Today’s Reading: 2 Chronicles 18 – 22
Today’s Reflection: 2 Chronicles 20:12
O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
What is this text saying?
At the beginning of 2 Chronicles chapter 20, a massive number of soldiers from the peoples of the Moabites and Ammonites are gathering to attack the kingdom of Judah. When King Jehoshaphat hears of it, he assembles the people of Judah to the temple of the Lord to pray for guidance. He ends his prayer with the words in verse 12.
Why is it important?
Jehoshaphat was one of Judah’s few righteous kings. 2 Corinthians 17:3 describes him as walking ‘in the earlier ways of his father David’. He restored teaching the Book of the Law of the Lord (2 Chronicles 17:7-9) and appointed Levites to judge matters among the people according to God’s instructions (2 Chronicles 19:8-11). But he was not perfect. He had made the mistake of entering into an alliance with the wicked king of Israel, Ahab. As a result the prophet Jehu warned Jehoshaphat that the wrath of the Lord would come against him. With the oncoming siege of the Moabites and the Ammonites—an army the people of Judah could never defeat—this prophesy appeared to be coming true. Despite the dire situation Jeshoshaphat never doubted God’s goodness towards His people. Rather than try to find his own solution to the problem his first instinct was to turn to God, and God rewarded this faith by delivering Judah from their enemies.
How can I apply this?
It would seem that impossible situations are something all followers of God face at one time or another. The example of Jehoshaphat’s faith gives us a clear approach to facing circumstances that are impossible for us to solve.
1) Recognize God: The first thing Jehoshaphat does in 2 Chronicles 20 is acknowledge who God is—God of his fathers, the ruler of all of the kingdoms and nations, the one whom none on earth can stand against (vs. 5). He put the threat in perspective. Even the most powerful armies were no match for God.
We too have to recognize who God is. He’s bigger than your illness, bigger than your heartbreak, bigger than your unemployment, or your unpaid bills. He’s Lord over the boss that’s out to get you, or the teacher you dread, or the people who have condemned you. When you recognize this you can face your situation with faith, not fear.
2) Remember God: Jehoshaphat then goes on to recount how it was God who gave the land of Canaan to the children of Israel and allowed them to build the sanctuary of the Lord (vs. 7-8). In essence Jehoshaphat was reminding the people that it was God who had established them. God builds things with purpose, and He builds them to succeed.
You have to remember what God has brought you from, to and through. He may have given you a job, brought you into a relationship, gotten you into college or university, moved you to a new home, or sent you on a mission. Wherever God has brought you know that He does not set His children up for failure. Remember that destruction is not part of God’s plan for you. Knowing this you can pray boldly. Instead of questioning whether God intends good things for you, you can have absolute confidence that His desire is for you to succeed.
Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
3) Respect God: Notice Jehoshaphat leaves the question of what should be done to the Moabites and the Ammonites to God, asking “will you not execute judgment on them?” He recognized this was not his area of responsibility, but God’s. And this understanding spread throughout the people of Judah. Moments later Jahaziel, a Levite, proclaimed to the assembly ‘the battle is not yours but God’s’ (vs. 15). The people did have responsibilities—to ‘not be afraid’, and to ‘go out against’ the enemy—but the people also understood that they would ‘not need to fight in this battle.’ Only, ‘stand firm’ and ‘see the salvation of the Lord.’
In your situations and circumstances, do you sometimes find yourself spinning in circles, trying to solve a problem yet getting nowhere? This may be because you’re trying to do something you’re not meant to do, trying to fight a battle you’re not equipped for. Respect that there are things God requires of you, and there are things He’s asking you to entrust to Him because only He can do them. Do what God asks, but respect His authority over your situation. Remember the battle is not yours; it belongs to the Lord.
4) Rely on God: Jehoshaphat ends his prayer with the remarkable statement, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Facing an impossible situation, he gathered the people to fast and pray. Then the only thing to do was wait on God for the next step. As the people of Judah obeyed God’s instructions, He defeated their enemies and gave them peace.
If you recognize who God is, remember what He has done, and respect His authority over the issues of your life, the only logical next step is to rely on Him to resolve your situation. Know that this is the hardest step as it requires you to wait on God (rather than trying to work on a ‘back-up’ solution of your own). God will likely ask you to do something while you’re waiting, possibly something completely unrelated to the problem you’ve set before Him. But the Word tells us of the blessings bestowed on those who diligently wait on the Lord:
Isaiah 40:31 – But they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.