“Also in the third year of [Jehoshaphat's] reign he sent his leaders...to teach in the cities of Judah. And with them he sent Levites...[and] priests. So they taught in Judah, and had the Book of the Law of the Lord with them; they went throughout all the cities of Judah and taught the people. And the fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were around Judah, so that they did not make war against Jehoshaphat.” 2 Chronicles 17:7-10
I think it is interesting in the history of Israel that after the time of David, there was peace in the land of Judah (and of course all of Israel when Solomon was king) when the people and their king were living according to the word of the Lord and knew what the difference was between right and wrong in the eyes of the Lord. Notice how the passage above talks about the Levites and the priests having the task of teaching the people, and the effect was that the “fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdom of the lands” around them. I thought it kind of peculiar myself that the reference given for the effect of the teaching was given regarding the surrounding kingdoms and not about the people of Judah themselves.
There is something to be said here though about this peculiarity, and that is this: When the truth of the Lord fills a person, their enemies stand back and take notice to the point they do not continue in their advances to overtake them. Why is that? Well, it has a lot to do with the spiritual battles that rage behind the scenes of our lives every day. Unfortunately we tend to forget that there are forces we cannot see which tempt us and seek to pull us out of the Lord's will for our lives. But when we know truth and see evil for what it is in light of truth we are no longer tricked by the schemes of our enemy. Without truth we are left on our own to flounder and guess about what we are fighting against and what weapons we have to pull from to engage in the fight – we are untrained and unready for battle and therefore an easy target.
“Thus says the Lord...'I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you by the way you should go. Oh, that you had heeded My commandments! Then your peace would have been like a river, and your righteousness like the waves of the sea.'” Isaiah 48:17-18
Are you in a battle today? Does your mind lead you to thoughts that you do not want to think? Do you find yourself caught in a destructive pattern of living? Are you becoming exhausted from continual attacks which blind-side you and knock you off balance?
Then you need to stop being on the defensive and take offensive action. Allow yourself to be taught by the Lord in truth and arm yourself for the battles that lie ahead instead of trying to do your best with what you can scrounge up at the last minute. Make your life a training ground for righteousness so that the enemy will know you are not an easy target. Take the time to learn his tactics, to understand the purpose of your armor, and how to skillfully wield the sword of the Spirit. All this preparation happens by being willing to be taught by the Law of the Lord.
Remember, pursuing the Law of the Lord will not only make you strong when the battles do rage in your life, but your diligence will also declare to the enemy that you have the upper hand and he should beware when considering his next war plan against you. Planning and training for war are what make you strong as opposed to continual fighting which over time beat your spirit into submission. Both fronts in battle take energy and so why not commit today to put your energy on the winning side? The side which will train you in truth.