InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Thursday, October 14, 2010
Read | 2 Chronicles 20:1-18
1Now 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. 2Then 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).” 3Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD.
5Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD before the new court, 6and he said, “O LORD, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. 7“Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8“They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, 9‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.’ 10“Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), 11see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. 12“O our God, will You not judge them? 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.” 13All Judah was standing before the LORD, with their infants, their wives and their children.
Jahaziel Answers the Prayer
14Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; 15and he said, “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. 16‘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. 17‘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.” 18Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. 19The Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
Enemies Destroy Themselves
20They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, 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.” 21When 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 lovingkindness is everlasting.” 22When 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. 23For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24When 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. 25When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, garments and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much.
Triumphant Return to Jerusalem
26Then on the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore they have named that place “The Valley of [a]Beracah” until today. 27Every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. 28They came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres and trumpets to the house of the LORD. 29And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides. 31Now Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 32He walked in the way of his father Asa and did not depart from it, doing right in the sight of the LORD. 33The high places, however, were not removed; the people had not yet directed their hearts to the God of their fathers. 34Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first to last, behold, they are written in the annals of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.
Alliance Displeases God
35After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel. He acted wickedly in so doing. 36So he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. 37Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat saying, “Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has destroyed your works.” So the ships were broken and could not go to Tarshish.
Someone once asked me if I had ever heard myself pray. Having never done this, I decided to record my voice as I prayed about a matter of deep concern. After listening to the recording, I thought, God, I don’t think I would answer that prayer either. It was filled with negative descriptions of how bad the situation was and how “down in the dumps” I felt.
After suddenly encountering a fearful situation, Jehoshaphat chose a different approach: he sought the Lord through God-centered prayer. Instead of coming to the Father with a “woe is me” attitude, he began by focusing on the Lord’s power and sovereignty (v. 6), His past faithfulness to Judah (vv. 7-8), and His promise to hear and deliver them (v. 9). Only after strengthening his faith through these reminders of God’s adequacy did he make his petitions (vv. 10-12).
He ended his prayer with the words “nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You” (v. 12). There is great wisdom in waiting for the Lord’s direction while keeping our focus on Him. Not only does this strengthen our faith, but it also enables us to see His answer. Eyes fixed on the impossibility of the situation rarely discern God’s guidance and intervention on our behalf.
In prayer, we choose to either magnify the Lord or our difficulty. Are you concentrating on the faithfulness of almighty God or your overpowering problem and negative feelings? Let’s keep our eyes on Him and wait with complete confidence until we see the great things He will do for us.