By Julia Bruce
Usually when we think of the book of 2 Chronicles, our minds immediately go to the well-known verse found in verse 14 of Chapter 7. However, I want to take us over to chapter 20 to where King Jehoshaphat received some really bad news and God spoke through one man to give the king a message and then look at Jehoshaphat’s response. I hope from sharing this (maybe not as well-known) historical account, that it will encourage you, dear reader, to stand firm in whatever you are facing and to praise God for his faithfulness, his everlasting love and goodness and know that He is fighting for you.
So let’s go to God’s Word.
Let’s read verses 1-4.
“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites 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). 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 form the Lord; indeed they came from every town in Judah to seek him.”
Jehoshaphat was the reigning king in Judah and some men came and told him there was…not a little army….but a vast army was headed his way. This army wasn’t coming for a social visit. They were coming against him. They were seeking to destroy and conquer the kingdom – and it wasn’t far away either.
Jehoshaphat was alarmed, just as any good king would be. His people and his kingdom was in immediate danger. However, did he go into panic mode? Did he wail, cry, or bemoan the impeding danger? Did he cry out and say, “Why me, God?” He did cry out to God….but to seek God’s wisdom and guidance. He knew the lives of his people were dependent upon his leadership and so he went to God to ask Him what to do. I love how the Bible says that “Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord. In other words, Jehoshaphat decided firmly on a course of action and his course was to take the problem to God. He knew his army was not big enough to take on a vast army and without God’s intervention, his kingdom would be conquered.
However, he also led his kingdom to seek God with the problem they were facing. As king, he proclaimed a fast for his entire kingdom. We see in this some Godly leadership skills in this king. We also see how his people trusted their king and followed his leadership because not just a few followed him. The Bible says that the people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord. They all joined their king in seeking God’s help for their problem…they came from every town in Judah to seek God.
In verses 5-12 (read the verses here) we see the prayer the king prayed with his people gathered around him. With all the people assembled, the king stood in front of them and led them in prayer. He reminded God of who He is, His power, and that no one could stand against Him. He reminded God that it was He who brought them to this land they lived in and that He was the one who drove out the previous inhabitants, fulfilling His promise to Abraham. God loves to be reminded of his promises and He loves for us to pray his Word back to him!
In verse 9, the king tells God, “if calamity comes upon us, whether by the sword or judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand firm 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.” My friend, there was not a “will you save us?” in his prayer. There was not a “maybe.” It was a statement of fact. The king knew God would do what he said he would do and he was standing firm in that knowledge.
In verses 10-11, the king told God what the problem was….men, who God would not allow them to attack when God was giving them the Promised Land, was on their way to wipe them off the face of the earth. Out of obedience to God, they turned away from these people and did not attack them, but now they were coming after them. In verse 12, the king acknowledges that he and his people did not have the power to face the vast army attacking them and they did not know what to do about it…but…their eyes were upon God.
In verses 13-19, we see God’s answer and the people’s response. After the king prayed, all the people (including wives, children, and little ones) waited expectantly for an answer from God. God answered by giving a word to one man, Jahaziel, who was a Levite. If you remember, the Levites were appointed by God to be the priests in the tabernacle. Jahaziel did not sit back and say, “Was that really God speaking to me?” He didn’t worry about what all the others thought about him if he said, “Here is what God says.” No, he obediently and boldly proclaimed the word that God gave him. What was God’s word to the people? “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. (v. 15). In verses 16-17, God gives instructions for what the army of Judah was to do. They were to march against the vast army and go to an exact place. God, because he is omnipotent (all-knowing) knew exactly where the army would be the next day. They were then to take up their positions…but not to fight! They were to Stand firm! God told them to just stand and watch how He would deliver them. Then again God tells them to not be afraid or discouraged because He would be with them. We do not see the king looking at Jahaziel and say, “Say what, God?! Did you just say ‘stand firm and watch…against this vast army?” Nor did he question Jahaziel about the message that he gave. No, we find a king who humbles himself before his people and his God and bows down with his face to the ground (vs. 18) to worship God. We see the Levites who stand and praise God…with a very loud voice. They didn’t wait until the battle was won to praise God…they praised as soon as God gave them an answer.
So, to finish the story, the king and his army left early in the morning. They did not wait around asking for a second opinion or to see if God changed his mind since the previous day…no they got up first thing and headed to where God told them to go. As they set out on their way, the king addressed his people and told them to have faith in God and they would be upheld he then appointed people to sing praise to God for his holiness and splendor as they went at the head of the army. They led the army to worship and praise as they marched and they proclaimed thanks to God saying, “for His love endures forever.” It was the moment that they began praising that God went to work and set ambushes against the vast army, defeating them (the army of Judah wasn’t even there yet!) Not only were they defeated, but the three armies that had combined to make this vast army turned on each other and destroyed and annihilated each other until not one person in that vast army was left living. When the army of Judah arrived, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground and all they had to do was carry away the plunder…so much that it took them three days to collect it. They then returned home joyfully to Jerusalem and the fear of God came upon all the kingdoms surrounding them and the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace because God had given them rest on every side.
How many times do we face something beyond our capabilities or problems out of our control to do anything about them, but instead of seeking God and expecting for God to answer, we try to solve them on our own and end up with a bigger mess than what we started with? My friend, God says, “do not be afraid or discouraged.” Give your battles to God and stand firm. Wait expectantly for an answer from God and then be boldly obedient to what God says. If you do, he will fight the battle for you.
- Take your problems to God
- Listen to others that God sends to you with a message
- Be willing and obedient if you are the one that God gives a message to tell
- Resolve to inquire of God
- Bring others in and ask them to join you in prayer
- Acknowledge your own weakness and God’s greatness and power
- Remind God of what He has done in the past and of His promises flooded throughout His Word
- Know, trust, believe that God sees your situation and hears your prayers
- Wait expectantly for an answer, keeping your eyes on Him.
- Do not be afraid or discouraged…but sing, praise and worship God…even before you see results
- When God directs, take action. Do not hesitate or question His methods
- Believe that God will do what He says He will do
My friend, stand firm. There is nothing too hard for God
“Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?
Romans 8:31, 37-39
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.