PART 1 The Story of Jehoshaphat Shows Us How (2 Chron 20)
It’s a battle but God is in control
Jehoshaphat was a Godly man. So much so that God made him king of Judah. And the nation was at peace – there were no anxiety-producing threats from surrounding nations.
But there came a time when Jehoshaphat (like each of us) strayed from God’s will. He entered into several ungodly alliances – a big deal in a time when God wanted His people to remain separate. Still, Jehoshaphat had some things going for him. For example, he got rid of Judah’s idols. But it wasn’t enough to protect his nation from a threat that raised Jehoshaphat’s anxiety level. The problem? An invasion by armies from surrounding nations – not just a multitude of soldiers, but a great multitude. 20:1, 2.
Jehoshaphat was afraid. 20:3. He was “badly shaken,” according to The Living Bible. He was anxious ¹. Not only because of the advancing troops, but also because God had warned him that His wrath would fall on Jehoshaphat because of the alliances. 19:2.
Desperate, Jehoshaphat turned to the Lord. He called people from all Judah’s cities to join him in fasting and prayer. Then he prayed a classic prayer (read 20:6-12) – powerful and passionate, but humble and God-centered. Jehoshaphat:
Appealed to God’s sovereignty: “are you not ruler over all nations?”
Reminded God that He had given the land to Abraham’s descendants. 20:7
Asked God to judge the invaders. 20:12
Admitted that we are powerless…nor do we know what to do. 20:12
And all Judah stood before the Lord … and waited … 20: 13
The spirit of the Lord then came on a prophet called Jahaziel, who said to Jehoshaphat (20: 15):
Do not fear or be dismayed …
For the battle is not yours but God’s.
Just as the prophet said, God took over. He directed Jehoshaphat to confront his enemies on the battlefield, with the musicians in front. Our all powerful God then set ambushes against the invaders, and routed them.
The battle had indeed been the Lord’s. And the people returned to Jerusalem with joy “for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.” 20: 27. Judah was at peace. 20:30.
Jehoshaphat’s anxiety was gone.
Some lessons learned (for individuals, communities, churches and nations)
Respond to anxiety by turning immediately to prayer and fasting. Invite others to join.
Trust God to save you, and tell Him that you trust Him. If you don’t know what to do, tell Him so. If you are powerless, admit it.
Follow God’s orders even if they don’t make sense (e.g. God’s direction to Jehoshaphat to confront the enemy with the musicians in front). Accept that the battle is the Lord’s.
God will do what he promises no matter how great the challenge (a great multitude of soldiers is not too many for Him)
Respond to God’s victory with great joy
When God answers prayer, peace can reign – in your life, your community and your nation.
It’s a battle but God is in control. Jehoshaphat fought the armies, we fight Satan.
After a great victory and collecting all the treasures from the city, the people didn’t forget to spend time to praise God for His blessings. So they went to the valley of Beracah to praise God and thank Him. The word Beracah means a valley of blessings. I call Beracah “the gathering place,” to praise and worship God. And that’s what every church should be when we meet on Sunday, “A gathering place, Beracah, a place to assemble to praise God.” Pastor Gee
¹ Apparently none of the Biblical translations use the word “anxious,” in the relevant chapter of 2 Chronicles, but several commentators use that term in describing Jehoshaphat’s reaction.