by Chris Taylor
20 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites[a] came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom,[b] from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 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.”
Back when I was in school (which seems like ages ago), we would have fire and tornado drills. Do you remember those? So it works like this… an alarm will sound, which prompts us to execute the plan in place. The alarm’s purpose is to bring us to a state of alarm. Now without the plan in place, the alarm will just ensue chaos!
We have all sorts of alarms with plans attached. We have the morning alarm with the plan of getting up and getting ready (or hitting snooze five times). There’s the house alarm with the plan of alerting the authorities and checking on the property. We have the Amber Alert that calls us to immediately assist in the search for the missing child.
Notice in this chapter of 2 chronicles how the King Jehoshaphat responded when he became alarmed. The Bible says that he resolved to inquire of the Lord and called a fast. (3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.)
Not only that, but he also had a plan in place. The previous generations had already decided what to do in the state of emergency.
9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’ (emphasis added)
What a plan! He later states that the enemy coming is too strong for them, and that they don’t know what to do; however their eyes are on the Lord.
There are some important keys to victory in this passage.
- Have a plan in place- Things will happen in this life that will alarm us. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart for I have overcome the world.” We face battles that seem far too big for us. Storms of life head our way and we know they have the potential to tear things apart. Sometimes it seems like the fire is too close to home and it’s all around. Without a plan, becoming alarmed only leads to chaos. This is why we can adopt this plan from verse 9. We stand in the presence of God and we cry out to Him knowing that He hears us and will save us.
- Keep our eyes on the Lord- Like Jehoshaphat, we may realize the battle we’re facing is overwhelming and seems unbeatable. We know we can’t defeat it in our own strength, which is actually a good thing to realize. Our hope isn’t found in ourselves. It’s found in our Savior. He confesses that he doesn’t know exactly what do, BUT his eyes were on the Lord. The battle would love to have all your attention and focus. The enemy would love for you to be filled with fear and utterly defeated. Yet, there’s something amazing that takes place when we take our focus off of the problem and onto the solution! Does this mean ignoring the issue at hand? No. Does it mean pretending nothing is happening? No. But it does mean that we know the source of our help and that we trust He will provide the victory.
The response of the people brought a response from God! He pretty much said, “I GOT THIS”. The battle is not yours, it’s God’s. He told them they wouldn’t even have to fight it. WOW! He told them to still get ready and to show up to face the enemy so they could see the deliverance of the Lord.
16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”
Have you ever heard the saying “Pick and choose your battles”? If your married, I’m sure you’ve discovered this concept, and it’s a good one to know. We can definitely do this in a lot of situations. We may let little Susie wear that Cinderella dress to school because we aren’t choosing that battle. We may hold our tongue a few times a day to avoid a conflict a home that isn’t worth the fight. But when it comes to spiritual battles, the luxury of picking and choosing doesn’t seem as available. Still, there are times we fight battles we were never intended to fight. Things come our way that we would never choose and that we could never win without our great God. Yet many times we find ourselves worn out and defeated because our eyes are on the battle and we haven’t taken it to the Lord in fasting and prayer. Inner chaos becomes outer chaos when we are unprepared and try to attack in our own abilities. We’re no match on our own! But God hears the cry of his children and He is the ever-present help in the time of trouble. Yes there are battles we must fight in which He provides the power, but there are also battles He fights for us where we’re reminded that He is the Almighty Deliverer.
I was recently in a church service when a woman gave me a word that we never really want to hear. She told me I was about to be in a battle. I thought to myself, I live in a battle lady! But in my spirit I was immediately quickened to fast and to pray. Over the next several days, there was a firestorm all around me and yet it never touched me. It was as if God was putting the fires out before they ever reached my door. He was fighting for me.
Know today that God is the God of victory and that He cares for you. An attack on you is an attack on His child, which makes the battle His battle. I encourage you to make a plan. What are you going to do when the alarm sounds in your life? Practice it! Practice focusing on the Lord in the little things, and commit to fasting and prayer on a more regular basis. Remember one day there’s another “alarm” that’s gonna blast from a heavenly trumpet, and God’s got a plan for that one too!