Today’s study: 2 Chronicles 19:4, 20:1-3, 12
“(King) Jehoshaphat lived in Jerusalem and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the hill country of Ephraim and turned them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers.”
“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar, (that is, En Gedi).’ Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
….Jehoshaphat said, We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
When life throws you a surprise, what do you do?
Startling, stressful news upset King Jehoshaphat’s world. Life seemed to be going good… until he received the news that three vast enemy armies were marching toward him to annihilate his little country of Judah. Three nations against one man!
The Bible tells us that this happened just after he set up reforms to turn his people back to God. While he was traveling all over his country, leading his people back to God, trouble was brewing in Edom where the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites huddled up together, strategizing for war against him.
Many times when trouble comes, we wonder why God would allow it – especially if we believe we are living for Him. In our lives and in Jehoshaphat’s case, God could have held back the enemy, but He chose not to. Instead of taking him out of the situation, God chose to teach Jehoshaphat and the people about Himself through the experience.
Bad things do happen, even when we are closely following the Lord.
What do you do when trouble comes?
Do you get mad at God?
Sometimes when bad things happen, it makes us angry and we think, “God, I’m doing what you want….Is this the thanks I get?”
Do you panic?
Panic would definitely be a natural response in Jehoshaphat’s case and for us too. When we get news that our job is being eliminated, or our child is rebelling, or our life is being upset in some way, fear has a way of taking over.
Do you try to control the situation?
When life isn’t going according to our plan, it is easy to go into control mode. We dig in as if to say, “Just do what I say and nobody will get hurt!” We grab control and start giving orders!
Jehoshaphat knew he was in a desperate situation and yet he didn’t respond in any of these ways. Instead, he intentionally made up his mind to seek the Lord. The hopelessness of his situation drove him to the Lord in fasting and prayer. He resisted the temptation to get angry, or panic, or grab control and he prayed to the One who was in control of the situation.
He realized that prayer was his strongest weapon. He could do a lot after he prayed, but nothing worthwhile before he prayed.
Having our backs against the wall, magnifies our utter helplessness and makes us realize how desperately we need Him. Desperation is a blessing because it drives us to complete dependence on God – right where He wants us to be.
Jehoshaphat admitted his complete dependence on God as he stood before all his people and confessed, “Lord, we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on YOU.” (2 Chron. [20:12])
That should be our prayer, not only in crisis situations, but every day, in every way, at every moment of our lives. We run to Him because we need Him to help us deal with everything in our lives. Though we may try, we absolutely cannot do anything without His help.
Ephesians [6:18] says “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.” In other words, pray about everything, for everyone, all the time.
If you are tired in your soul, perhaps it is because you are trying to handle your life without running to Him. What are you doing in your own strength that you need to give to Him? Complete dependence on the Lord is the only place to find deep rest.
Tomorrow and throughout this week, let’s look at how God worked in a miraculous way in Jehoshaphat’s desperate situation and how He will fight for us too.
Truth for Today: Realize and relax in your complete dependence on God.