14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. 15 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. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’” 2 Chronicles 20:13-17 New International Version (NIV)
Have you ever been stumped by life? Have there ever been situations and circumstances that so puzzled you, baffled you, befuddled you, confused you, caused you great angst and fear, CONSUMED YOU that you did not know what in the world to do? Have you ever felt that the force that was coming against you in whatever form was so formidable that escape or victory seemed impossible?
This was the case for Judah and their king, Jehoshaphat in our text. Enemies with heavy artillery, man power and great zeal were coming to destroy them…King Jehoshaphat received word that not one, not two, but THREE armies were on their way to annihilate he and his people. To make things worse, these were nations that Judah had spared at the Lord’s direction, during a time when they could have utterly destroyed and conquered their lands. Dismayed, petrified and stumped all at once! Jehoshaphat, however, moved with wisdom in facing this dilemma…
In verses 10-12, the King spoke these words in prayer to the Lord…
10 “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.11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 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 on you.” (II Chronicles 20: 10-12, NIV)There are several lessons we can glean from the king’s response:
(1) Tell the Lord specifically about the problem, confess your dependence on the Lord and remain focused upon the Lord for the answer…Jehoshaphat was completely out done that nations to whom he had been merciful were now seeking to destroy him. They “ganged up” on him, so to speak! Possibly you can relate to this king…you’ve shown grace, mercy and peace, but in return you’ve received hostility and concerted efforts to bring you down. Like Jehoshaphat, boldly tell the Lord…be specific. Although God already knows, expressing your hurt, disappointment and fear to the Lord can help to relieve your levels of anxiety. Speaking your dependence upon the Lord reminds you that you are relying upon God and not human devices to bring you out. Remaining focused upon the Lord and not your enemies, not your fears, not your circumstances will give you the strength to continue to move forward and not lose heart
(2) Get serious about seeking God’s answer… Read chapter 20 in its entirety. Throughout, you will discover Jehoshaphat’s responses to this major threat. In addition to personally going to the Lord, he gathered the people together and called for specific, strategic prayer and fasting. When you truly become desperate for God’s answer, you will turn down your plate in exchange for God’s face! Go before the Lord will ALL of your heart. Call others together to pray with you, fast with you, cry out to God with you. Place your ear to the mouth of God through determined, focused, specific prayer. God will answer and lead you in the right direction.
(3) By Faith, begin to worship, praise and thank the Lord for victory… God spoke to Jehoshaphat through the prophets and told him that the battle belonged to the Lord. Jehoshaphat received that message, believed that God would indeed fight his battles, shared that message with the people and instructed them to have faith, and to begin to worship, praise and thank God. They praised God for His holy splendor, they thanked God for his steadfast love that endures forever. As they worshiped, as they praised, as they lifted their voices in song, as they blessed the name of the Lord and thanked God for His love that endures forever, God caused their enemies to begin to turn on one another, ultimately destroying one another (II Chronicles 20: 22-23). In the midst of our battles, God wants us to turn to Him with our whole heart, look to Him for our victory, and praise Him in advance for our deliverance, remembering that He loves us with an everlasting love.
When we are afraid, it is difficult to believe, but believe anyway. Stand on God’s Word. Stand on God’s promises. Stand on God’s love. Determine to keep your faith. Trust, listen to and obey God’s voice and God will cause you to triumph over every enemy that seeks to bring you down. God is faithful and He will do it!
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Until next Wednesday,
In Faith, Hope and Perseverance,