Jehoshaphat had a big problem. He had a vast army marching against him.
1After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (This was another name for En-gedi.)
As we read on, we know that Jehoshaphat eventually overcame his problems. How he did it is a lesson to us. When you encounter problems of your own, remember to follow his example and do the following:
Resolve in your heart to seek the Lord
3 Jehoshaphat was alarmed by this news and sought the Lord for guidance. He also gave orders that everyone throughout Judah should observe a fast. 4So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord.
When you encounter problems, the first reaction is usually to try to solve it ourselves. Only when we can’t do we seek the Lord. God becomes our last resort. The next time you encounter a problem, why not make God your first resort. This may save a lot of sweat and heartache.
Jehoshaphat sought the Lord for guidance. He wanted to know how he should proceed in the light of his problems. The next time you encounter any problems, immediately ask God what you should do about it.
Jehoshaphat also proclaimed a fast. If we are urgent about seeking the Lord, we should also fast and pray.
Acknowledge that God is in control despite your problems
6 He prayed, “O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you!
When we encounter problems, it is easy to focus on the problems and not on God who can solve any problem. Jehoshaphat did differently. He knew he had problems but he also knew he had a God who could solve any problem because He is the ruler of all the earth.
Acknowledge that the problem is beyond our control
12O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. When we think we are strong, we do not depend on God and He does not exhibit His strength to solve our problems.
2 Cor 12:9 Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me. 10 Since I know it is all for Christ’s good, I am quite content with my weaknesses and with insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Claim God’s promises
7O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? 8Your people settled here and built this Temple for you. 9They said, ‘Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, disease, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.’
God’s promises are always there but they are for us to claim. They are like cheques waiting for us to cash in. Cheques are no good unless we cash them in.
Jehoshaphat reminded God of His promises to give the land to Abraham. Therefore God should not allow the people to be driven off the land.
God promises us prosperity when we obey His word. Satan tries to undermine this by attacking us every time we are living our life right so that God’s promises seem to be not forthcoming. We should claim God’s promises. If God promised us something, we want it.
Receive the Word of the Lord
15 He said, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat! Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. 17But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out there tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”
After the people had prayed to God, they waited for Him to tell them what to do which He did. God told them how their problems would be solved.
Are you in dire straits because of your problems? Ask God to show you how to solve your problems. God could show you the way through the Bible or He could send someone to give you advice on how to deal with your problems. Always keep yourself open to suggestions.
Worship the Lord
20Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” 21After consulting the leaders of the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang:
“Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!”
22At the moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves. 23The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had finished off the army of Seir, they turned on each other.
The people worshipped the Lord and God helped them to deal with their problems. The enthronement of God is the dethronement of your problems. When you raise God up in worship, you are telling God that He is even higher than all your problems.
The people could worship God because they trusted God (v 20). If we continue in anxiety over our problems, how can we have the mood to praise God?
After committing the situation to God, are you rejoicing that God is now in control or are you still in bad moods because of your problem? Your state of mind will determine whether or not you really trusted him to act.