What do you do when you’re faced with a problem? Do you hide your head in the sand and pretend it isn’t there? Do you run out and tell everyone and ask for their advice? Do you become depressed and discouraged? Today, I’d like to look at how a king in the Old Testament, named Jehoshaphat, responded to a major threat. Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah, who, at age thirty-five, succeeded his father Asa, the first good king of Judah.
The account is found in 2 Chronicles chapter twenty. Jehoshaphat was told that a vast army of Moabites, Ammonites and some Meunites was coming against him. I’d say that’s a pretty big problem. The Scripture says that, “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 NIV). Jehoshaphat was wise. He didn’t consult his neighbours, or his friends, or his relatives. He and the children of Israel consulted the Lord.
Then he stood up and prayed and rehearsed what God had done for Israel in the past. We are emboldened in the Lord when we remember how He has delivered us in previous times. He told God what he was facing. God already knows our struggles, but it can help us clarify things in our minds when we lay them out before Him.
In verse twelve, he humbled himself. “…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.” Sometimes it’s challenging for us to admit we don’t have the answer. But the truth is, we often don’t. That’s why God’s Word tells us to, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV).
Verse thirteen says all the men of Judah with their wives, children, and little ones stood before the Lord. They waited. Sometimes this is the hardest part – to wait. We want to run ahead. We want the problem solved. We want it out of our way. But Proverbs 3:7 GNT says, “Be patient and wait for the Lord to act…” Jehoshaphat obeyed the Scriptures and his obedience was rewarded. The Spirit of the Lord came upon a man named Jahaziel and through him gave the Israelites a battle plan. God told them where the enemy would be. Then He said, “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.’” (verse 17).
Then they did something I know we often find thorny. They praised the Lord BEFORE the problem was solved. “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…” (verse 21). Verse twenty-two goes on to say, “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…” No one was spared. “When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.” (Verse 24).
Remember Paul and Silas in Philippi, chained in prison with their feet fastened to the stocks? At midnight they prayed and sang hymns to God. “Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.” (Acts 16:26 NIV). Praise brings VICTORY!
Just two more things about Jehoshaphat before I finish. Firstly, God gave Jehoshaphat and his army a GREAT victory. They spoiled their enemies.” So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.” (Verse 25).
And secondly, the kingdoms around Jehoshaphat were affected by the victory. “The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” (Verses 29-30). Your neighbours, friends, and relatives will take note when they see how God fights for you.
What to do when problems arise? Follow the example of King Jehoshaphat.
In closing, this is my prayer. “Dear Lord Jesus, the next time Satan throws obstacles and enemies in our way, help us to remember Jehoshaphat, Paul, and Silas and that You are ALWAYS faithful. In the precious Name of Jesus. Amen.”
In this Blog, I want to share with you some of the things I've learned from many years of following Jesus.