Judith has written an encouraging post for us to read and reflect on:
As the world around us seemed to turn upside down this month, I was challenged but also greatly comforted by the account of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. King Jehoshaphat was facing an invasion by a “vast army” (v2). Jehoshaphat was one of the good kings of Judah who “did what was right in the eyes of the LORD.” (v32). In this chapter we see: (1) Jehoshaphat's response to the crisis, (2) Jehoshaphat's prayer, (3) God’s answer, and (4) the consequences...
Initially he was alarmed but in his alarm he also made a decision to speak to God – in his anxiety, he 'resolved to enquire of the Lord.' (v3). He then encouraged the people to come together to fast and seek God. How do we respond when our hearts are fearful? Do we immediately turn to God in prayer and encourage others to do so? In our present crisis we are prevented from physically meeting, but with phones and the internet we can still encourage one another to pray, share spiritual songs and God’s Word. In these days social media can be used for good and we can thank God for it.
He approaches God as – "ruler over all kingdoms," (v6). He reminds the people that God had previously delivered them (v7), and he cries out in faith and trust, "you will hear and save us." (v.9). They acknowledge their present helplessness and dependence, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you." (v12).
Note that whole families “stood there before the Lord” (v.13). What a beautiful picture! Oh that our whole nation and even the world would cry out to God now.
"The Lord says to you : 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.'" (v15). This did not mean they could sit back and do nothing; they had to, "take up your positions; stand firm and go out to face them." (v17). Similarly for us we heed advice from the experts and take care to protect ourselves and others, while also helping others as much as possible. God told Jehoshaphat to face the enemy but assured him that He would be with him. What a promise! What reassurance!
The amazing thing was that the people were so overjoyed by God’s promises that even before they went out to engage in battle they 'fell down in worship before the LORD.' (v18). What a challenge that is to us! Are we still praising God this week for his attributes and all His promises to us? Then Jehoshaphat addressed the people and encouraged them to trust God and keep on singing, "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." (v21).
After successfully subduing their enemy they continued to worship God and give Him the glory. And the end result? The kingdom was at peace, God gave rest on every side. May we, like Jehoshaphat, cry out to God for help in this present crisis. Not just for ourselves but for those in our world who are far needier – those living in poverty and overcrowded conditions without a reliable water supply, and possibly without enough food. May we also follow Jehoshaphat’s example by encouraging others to seek God and to acknowledge our weakness and inability to overcome these difficulties without his help. May our eyes be “on HIM”
Let us thank God that we can look forward to eternal peace and rest because of Jesus who is victorious over sin and death.