In “Not Your Battle: pt 1” we talked about what to do in seemingly hopeless situations. We read the story about the Aramean army coming in to capture the prophet Elisha so they could get the upper hand against the Israelites. When it seemed Elisha and his servant were surrounded and outnumbered, God revealed Himself in a big way and spared their lives. They didn’t rely on their own strength to fight off the Aramean army, but instead handed the battle over to God.
When we come up against dark forces in our own lives, we don’t always turn our struggles over to God right away do we? Just like Elisha’s servant, we tend to let our fear cast a shadow over our faith. However, there is another story I want to share with you. A story of another man who was also up against a vast army. Even though he was in a similar situation, his response was much different.
Read the full text of 2 Chronicles 20:1-30. In verse 2-4 we read,
“Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea.” 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.”
We can learn a lot from King Jehoshaphat. He hears terrifying news of a large army coming to attack him and his first response is to inquire of the Lord. Is that your first response? Or more of a last resort? All the people of Judah fasted along with Jehoshaphat so they could focus their attention on seeking the Lord for help and guidance. They were so serious about seeking God that they ceased eating for a designated time so they could devote more time praying. Now that is the response of a people who are pursuing God wholeheartedly!
Next, Jehoshaphat stands in front of the assembly of people and begins crying out to God. He begins his prayer by recognizing God’s power and His rule over the world. Then, he recounts several instances throughout history where God has come through for them. Lastly, he asks God for help. In verse 12 he says “…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.” If we want to get a response from God, why not use King Jehoshaphat’s model of prayer shown here? Let’s break it down:
A response from the Lord is exactly what King Jehoshaphat received! The Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel as he stood in the crowd. He relays the message in verse 15, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” The Lord goes on to give instructions and where to go to find the location of the enemy forces. In verse 17 He says,
“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.”
Once again, they didn’t pick up their swords or their bows right away and lead a charge on the enemy. Instead, Jehoshaphat appointed men to… sing. Yes, sing. I know. Weird. I am willing to bet that singing isn’t a very popular tactic in today’s military, but this just reminds us that God’s ways aren’t always our ways. He is often unconventional. Throughout the Bible, God provides victories in ways that don’t seem to make sense to us, just so there can be no doubt that it was His doing, not our own.
There’s more to this story so keep reading to find out exactly how King Jehoshaphat and his people were delivered. Isn’t it interesting how God can work in our lives when we just let Him? He loves to provide, we just don’t like to ask. The next time I am faced with an obstacle, I am going to remember this story. It will be a good reminder to praise God at all times (maybe play some worship music!), give up control, and let God work!