I was reading in 2 Chronicles today at lunch and found something that I haven’t found before- it’s a story about king jehoshaphat- and he has a big problem-
verse 2 says: “Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea.”
that’s a big problem. what does king Jehoshaphat do in response?
I guess the bigger question is, “what do you do when you have a big problem?”
what do I do?
verse 2 says: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.”
Jehoshaphat first response was to pray about the problem. I need to develop this habit. Jehoshaphat resolved to pray about the problem- and he invited everyone else to pray about it too- because it was their problem too. I love what it says in verse 4: “The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.”
I love that! even though it must have been really scary, everyone got together and prayed and sought God and His help. this is a cool moment.
as a leader- I really appreciate jehoshaphat’s humility here. as leaders we want everyone to think that we know what to do in every situation. we want everyone to feel like we’re the best person for the job because of how smart we are.
but in this situation, Jehoshaphat doesn’t know what to do- or maybe he does.
the best thing to do is not to preach or teach or administrate or delegate, the best thing to do is to pray. even his prayer are pretty cool.
verse 5 says, “Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard and said:
“O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?”
then he gets to the requests:
verse 12 is my favorite part: “…we do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
I love that prayer! it represents so much humility and wisdom-
and I think it was the tipping point that urged God to act. what happens next is pretty amazing:
verse 13: “All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD. Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel … as he stood in the assembly. 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.”
how wild is that?! they were all just standing there, waiting for God to answer, and this message bursts out of this guy Jahaziel- wouldn’t that be amazing if that happened every time we prayed? I think I would pray a lot more! and I love his message to the people: “for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
when are motives are right, and our cause ir right, God has the freedom to step in for us like a big brother and say to us, “I’ll handle this…” and He is so much better at handling our problems than we are. there have been several situations that I can remember where I have been stressed over a problem and God just seemed to handle it for me. I didn’t need to get in an argument or confrontation, God stepped in and made it all better.
verse 17 says, “You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”
that will give you confidence- the LORD will be with you- and we can have that confidence if our cause are our motives are right.
I love what the Israelites did as they stepped into this battle:
verse 18: “Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”
they didn’t get overconfident, they just kept on praying and worshipping.
I wish I could say that I did that too in every problem that I‘ve faced-
verse 20: “Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 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, saying:
“Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever.”
God loves humility- and its amazing how people are drawn to it and want to work with humble people.
God did defeat their enemies just like He said He would. Jehoshaphat worshipped his way into this problem, and then he worshipped his way out of it-
verse 27: “Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets.”
I love it. what a model of humilty, faith and leadership-
God is love.