Jehoshaphat's Prayer

In the second book of Chronicles we are introduced to Jehoshaphat, one of the few good kings of the Israelites. He ruled over the kingdom of Judah for 25 years and was described as a king who “walked in the first ways of his father David” (2 Chr. 17:3). He ruled in Judah at the same time Ahab and Jezebel were enforcing their reign of terror on God’s people in the northern kingdom of Israel.

In 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat is faced with a crisis. The Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites have invaded the land of Judah (2 Chr. 20:1, 10). Judah’s forces are heavily outnumbered, and it is a frightening proposition for this good king to have to face them head-on in battle. Jehoshaphat’s first reaction is to set himself and the people to seek the Lord (Vs. 3). He calls for a feast to be held throughout all Judah that they might petition God for his assistance against this great army.

As Jehoshaphat stands in the midst of those assembled and prays to God, one verse sums up the sentiments of the king. In verse 12, Jehoshaphat states, “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.” Please take a moment to consider the importance of Jehoshaphat’s statements and how we can relate it to our approach to God today.

“For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us.” Man often feels he has to fight all of the battles himself. He tries to tackle the problem without God believing that if he is strong enough, smart enough, and lucky enough, everything will work out alright. Jehoshaphat does no such thing. Instead, he goes directly to God and admits that he and his people have no strength compared to the large army coming against them. Without God, they will not obtain victory, and they know it. Sometimes mankind has to be willing to admit that, by themselves, they don’t have the strength to deal with the problems before them. It is not a sign of weakness, but an acknowledgement that man needs help from a source greater than himself.

“Neither know we what to do.” Every individual will have problems and difficulties arise in life that will leave him without a ready course of action. Instead of calling a council meeting of his advisors, Jehoshaphat goes straight to the one who has all of the answers to every problem. God has promised us that with every temptation there is a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13); he has also promised that he has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness (2 Pet. 1:3). Though we will face problems that will leave us without the knowledge of what to do next, we must have the strength and courage to do exactly what Jehoshaphat did; recognize that we do not have the answer and go to the source of all wisdom.

“But our eyes are upon thee.” Jehoshaphat knew where to go in times of trouble. His faith and confidence was, not in himself, but in God. Therefore, he knew that if he kept his focus on God, the Creator of the Universe would take care of him. We must have the same level of confidence in God in our own lives. There should never be a time in our lives where we are not focused on God: whether it be his blessings, his comfort, his assistance, or his strength.

But Jehoshaphat did not just look to God himself; he led others to do the same. Verse 13 records, “And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.” Jehoshaphat brought an entire nation before God seeking his aid. When others come to us with problems and dilemmas, how do we respond? Do we endear them to us with words proclaiming our own wisdom, or do we direct them to the one who truly has the answer for every problem mankind faces?

God delivered Judah from their enemies as he had promised he would. He was faithful to his people, and aided them in their time of need. He will do the same for us, if we will look to him as Jehoshaphat did; with courage, purpose, and faithful recognition that we need his help and cannot do it alone. Let us take a lesson from Jehoshaphat and in times of trouble make God, not the last choice, but the first.

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