II Chronicles 20:1 It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.
3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?
7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying,
9 If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10 And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11 Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
12 O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.
13 And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
14 Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the midst of the congregation;
15 And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.
17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.
18 And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD.
19 And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
This is a longer passage of Scripture but it is more important to hear from the Lord than from man anyway. What caught my attention in this passage was verse 12 where Judah found themselves in this unique challenge and they did not know what to do. Led by their king Jehoshaphat, they declared that their eyes were upon the LORD. That is an important place for our eyes to be anyway.
As we close out another year, we need to have our eyes upon the Lord as well, both for today and for what lies ahead. We have been through some interesting times in the past, and we can rest assured that the enemy of our souls has some interesting things planned for the future. Some of the things we have experienced in the past were quite strange. They were strange but they were not things that should catch God’s children off guard. If our eyes are on the LORD, then we will wait for Him to guide us. He will do that if we are following Him.
What is important for us is to trust God explicitly and let Him lead us safely through our course on this earth. He is more than capable of doing that successfully.
Jehoshaphat was an interesting king. He had some good qualities about him. He also had some bad qualities about him. He lacked discernment. He joined hands with the enemies of God. In our text he understood the importance of leading the people in this important prayer. The Moabites, and the Ammonites and others were coming against Judah. It was a massive army that had gathered themselves together for this attack. They were intent in overthrowing the government and taking control of this land.
In verse 3 we read that Jehoshaphat feared. There will be times when we face challenges that seem quite daunting and we will be afraid. In this moment we also read that Jehoshaphat set himself to seek the LORD. That is of great importance. It is a good thing for the king, the highest earthly authority, to acknowledge his need to seek the LORD. The people needed to be reminded that he did not have all the answers. In fact he had already shown them that he had made some rather foolish choices. God had been gracious to him and now he was going to seek the LORD. In order to do that he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. There was a need for some serious seeking after the LORD here. Not only did Jehoshaphat need to seek the LORD, but the people needed to join him in this matter.
In verse 4 we see that the nation was with Jehoshaphat in this matter. They came together to seek the LORD. In verse 5 Jehoshaphat took the lead as he needed to, and he stood before the congregation in the house of the LORD. They could have had this prayer meeting anywhere. I have had professing Christians argue with me in the past and claim they do not need to be faithful in the church. They have stated they can meet the Lord just as well out in the bush or on the river fishing.
The Bible tells us that the LORD is everywhere, and His children need to be in an attitude of prayer at all times. So, the reality is that God’s people can meet with Him at any place. However, God designed the Temple and He told Solomon how to build that place. That place was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ. Everything in that place was designed to remind the people of the holiness and greatness of the coming Messiah. God gave them that place for a purpose.
In a similar way, God gave us the local church for this age. It does not need to be a fancy place. It does not need to have any gold in it. It just needs to be the place that God says is the place for His local church to be. Jesus declared: “upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). During the lockdowns we had to meet in a farm shop for a service. We had no intention of making this a permanent place. We just needed a place to regroup and to seek the LORD for the next step of the way.
God’s people need to follow God and exalt Him if they want to be a blessing to one another and to the lost.
In verses 6-12 we read the prayer of Jehoshaphat on this occasion. This was a genuine prayer from the heart of a humble man who sought His LORD on a matter of great importance to himself and the nation God had chosen him to lead. This was a challenge far greater than anything they had ever faced before. This looked like a challenge too big for them. However, Jehoshaphat knew this was not a challenge too big for God.
Jehoshaphat knew some of the important history of the nation of Israel and how God had kept them from invading the very nations that were now coming against them.
Jehoshaphat needed help, but he did not demand a response according to his will. He pleaded with God to do His will.
In verse 12 the king made a very important admission. He and the people did not know what to do in this situation. They were not about to walk out and surrender to the enemies. They understood that God had given them the land they were in. They needed Him to show them the way through this challenge. Thus he concluded his prayer with the words: “but our eyes are upon thee.”
You notice in verse 13 that we are told that all Judah stood before the LORD with their little ones and their wives and their children. What a powerful witness this was. All the people could see the need to call upon the LORD in this and all matters. Now the question was: what would the LORD do?
The important factor here is that the people and the king had made themselves ready to come before the LORD. The king had called a fast throughout the land. The nation heeded his words in this. They prepared their hearts to meet with the LORD.
This is where we need to be as well. There are many organizations out there that are suggesting that they have the answer for our current problems. Most of them have their hand out and claim that if they are going to be able to help us, they need our money. They are secular organizations. They do not exalt the true God. They have ideas but their ideas fall short of solutions. The answer for the child of God is always found in God. As we pray we need to trust God to show us His way through.
In verses 14 and on we see that God had His answer ready for them. He chose Jahaziel as the man through whom He would answer the people. Jehoshaphat had led in the prayer, but God did not give him the answer directly. He gave His answer through another man. This man was of the sons of Levi. God chose the Levites to be the priests for the nation of Israel. The Levites had their faults, but God had a plan. He chose them to be the ones to lead the nation in the spiritual matters. In God’s economy, they were of greater importance than the king. They were to know the law of God and they were to teach the king and the people His law. Thus God found a man among them upon whom He could put His Spirit and Jahaziel stood among the people and declared God’s answer.
He told the king and the people not to be afraid nor dismayed because of what they saw and heard. He reminded them that the battle was not theirs. The battle was God’s. God was well able to solve this problem and He would do it in His way. The key was for the king and the people to follow God’s way.
Who ever heard of going to battle with a choir? You go with weapons and with brave men, etc. However, God’s plan would work and the people needed to follow Him. They had pleaded with Him. Now they needed to follow Him.
The response of the people was good. They needed to worship the LORD and follow His way. The rest of the chapter tells us that God was exalted and Judah was saved. The enemies found out they were no match for the LORD. That is certainly the need of our day as well.
God does not always keep His children from suffering at the hands of evil people. However, in every situation He wants His children to exalt Him. He has His way of being glorified and as we approach another new year, let us choose to humbly cry out to Him and then humbly submit to His way as He leads us along.