:
The Bible declares, "Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established" (Proverbs 16:3). Instead of struggling to work out your situation, commit your work to the Lord. It is God's work, His plan, His ministry. Release the stress and tension of your troubling circumstances to Him and you will find that your thoughts are established, you begin to think clearly, and the fog of confusion lifts.
Seek Wise Counsel:
The writer of Proverbs declares, "Plans are established by counsel; by wise counsel wage war " (Proverbs 20:18). Wise spiritual counsel often generates solutions to your problems and enables you to successfully wage war on the negative circumstances of life.
Exercise Godly Wisdom:
The writer of Proverbs reveals that "through wisdom a house is built, and by understanding it is established" (Proverbs 24:3).
The wisdom that establishes is not worldly wisdom, but the Godly wisdom described by James:
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. (James 3:17-18)
When you ask for wisdom without doubting, you will receive it:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord. (James l: 5-7)
You will not always hear a voice from Heaven or receive a supernatural sign concerning your problem. When these are absent and you are faced with a decision, be assured that God's wisdom is resident within you. Make a decision in faith that He is guiding you with wisdom from above.
Accept God's Grace:
Recognize that it is grace, not your own works, that establishes you spiritually:
Do not be carried about with various and strange doctrines. For it is good that the heart be established by grace, not with foods which have not profited those who have been occupied with them. (Hebrews 13:9)
You will be delivered by God's grace, not through scheming, manipulation, or carnal conflict.
Results Of An Established Life
When you emerge from the mire of your perplexing circumstances to be established in God, then your confusion will cease. You will no longer fear because you know the enemy will be conquered:
His heart is established; he will not be afraid, until he sees his desire upon his enemies. (Psalms 112:8)
Fear will be eliminated. Oppression and terror will no longer torment you: In righteousness you shall be established; you shall be far from oppression, for you shall not fear; and from terror, for it shall not come near you. (Isaiah 54:14)
Established In God
Here are the nine Biblical principles discussed that enable you to believe on the Lord and be established:
-Obey God's Word
-Evaluate your life
-Be grounded in the faith
-Commit your works to God
-Seek wise counsel
-Exercise Godly wisdom
-Accept God's grace
"Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established"--that was the first battle strategy. The second part of Jehoshaphat's admonition was "Believe his prophets and you shall prosper."
How To Prosper In All You Do
So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper." (2 Chronicles 20:20)
God's people faced a formidable enemy alliance and didn't know what to do. As they waited before the Lord for direction a prophetic word came through a young man named Jahaziel. Jehoshaphat immediately obeyed God's revelation and prepared his troops to advance.
His instructions to his people were brief but spiritually potent: "Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper."
Believing The Prophets
Prophecy is one of the spiritual gifts bestowed on believers by God through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:28). "Prophecy" is speaking under the special inspiration of God. It is the supernatural ability to receive and communicate an immediate message of God to His people through a divinely-anointed utterance.
In the Old Testament people went to prophets for guidance because the gift of Holy Spirit baptism was not yet given and the presence of God was shut up in the Holy of Holies. Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we now have access to the presence of God and the gift of the Holy Spirit, both of which provide guidance. Paul declares, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God" (Romans 8:14).
It is no longer necessary to go to a prophet to receive spiritual guidance since this is one of the functions of the Holy Spirit in the life of a Christian.
Each believer should learn how to be led by God's Spirit which is actually the "spirit of prophecy" operating in them. The New Testament gives no record of believers seeking advice from prophets after the gift of the Holy Spirit was given, but this in no way undermines the importance of the prophetic ministry. To "prophesy" means to declare openly words from God that exhort, edify, and comfort:
But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. (1 Corinthians 14:3)
The words spoken by a prophet under divine inspiration are called prophecies and if you adhere to them you will be successful.
The Holy Spirit is always in control of true prophecy and directs attention to Jesus Christ:
Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant: You know that you were Gentiles, carried away to these dumb idols, however you were led. Therefore I make known to you that no one speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed, and no one can say that Jesus is Lord except by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:1-3)
Prophecy does not replace the written Word of God. The Bible says prophecy will cease, but the Word of God abides forever (1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 Peter 1:25).
The Bible warns of false prophets (Matthew 24:11,24; Mark 13:22). A person called "the false prophet" will be prominent in events at the end of the world (Revelation 13:11-17; 16:13; 19:20; 20:10).
