This morning the Lord brought me back to a favorite account in the Old Testament for a fresh Word of encouragement. The account of Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, has been a long standing favorite, but I’ve not thought of its application to recent days until He brought it to mind this morning. The specific account is found in 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. I encourage you to read it in its entirety and assure you will be blessed.
“Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).” Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord…” 2 Ch 20:1-3a
Jehoshaphat was afraid. I can relate, I must admit I’ve been battling a spirit of fear as I look at the bleak prospects of our current national state and future. In the same sentence though, we find Jehoshaphat immediately turned his attention to seek the Lord. I find this convicting. While I have offered up prayers that God bring revival and heal our land, I must admit I’ve spent much more time reading the gloom and doom of new tax implications, fraud accusations and political strife and scandal in general.
“…and [Jehoshaphat] proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord. 2 Ch 20:3b
“All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives and their children.” 2 Ch 20:13
God’s people followed Jehoshaphat’s lead, fasting and seeking God together. I can see them standing there, fearful, babies in arms and children hanging on to their legs. They came together and cried out to God in one voice. Oh, how we need to do the same. The cry they lifted to God rings of what I believe ours should as well.
“For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” 2 Ch 20:12b
As I read the choices our nation has voted in favor of, the decisions our elected leaders are making and implementing, I recognize I am powerless to change it. I’ve voted, I’ve spoken truth and taken stands where appropriate, but beyond that I am powerless. My powerlessness does not equal hopelessness, though. Like the people of Judah, let us fix our eyes on God.
God answered when the people of Judah sought him.
“Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.” 2 Ch 20:15-17
The decisions being made in our nation are against God and His ways. Like Judah, we are called to stand, which many of us have done and are doing. But the encouragement comes in knowing ultimately the battle is not ours, but the Lord’s.
Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah took God at His word. Their response to His word was to immediately bow, worship and praise God. Early the next morning they left for the desert, this is my favorite part of the account:
“Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.”21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His loving kindness is everlasting.” 2 Ch 20b-21
That gives me goose bumps every time! Jehoshaphat and the people chose to put the choir in front of the army! Ahead of the army the choir is marching and singing “Give thanks to the Lord, for His loving kindness is everlasting.” Awesome, powerful, moving faith. It gets even better, though:
“When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroyingthem completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped.” 2 Ch 20:22-24
While the people were praising God, He was fighting the battle for them. Victory was theirs as they stood and praised Him.
God has already assured us the victory as well, we have victory through the blood of Christ Jesus. The battle is already won! Though circumstances in our nation may change, we stand secure knowing we are His. God has already answered our cries, before we even asked. The entire Bible stands as His Word of encouragement for us. Now after we’ve humbled ourselves before Him, seeking His face, all we have to do is stand firm. As Jehoshaphat and Judah have shown us, praising as you stand makes it even better!
“Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.” 1 Cor 15:1-2
“Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” 1 Cor 15:58
“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” 1 Cor 16:13-14
” Now it is God who makes both us and you stand firm in Christ. He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Cor 1:21-22
“Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Eph 6:13
“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:8
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” 1 Peter 5:8-9