People may wonder how God speaks to us. He often speaks to us through his Word. Over the years I have been so humbled and comforted by the “word” God had for me. Reading this passage it spoke to me once again about the importance of seeking God. God’s grace is so awesome! Even when we mess up, He will still come through for us.
In “Stain Removal” I talked about how the Israelites failed to completely eradicate their enemies from the promised land. The people who remained would cause anxiety for the Israelites for years. In this reading, we see Judah’s King Jehoshaphat facing a major problem and offering a tremendous spiritual lesson.
After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites [a] came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 2 Chronicles 20:1-2
Imagine a vast army coming towards you. I imagine the people were nearly hysterical with panic. I also imagine being the leader did not exempt Jehoshaphat from feeling a moment of panic himself. Most of us when faced with a serious situation may let our emotions stress us out. But Jehoshaphat made a decision.
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 20:3-4
In spiritual warfare, prayer should be the first step and if you need to call on help, do it! My bible study group just completed a study on “The Power of Praying Together”. Sometimes it is really easy, at least for me to isolate myself when I’m going through a situation. I have learned sharing prayer requests with a selected group is incredibly encouraging and empowering. It is also encouraging to hear how God answered prayers for others. If God did it for them, who knows how God can work it out for me.
Jehoshaphat response to inquire of the Lord set in motion a strategic battle plan. Not only did he seek the Lord in prayer, but as a leader he called his people to pray and fast. Every person was engaged in this battle to seek the Lord. Imagine how encouraging this unifed effort was for the people. Watch what happens when the entire town reflects on how God came through in the past.
Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard and said: “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will you not judge them? 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.”
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD. — 2 Chronicles 20:5-13
Have you been in a situation where all you can say is “God, I don’ know what to do?” Once we admit the situation is bigger than what our small earthly mind can comprehend we open up the path for God to move in. In our weakness, God is our strength.
He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.
Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with very loud voice. — 2 Chronicles 20:15-19
Did you notice the people started praising the Lord even before the enemy reached them? The victory was inevitable, because God promised to take care of it. Their praise and worship carried them right through the battle.
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. — 2 Chronicles 20:21-22
I have written a couple times of the last few weeks about the importance of seeking the Lord in prayer. Just as important is to spend time in praise and worship. I can’t count the number of times choosing to praise and worship God has lifted me out of the dumps. Something about praising the God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth – my situation does not seem to quite so overwhelming.