Because there are false prophets, God's Word provides several ways to identify them:
Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith. (Romans 12:6)
The phrase "in proportion to faith" means in right relation to the faith. The way to recognize true prophecies is by whether or not they agree with the basic doctrines of the Christian faith revealed in the Bible.
For example, false prophets do not confess the deity of Jesus Christ:
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. (1 John 4:1-3)
False prophets teach sexual immorality and permissiveness:
But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. (2 Peter 2:1-3)
False prophets deceive people with miraculous signs:
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many ...For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:11,24)
The evidence of spiritual fruit is the true test of any ministry:
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? (Matthew 7:15-16)
Spiritual fruit is observed by analyzing results of a prophet's ministry and the spiritual qualities demonstrated in his life.
Any prophet who claims to be divine is false:
Then if anyone says to you, “Look, here is the Christ!” or “There!” do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matthew 24:23-24)
The final test by which a true prophet can be identified is whether or not what he prophesies comes to pass:
But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?--when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. (Deuteronomy 18:20-22)
Because there are many false prophets, some believers totally disregard the prophetic ministry, but Jehoshaphat declared, "Believe His prophets and prosper." Success comes through believing the "sure Word of prophecy" delivered by true prophets and through the spirit of prophecy that abides within each Holy Spirit filled believer.
What It Means To Prosper
"Believe God's prophets and you will prosper," declared Jehoshaphat.
To "prosper" means to "push forward, to break out, to come mightily, to be successful," but God's definition of prosperity differs from that of the world. The world focuses on possessions or performance while God is concerned with person. Character is more important than achievement in God's analysis.
In the world, success is man-centered instead of God centered. Your achievements are evaluated in comparison to others instead of by the unchanging standard of God's Word. The effects of comparison are devastating:
-Satan compared himself to God and ushered sin into the universe.
-Jacob compared Joseph to his brothers and generated destructive sibling rivalry.
-The people of Israel compared themselves to other nations and forsook God's unique purpose for them.
-Saul heard the people comparing him to David and was jealous.
Other people's achievements are not the standard for your life. This is why Peter's question, "Lord, what about this man? " received the rebuke, "What is that to you? You follow me." (John 21:21-22).
Money, power, fame- these are all worldly standards of success, but God's Word warns, "And do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them..." (Jeremiah 45:5).
Instead, believers are to be special people whose unique purpose is to proclaim God's praises:
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1 Peter 2:9-10)
The life of a true believer is one of stewardship, not ownership, and your success is measured in terms of fulfilling God's plans and purposes for you.
It has been said that success is not what we are, but what we are compared to what we could be. Success is not measured by what we do, but by what we do compared to what we could do.
How To Be Successful
The Bible reveals basic principles that - when applied to your life - guarantees you will prosper in all you do!
Principle One: Recognize That True Success Comes From God:
So I answered them, and said to them, "The God of heaven Himself will prosper us; therefore we His servants will arise and build, but you have no heritage or right or memorial in Jerusalem." (Nehemiah 2:20)
Education and self-improvement may help you get ahead in this world, but they do not make you successful in God's eyes.
Wealth and fame do not guarantee success, for we witness daily the demise of many of our "super stars."
True success comes from "the God of heaven Himself." This means you may be unpopular and still be successful.
You may be poor in the things of this world but rich in faith. God declares over your life:
I, even I, have spoken; yes, I have called him, I have brought him, and his way will prosper. (Isaiah 48:15)
Principle Two: Repent Of Your Sins:
He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy. (Proverbs 28:13)
You think nobody knows about your secret sin, but God declares, "If you cover your sin, you will not prosper." This doesn't need a great deal of explanation, for it is quite clear: Hide your sins and you won't prosper.
Repenting of sin is not a once in a lifetime act at the time of conversion to Christ. Jesus taught repentance as part of the model prayer which is to be prayed daily and the Apostle John declared:
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:8-9)
Principle Three: Rely On God's Word:
The following passage tells how to be successful in everything you do:
Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper. (Psalms 1:1-3)
Here's the guarantee: "Whatever he does shall prosper. " Similar to guarantees in the material world, however, this is a limited warrantee. Here are the conditions:
1. Do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly: The word "ungodly" means "unsettled, aiming at no certain end, and walking by no certain rule." The successful man does not walk in their counsel. He is not present at their meetings, he does not measure himself by their principles, nor does he act according to their advice.
