2 Chronicles 20
2 Chronicles 20:1-12 It happened that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. 2 Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
5 Then 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, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? 7 Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8 And they dwell in it, and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your name, saying, 9 ‘If disaster comes upon us—sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this temple and in Your presence (for Your name is in this temple), and cry out to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.’ 10 And now, here are the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir—whom You would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them and did not destroy them— 11 here they are, rewarding us by coming to throw us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit. 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.”
Judah was one of the tribes of Israel – Judah is the Israelites. Jehoshaphat is the king of Judah and he is a king who does what is right in the sight of the Lord. Judah was up against three different armies. Sometimes life is like that, where we’re fighting three different battles at once.
When faced with battle, the first thing that Jehoshaphat does is pray. This is a good lesson for us: prayer is to be our first response and not our last resort. He prays a very humble prayer, “We don’t know what to do…We can’t do it.”
Maybe you’re in a battle and you’ve been praying for help. Maybe you’re battling for someone else in prayer. Maybe you’ve been in a battle and you’ve been praying and you’re not seeing anything change yet. I want to encourage you to keep praying.
We have the ear of God – we can make requests and He hears us. He may not do it our way, right away but He does hear us and He will do it His way and in His timing.
We’ll see God answer Jehoshaphat’s prayer, picking up at verse 13:
2 Chronicles 20:13-17 Now all Judah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord. 14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15 And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17 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.”
Often God will speak through other people.
1 Thessalonians 5:20-21 Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.
How do we test it? We have to know the truth (God’s Word) in order to recognize lies. In this case God is speaking through Jahaziel: “Do not be afraid” (v. 17). We are so prone to fear but God tells us to not be afraid. Fear is like a fog – fear takes a little bit of water and turns it into a whole lot of fog. Fear always blows things out of proportion and makes them seem worse than they are but God doesn’t want us to fear.
The battle is not Judah’s but it is God’s. How good it is to know that God fights our battles as if they are His battles; He fights for us. They will not need to fight in this battle. They just have to show up, stand still, and watch God deliver them.
Exodus 14:13-14 “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.”
This is good news that God will fight for us, because God has never lost a battle. Our best winning strategy is to give our battle over to Lord and allow Him to fight for us.
2 Chronicles 20:18-24 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, WORSHIPING the Lord. 19 Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to PRAISE the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high.
20 So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.” 21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should PRAISE the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“PRAISE the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to PRAISE, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 23 For the people of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.
We praise and worship God in response to His word. Praise and worship is a biblical response to God’s word.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
There is thankfulness in our praise to God.
Ephesians 5:18-20 Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There is a biblical theme of giving thanks when we praise God for all He has done for us. Based on all that God has done for us, the people of God should be the most thankful people on the planet. Jesus took our death sentence so that we could have life. Jesus took our place on the cross so that our sin could be buried with Him the tomb, and then He raised from the dead in victory so that we could be raised from the dead with Him in victory.
We not only thank God for what He has done, but we thank Him in faith for what He is going to do.
The people of Judah are celebrating before the victory. Celebrate before the victory??
What kind of crazies would do such a thing? The people of God! We celebrate even before the victory, we give thanks even before our battles are won. Why? Because we have faith in the faithfulness of God, because we have full confidence in His promises that if He says He will do something, then it is as good as done. We claim the victory, even before the victory, by proclaiming the praises of God.
Jesus won a great victory for us on the cross but we also look forward to a future final victory when King Jesus returns.
1 Corinthians 15:54-57 When our dying bodies have been transformed into bodies that will never die, this Scripture will be fulfilled:
“Death is swallowed up in victory.
O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?”
For sin is the sting that results in death, and the law gives sin its power. But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.
So we look back at the cross and we give thanks, and we look forward to His return and we give thanks. Whatever battles you are facing right now, I want to encourage you to give the battle to God and let Him fight for you. In the meantime, give thanks for the victory that is ahead.
2 Corinthians 2:14 Thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession.
Matthew 26:26-30 As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
How would I be acting on the night before my murder? As Jesus marches into battle He is giving thanks and singing praise even before the victory.