2 Chronicles 20:1-23 NIV
 … After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites a came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.  Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar ” (that is, En Gedi).  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.  Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard  and said: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.  Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?  They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying,  'If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.'  “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them.  See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance.  Our God, will you not judge them? 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. ”  All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.  Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.  He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.  Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel.  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.' ”  Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord.  Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.  Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful. ”  After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.”  As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.  The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
In 2 Chronicles 20, God’s people are facing a terrifying and seemingly impossible situation. Their leader Jehoshaphat is told: “A vast army is coming against you…” (v. 2). Sometimes life’s like that – suddenly it can feel like all of hell has been unleashed against you. You are swamped and overwhelmed by the circumstances facing you. People keep bringing you problems but no solutions. And notice the language: “…coming against you.” Not “…coming against us.” Jehoshaphat is told this as if the whole army was coming against him alone! That’s a lonely place to be.
How does he react? Panic? Definitely a little, but this gives way to another response: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to enquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.” (v. 3)
I’m so glad it says he was ‘alarmed’. At least we know he’s human! But his next immediate response is to turn to God. He calls a fast and seeks God’s help.
If only this was always my first response. More often than not mine is less spiritual and less beneficial. Next verse: “The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.” (v. 4). As Jehoshaphat turns to God, the people turn to him, they join him in seeking the Lord. Godly leadership which puts God first encourages devotion in those around them. I am deeply thankful for Godly leaders who I have had the privilege of knowing throughout my 25 years as a Christian. While no man or woman is perfect and we all sometimes get it wrong, I know many leaders in the church and elsewhere whose genuine desire is to honour the Lord and see His will done.
Then, in front of all the people, Jehoshaphat utters this heartfelt prayer which concludes with a very powerful statement: “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.” (v. 12). I think this should become my life verse! ‘I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on you.’
Often my reaction would read:
I don’t know what to do…so I’m asking everyone else…
I don’t know what to do…so I’m complaining about how tough life is….
I don’t know what to do…so my eyes are on my problem….
I don’t know what to do…so I’m going to wing it!
Look at the message which comes back to Jehoshaphat from God:
“This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…. 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.” (vv 15 & 17)
The battle is not yours, but God’s.
Some of you reading this today need to know that God is your defender (Ps 68: 5). He fights for you (Jos 23:10). He is a warrior (Ex 15: 3). He battles on your behalf (2 Chron 32: 8). He is your shield (2 Sam 22:3). He is your deliverer (Ps 18: 2). You might feel alone, but He has you covered (Ps 91: 4). (Why not check that I’m not making these Bible references up – look them up for yourself!)
Take heart and be encouraged today – If you are a child of God, He is for you. And “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8: 31) God is fiercely loyal to His people. He is passionately protective of you. I pray today that you tangibly experience the manifest presence and supernatural peace of your awesome God.