Tension laced the faces of the terrified men urgently entering the king’s court. “O King,” their quavering voices cried,
“A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar.”1
The color drained from King Jehoshaphat’s face. Burying his face in his hands, he fell to his knees. “Leave me,” he shouted. A groan escaped his lips as he cried, “O Lord, what am I to do? They outnumber us! We shall surely be slaughtered!” Tears streamed down his face as he moaned about the trouble.
Then with several deep breaths, he gathered strength and spoke again. “O Lord, I trust in You for victory. Tell me what to do.” Immediately, a heavenly peace descended upon King Jehoshaphat and a still, small voice gave him instructions.
Rising from his knees, King Jehoshaphat proceeded to do as the Lord had instructed. He sent out a decree
proclaiming a fast throughout all Judah. So, Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord, 2 Chronicles 20:3b-4
Speaking to the assembly, Jehoshaphat said;
“Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.
We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you,”
2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV
Can you visualize this expanded scene from 2 Chronicles chapter 20?
So why write about Jehoshaphat? It’s not like any of us are kings or worried about being defeated in battle, is it?
No matter what our station in life, we can all feel defeated facing the battles of negative world events or troubles closer to home.
These battles attack our peace and joy.
CRUSHED BY DEBT!
SURROUNDED BY COVID!
RISING GAS AND FOOD PRICES!
Jehoshaphat probably felt the same way. Think about it. This king of Judah was having a very, very bad day. Talk about stress! His kingdom was outnumbered and about to be crushed!
Maybe we can learn something from Jehoshaphat.
1. FEAR HAPPENS
At times, don’t we berate ourselves because the first thing we feel is fear, not faith? But even Jehoshaphat, who loved the Lord, initially reacted in fear to his troubles.
Fear happens. But the Lord wants us to dwell on His perfect love, not fear, so He can chase it away.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. 1 John 4:18a
2. TURN TO THE LORD FOR HELP
Even in his fear, Jehoshaphat turned to the Lord recognizing He was the only one who could bring victory.
With all the stresses facing us today, we can and should do all the practical things to alleviate stress. But ultimately, the only one who can bring victory and give us peace is the Lord.
I will lift up my eyes to the hills—From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121: 1-2
3. HAVE FAITH FOR GOD’S VICTORY
I imagine Jehoshaphat was no different than us. His prayers probably started with, “Woe is me,” expressing the fear he felt. However, he didn’t let fear dominate his thoughts.
Instead, he chose faith.
Faith is not about what we feel, but what we believe. Even when we have faith for God’s victory, an ounce of fear may still exist. It’s what dominates that counts.
FAITH OR FEAR?
The one that gets the most attention will be the one that wins the battle.
Jehoshaphat and Judah, did not deny reality, but had faith for God’s victory in spite of their fears. When we are battling troubles, we can have faith for God’s victory too.
So, what happened when Jehoshaphat and Judah had faith?
The Lord answered their prayers and gave them a battle plan.
The Lord says to you, ‘Do not be afraid or troubled because of these many men.
For the battle is not yours but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:15b NIV
You will not need to fight in this battle.
Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!
’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
2 Chronicles 20:17
The next day, singers went before Judah’s army praising the Lord.
As they sang praises, an amazing thing happened.
The Lord set ambushes against their enemy. If that wasn’t enough, they started fighting against each other. None of them escaped alive! Not only did the people of Judah not lift a finger in battle, but they reaped the rewards. For 3 days they gathered all the valuables left on the battlefield. News of God’s victory spread resulting in Jehoshaphat’s peaceful reign. (2 Chronicles 20:22-25, 29-30)
Isn’t it amazing what our loving God will do when we turn to Him in faith?
The victory may not always be as we imagined, but it will be what is best.
In the midst of the battle, He promises we can have peace.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
During these hard times, let’s all choose faith over fear. Remember, the one that gets the most attention will be the one that wins the battle.
Are you afraid? What can you have faith for today?
Heavenly Father, as I write Philippians 4:6-7 and say it aloud, help me to apply it to my life. As I praise you for the victory that I don’t yet see, grow my faith and give me peace. In Jesus name, Amen.
CHOOSE FAITH OVER FEAR & SEE GOD’S VICTORY
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1- 2 Chronicles 20:2
Photo, ostrich head, Finja Petersen
Photo, ostrich in sand, Joo-Joo41
Photo, mountains, Joshua Earle