2 Chronicles 20:1-15
Jehoshaphat was in a long line of Kings of Judah that were living out the very promises of God made to them through God’s covenant with David. Indeed God’s plan and providence through this line of kings were to bring a King like no other, One who would reign forever. One who would strongly lead and conquer the greatest of enemies and secure a people for Himself. The triumph of this promised Messiah who would come and die for the sins of His people and restore them to Himself and give them everlasting life through His resurrection life came by way of a series of trials in this progress of redemption. Here in 2 Chronicles 20, we get a picture again of this great gospel of God in the middle of the Old Testament.
The armies were gathering from Edom and threatening Jehoshaphat and God’s people and verse 3 says this brought great fear upon Jehoshaphat. While fear is a natural response when we feel threatened in reality or even if it is only imagined, it is what we do next that matters. Fear can be crippling or it can be a catalyst to do exactly what Jehoshaphat did in this situation. He turned to the Lord. As he cries out to God, the end of his prayer in verse 12 was this: “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
First, there is the humble request made to God when the circumstances are revealed. Do you turn to the Lord when your circumstances are troubling? Secondly, there is an honest assessment of the situation. Jehoshaphat agrees with the circumstances that he and all his people are powerless. Do you ever feel powerless in your circumstances? In reality, we always are! We are dependent as God’s image bearers are we not? We cannot take another breath without His Sovereign will allowing it! We cannot control our lives any more than an ant can control interstate traffic. We are dependent people! Powerlessness is the human condition. We often think that we are in control of our jobs, our children, our health, or any number of things. We are not. We are powerless, even when it feels like we are powerful. So, when you honestly assess your circumstances you find this to be true. Thirdly, there is a confession of ignorance. Often my wife will look to me for leadership in a situation and while I might act like I know what to do, I often have no clue! When we learn to be dependent upon the Lord we can learn the art of confessing our ignorance in any given situation. It is a huge leadership principle as well when leading a family, a company, a church, a nation, or really anything, one can only lead when there is education towards the next steps. Ignorance provides the opportunity to pretend or to prostrate ourselves before the Almighty. When we do not know what to do, He does! After all, this is His Story, not ours! Fourthly and finally, there is a dependent gaze. Jehoshaphat does not look anywhere for answers but to One. As a young child cries out for their father so here Jehoshaphat cries out this prayer to God and concludes his prayer in great faith. He is looking to God. When push comes to shove in life, where are you looking? Your bank statement? Your friends or family? Do you look on the internet? Or do you look to the Almighty who holds all things together by the word of His power? He holds kingdoms together and moves the hearts of kings like streams of water, He holds the world in His great hands, let alone the universe! He put you together in your mother’s womb, He brings justice and can raise the lowly and will raise the dead. He is eternal and holy, good and generous. To whom will you look in your trouble? Learn the great truth of trusting God and thereby having peace in the midst of your powerlessness, for in so doing, you glorify God but you will also find it a pathway to enjoying Him more as the fount of living water to your soul!