2. Do not stand in the path of sinners: The word for "sinners" signifies those who practice sin. The successful man shuns sinners because their way is not his way. He does not imitate sinners, associate with them, or choose them for intimate companions:
Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn away from it and pass on. (Proverbs 4:14-15)
3. Do not sit in the seat of the scornful: The "scornful" are those that "set their mouths against the heavens," aligning themselves with the accuser (Satan) who rails against God and man alike.
There are two powerful spiritual forces operational in both heaven and earth. These are the forces of the accuser (Satan) and the intercessor (Jesus Christ).
By the words of your mouth you continually align yourself with one or the other. The successful person does not "sit in the seat of the scornful" accusing the brethren and does not associate with those who sit in open judgment of others.
4. Delight in the law of God: "This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success " (Joshua 1: 8).
A successful person submits to the guidance of the Word of God. This is what fortifies him against the ungodly, sinners, and the scornful:
...by the word of Your lips, I have kept away from the paths of the destroyer.
The affection of a successful man is set on God's law, he delights in it, and it becomes a way of life for him.
5. Meditate in God's Word day and night: To meditate in God's Word is to dialogue with yourself concerning the great truths it contains, fixing your thoughts on it, applying its precepts to your life.
The successful person does this continually - day and night - and governs his conduct and activities by the standards of the Word. God told Joshua:
Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. (Joshua 1:7-8)
It is to those who meet these five conditions that God guarantees blessing and success, those who:
-Do not walk in the counsel of the ungodly.
-Do not stand in the path of sinners.
-Do not sit in the seat of the scornful.
-Delight in God's law.
-Meditate on God's Word.
When the psalmist undertakes to describe a successful person he characterizes an individual who governs his life by God's standards. The successful person is compared to a tree planted by living waters. The waters will not fail and the tree will not wither and die. Even in drought, the successful man does not fear because in due season his "tree" shall again flourish and his "fruit" will abound. Whatever he does in conformity to the prophetic revelation of the Word will prosper because God's declares:
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Principle Four: Request God's Assistance:
The Apostle John wrote these words to New Testament believers:
Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2)
We conclude from this passage that we can pray for physical and spiritual prosperity and success in every area of life - "all things."
Jehoshaphat found prayer vital in times of indecision. His request for God's assistance resulted in divine direction and victory over the enemy.
Intercession births revelation. In the Old Testament, revelation came to God's people from the outside in - through prophets, kings, and judges. From New Testament times on, revelation has come from the inside out. It was birthed internally through intercession. A classic example is the Apostle John who was interceding on the Isle of Patmos when he received one of the greatest revelations of all times.
Principle Five: Release Your Resources:
Worldly wisdom says to retain your resources: "Stock up, save, tuck it away for a rainy day." God's Word teaches the principle of giving to receive.
It encourages you to continually release your resources - your talents, gifts, time, abilities, and finances:
In the morning sow your seed, and in the evening do not withhold your hand; for you do not know which will prosper, either this or that, or whether both alike will be good. (Ecclesiastes 11:6)
When you "sow your seed" and give of your resources then you are assured success because you always receive increased returns:
Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you. (Luke 6:38)
Principle Six: Resolve That You Will Seek The Lord
If you want to prosper in all you do, resolve that you will continually seek the Lord.
Uzziah was only 16 years old when he became king of Israel and he reigned successfully for 52 years. The Bible declares that "he did what was right in the sight of the Lord ...He sought God ...and as long as he sought the Lord, God made him prosper" (2 Chronicles 26:4-5).
Six Steps To Prosperity:
If you will apply these prophetic principles of success, you will prosper:
1. Recognize that true success comes from God.
2. Repent of your sins.
3. Rely on God's Word.
4. Request God's assistance.
5. Release your resources.
6. Resolve that you will seek the Lord.
7. Jehoshaphat told God's people, "Believe the prophets and you will prosper"
You - not the enemy - will prosper.
Make this declaration and claim this promise:
"But the Lord is with me as a mighty, awesome One. Therefore my persecutors will stumble, and will not prevail. They will be greatly ashamed, for they will not prosper. Their everlasting confusion will never be forgotten." (Jeremiah 20:11)