We’ve come to the last week of another study. We’ve learned a lot about living through adversity and we’ve seen plenty of Bible characters who give us examples. This week we begin with a new character – King Jehoshaphat. He definitely had bad news before his morning coffee! He was afraid, and his first response was to fast and pray.
After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout allJudah. 4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. 5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you— for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 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.” 2 Chron 20:1-12 (ESV)
· Stood before his people (5)
· Reminded God Who (and how powerful) He is (6)
· Reminded God of what He had done for Israel in the past (7)
· Reminded God He promises to give the land to the descendants of Abraham forever (7)
· Reminded God that His sanctuary was there, and that this sanctuary is where the people go to cry out to God – and that they expect Him to hear and deliver) (8-9)
· Told God what they were up against (10-11), and
· Told God that they didn’t know what to do, but “our eyes are on You” (12)
That’s a pretty bold prayer! When you are in trouble, is your first response fasting, prayer and going boldly to God with your needs? Or do you try to “solve” the problem yourself first?
God answered Jehoshaphat! His Spirit came upon a prophet, and the people were told:
And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, 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. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” 18 Then Jehoshaphat 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. 19 And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 2 Chron 20:15-19 (ESV)
Uh…God… didja SEE the army? You want us to WHAT?
Can you imagine God giving a commander that battle plan? What kind of faith did those commanders need to stand firm and hold their positions? God even told them how the armies would fight.
How can that apply to your life? If you fast and pray and give God a chance to speak to you, what might you hear?
Can you think of a time where you were facing seemingly insurmountable odds like Jehoshaphat and Israel faced that day? Did you pray? Did you fast? (We will study fasting later this year if you’re not sure what it’s all about). Most important, after you prayed and fasted, did you stop and wait to hear God’s “marching orders”?
God doesn’t promise that He will fight every battle by having you stand still, but He does promise to be with you in every battle. In the next few days, read this text again and really think about how you can apply the principles of fast…pray…listen to your next battle.
If there is a particular subject or chapter of the Bible that you would like to cover, please email me. I would love to see what you would like to learn after summer is over. The next study will be “Day In and Day Out with God” (how can you know you’re right with God, and how you can build your relationship with Him). o See you Wednesday.