A vast army was on the way. Define vast: “of very great extent or quantity; immense.” Synonyms include: boundless, immeasurable, colossal, mountainous, towering, astronomic. This list is not extensive. (Thank you Microsoft Search.)
Not just one enemy, but three-in-one. Joined arm in arm to wipe out the one-tribe-stong people of Judah. They were outnumbered. Astronomically. Even though King Jehoshaphat was a good king, and fortified his kingdom against attack, the situation that presented itself, at face-value, was hopeless. This was not an enemy who could be defeated by natural means.
2 Chronicles 20 has always been one of my favourite chapters in the Bible. I love how God heard the prayer of this good king. One of the few kings we find in the history of Israel and Judah, that honored God and his ways. God came through for his people in a mighty way, that day when king Jehoshaphat lead his army towards an impossible battle. One of the greatest miracles that took place on the battlefield, ever!
What struck me most about this passage, is the way that Jehoshaphat cried out to God. I am confronted and challenged as I wonder how I would respond at the news of imminent disaster. There has been times when I have cried out to God in desperation, overcome by worry and fear. But Jehoshaphat cried out from a heart of faith. Faith in who God was, and the covenant he had made with his people.
He knew the God he worshipped.
It is easy to spend your life in church and not know the God you are worshiping. This I know this firsthand. But this king had set his heart on seeking God (2 Chronicles 19:3). That is why, I believe, he was able to not freak out, but cry out in faith:
“O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!”
2 Chronicles 20:6 NLT
In his moment of crises, he didn’t cry out in fear, but in reverent worship.
He remembered the faithfulness of God.
How easy is it to forget what God has done, when you’re faced with another giant? Maybe an even bigger one that you slayed before. But is in remembering what God has done, that our faith is fanned into flame. It is when we feel overwhelmed that we need to be intentional about remembering. Jehoshaphat remembered:
“O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham?”
2 Chronicles 20:7 NLT
The same God who called you into his Kingdom, will be faithful to bring you safely where you need to go. He will never leave you or forsake you. Never. And there is no crisis you will ever have to face, without his presence. Who can touch you, when you’re under the shadow of his wing?
He cried out from a position of authority.
Another thing a crisis wants to rob us off, is our identity. Because understanding that you are not limited to the experiences of a natural world, because you were born from a supernatural one, will empower you to believe that anything truly, is possible. Jehoshaphat understood the significance of being of the chosen people of God, so he prayed from that perspective:
“Your people settled here and built this Temple for you. They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, disease, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.'”
2 Chronicles 20:8-9
You are one of God’s chosen people on this planet. You have connections that are (literally) out of this world. The Creator of Heaven and Earth himself has made a divine covenant to back you up in any crises. Whatever battle you are up against, you can call on him, with the authority that you have been given, as a child of God.
He was established in his in inheritance.
Often times we don’t stand our ground, because we don’t know the ground belongs to us. Health, wholeness, provision, deliverance, freedom; this is the ground that Jesus procured for you, with his life! You are not fighting to get hold of these things, they already belong to you. You just need to stand your ground and push the enemy out. Jehoshaphat understood that the land belonged to the people of God:
“And now we see what the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir are doing. You would not let our ancestors invade those nations when Israel left Egypt, so they went around them an did not destroy them. Now see how they reward us! For they have come to throw us out of your land, which you gave us as an inheritance.”
2 Chronicles 20:10-11
Psalm 103:1-5 is such a blessing to me. It almost reads like a contractual agreement that God made with us, listing every benefit that belongs to us, as citizens of his Kingdom. We are his people, and our inheritance is secure.
He humbled himself to hear.
There is so much pressure to have an answer when there is a crisis ahead. We need to see the statistics. We need to know exactly what we are dealing with. We need to have a strategy. And we run. We run to Google. We run to the doctor. We run to the bank manager. We run to an expert.
If I learned that a vast army was around the corner, I would run. But Jehoshaphat didn’t run, he waited. He didn’t have a plan. And he admitted this before his people. What a gutsy thing to do. Imagine a leader today, saying: “I don’t know what to do, let’s wait on God and hear what we need to do.” Ha! That would be awesome, but I think I would faint if that ever happened. We can hope.
“O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
2 Chronicles 20:12
In holy silence, the people waited to hear what the Lord was saying about their predicament. And God spoke. He gave them a strategy. He would fight their battle. They followed his instruction and God came through for them in a spectacular way. They did not have to lift a sword. They only had to carry the rewards of their victory. What a picture of what Jesus did for us.
He fought our battle, now we carry the rewards of his victory.
There is no enemy vast enough or intimidating enough, to cancel the plans God has prepared for your life. You were born into his Kingdom and you are his unique and treasured masterpiece. He is not about to part with you.
I pray that as God’s people, we will all be intentional about getting to know the amazing God we serve. Like Jehoshaphat, may we remember the ways that God has delivered, healed and restored us in the past. When we cry out to him, may it be from a position of authority and not desperation. May we be established in our inheritance and stand our ground. And may we humble ourselves to hear from Heaven, and obey the directions we receive.
If you feel overwhelmed and outnumbered today; if you have to cry out; cry like a King! For that is who you are.
Today, I hear the Father say: “Valiant One! Have I ever left your side? Or refused to rescue you? Trust me. I will never let you be overwhelmed or defeated by the enemy. Dear one, you belong to me. You are my chosen one. Created to advance my Kingdom, for such a time as this. Don’t look around you, just lock your eyes with mine. Lift up your head. Render your heart. See me do the impossible. I have got you!” ❤