“Everything was going so well, and then, all of a sudden …” This must have been what Jehoshaphat thought as he was told of the pending attack of nations stronger and fiercer than Judah, the nation he served (2 Chron. 20:1-30).
As leaders, many times we are the recipients of bad news and problems that will challenge us to rise up and believe or to cower in fear. Though fear was Jehoshaphat’s first response, it wasn’t his last (see v. 3). He called a fast for all of Judah, and then he himself went into the temple of the Lord and prayed.
His prayer gives me specific ammunition I can use when I face things that seem overwhelming.
First, Jehoshaphat saw God exalted above everything: “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?” (v. 6). When confronted with threatening issues, I must see God as He really is—mightier and more powerful than the enemy. My faith will rise when I meditate on the fact that the Lord is far above all “rule and authority, power and dominion” (Eph. 1:21, NIV).
Second, Jehoshaphat stood on God’s promises and remembered His past faithfulness: “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?” (v. 7). I must relate to God as a promise keeper. If He said it in His Word, it will come to pass. The God who delivered in the past will deliver me now, because He doesn’t change (Mal. 3:6).
Third, Jehoshaphat prayed specific prayers without mincing words (vv. 10-11). He poured out his heart and trusted God to deal with the specific problem. Our prayers need to be specific and aimed directly at the problems we face. Then, when we receive answers, we can give the glory to God.
Last, Jehoshaphat admitted the situation was too much for him to deal with on his own: “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” (v. 12). We like to think we are competent enough to deal with any issue. But just as Jehoshaphat did, we must confess our dependence on the Lord, who is well able to deal with every situation we face.
The beautiful thing is that God provided a victory strategy that was far above any plan Jehoshaphat could have devised. The supernatural plan was to face the enemy, and praise and worship the God of Israel, whose love endures forever (v. 21).
The Lord’s victory over Judah’s enemies came to pass, and Jehoshaphat and his people rejoiced greatly. We, too, can experience victory as we pray to and praise the One who is able to deliver us completely!
By: George Magdalany, senior pastor of Hawthorne Hope Chapel Foursquare Church in Hawthorne, Calif.