Leadership, Rest

Battle Weary as a Leader? Five Lessons to Promote Rest On All Sides

By Danya M. Jordan 

With navigating the worldwide pandemic, Presidential election results, racial tension, attacks on our freedoms, our world, country and each of us continue to face battles.

As we dive into the second month of our 2021 goals, revelations and resolutions, one of mine is for the Lord to grant us “rest on all sides” as we prepare for the next challenges as a leader.  Tall order? I agree. I pray that huge prayer for you as well.

Is rest on all sides even a remote possibility in the midst of so much going on and so much adversity? I see so much scriptural backing to it. Here are four examples from:

  1. Joshua 21:44
  2. 2 Samuel 7:1
  3. 1 Kings 5:4
  4. 2 Chronicles 20:30

In all four examples, it seems a battle had just been fought with enemies and won.

In the book of Joshua, after the Lord led Joshua and the Israelites into the land of Canaan, there was so much more land to possess. The disagreement had been over land. Land was then given to all twelve tribes of Israel.

“Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.” –Joshua 21:43-45.

In 2 Samuel, the Lord made a covenant with David.

“Now when the king lived in his house and the Lord had given him rest from all his surrounding enemies, the king said to Nathan the prophet, ‘See now, I dwell in a house of cedar, but the ark of God dwells ‘in a tent.’ And Nathan said to the king, ‘Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you.” –2 Samuel 7:1

Merely four chapters later, David rested perhaps TOO much and committed adultery with Bathsheba. In 2 Samuel 11, “In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle, David sent Joab, and his servants with him, and all Israel. And they ravaged the Ammonites and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem. It happened, late one afternoon, when David arose from his couch and was walking on the roof of the king’s house, that he saw from the roof a woman bathing, and the woman was very beautiful…”

David was supposed to be out in battle, “the time when kings go out to battle.” He sinned with so much idle time. Sometimes too much rest is a detriment and possibly a downfall to us. David repented, though. David was a man after God’s own heart.

When King David passed away, he had passed along instructions and wisdom to Solomon for building the temple. David had been in a battle with Saul and his enemies, and God protected him. Now Solomon has rest.

“Now Hiram king of Tyre sent his servants to Solomon when he heard that they had anointed him king in place of his father, for Hiram always loved David. And Solomon sent word to Hiram, ‘You know that David my father could not build a house for the name of the Lord his God because of the warfare with which his enemies surrounded him, until the Lord put them under the soles of his feet. But now the Lord my God has given me rest on every side. There is neither adversary nor misfortune…–1 Kings 5:4

In the last example, In the lineage of kings of Judah and Israel, many were selfish and were not God-honoring. King Jehoshaphat was a refreshing, Spirit-filled King. He reigned in Judah and strengthened himself against Israel.

During battle, King Jehoshaphat prayed one of my favorite prayers in the Bible, one I say almost daily as a breath prayer.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” –2 Chronicles 20:12

Then the Lord delivered a victory in Jerusalem.

“They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” –2 Chronicles 20:28-30

Now we have seen four different vignettes of rest on all sides, four different battles. I see at least five lessons we can learn from these examples as we pray for rest on all sides, all aspects of our life:

  1. Pray for God’s favor and protection
  2. Be teachable and not stubborn– Surrender your will
  3. Be humble, not prideful
  4. Be nimble to change plans as the Holy Spirit leads
  5. Pray for your enemies but be prepared for battle

The Lord wants us to BURN BRIGHTER as leaders, not BURN OUT.

Friend, these five steps are not easy. You are a leader. You can do it. We can do it together. 

Each takes surrender and guidance by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Rest on all sides is possible. May it be so in each of us. May it be so.

May we nestle, not wrestle with God.

Respond:

  1. Which of these five steps can you work on?
  2. What are your main takeaways as a leader to intentionally experience rest on all sides?

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