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Hi! I'm Lacey!

I am a full-time working mom from North Alabama. I love my family, my friends, and my God!

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Faith of Jehoshaphat

Our pastor preached on 2 Chronicles 20 at church on Sunday and I just really loved this story about a guy named Jehoshaphat... what a lovely name!  This is somewhat of a lengthy post but it had so much good stuff in this chapter that I just wanted to share.

20 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,[b] 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 theLord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.

Jehoshaphat was King of Judah and his people warned him that a vast army was coming to attack him.  So what did he do?  Right away, he turned to the Lord and called for the people of Judah to pray with him, to seek help from the Lord.  That tends to be what we do in a time of crisis to huh?

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.’

10 “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. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 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.”

13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.

Even though his prayer was about an actual army coming to physically attack them, it tends to sound much like some of our prayers when things come our way.  But do we really believe these words and trust them?  If calamity comes upon us, we will cry out to you, and you will hear us and save us.  Isn’t it wonderful knowing that when problems and troubles attack us, we can just cry out to the Lord and he will hear us and help us?  I like what he says in verse 12… we have not power to face them.  We, alone, do not have our own power to take on the world’s problems and handle them all ourselves.  Many days, I don’t feel like I have the power to put on makeup and fix my hair, much less fight the struggles that tend to slap me in the face.  Jehoshaphat and his people felt this powerless defeat that we often do, but they turned their eyes to Jesus for help.  And not only did they just turn to Jesus, they did it first.  Often times, I tend to try and handle it on my own and then I am reminded how weak I am and that I cannot do it all.  After I fall and fail, I turn to Jesus to please come get me out of this hole I have dug yet again.  But oh how much stress and defeat I would miss if only I turned to him first.

14 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.

15 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.16 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. 17 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.’

18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before theLord19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

When the people of Judah cried out to him, he responded and told them to not be afraid.   He pretty much told them to go on and march to the armies and stand firm and he would have their back.  I love the end of verse 15 “For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” There are soooo many battles in our life that we wouldn’t have to face if we would just hand them over to God and have the faith that will fight them for us. He gladly takes on these battles for us. He tells us to not be afraid or discourages but to go out and face them and he will be with us, no matter how small or big our battle is.   But do we have the faith to actually do that? 

20 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.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his[c] holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:

“Give thanks to the Lord,
    for his love endures forever.”

22 As they began to sing and praise, theLord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.23 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.

24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped.25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing[d]and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah[e] to this day.

27 Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.

29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.

The story goes on and tells us that as they started marching to battle, they began to sing and worship the Lord and trusted the Lord’s promise that they would be upheld and protected.  They gave thanks to the Lord and sung praises to him.  Let me make sure you got that… on their way to battle, they thanked the Lord and sang praises… on the way to battle!  What powerful faith they must have had.  Imagine heading into a war that you believe will be a slaughter fest of you and your family.   I cannot even begin to comprehend what would be going through your mind.  But instead of worrying and moping around about it, you begin to tell God thank you?  I’d like to think I had this type of faith but wow…

Anyways, when they got the battle field, their enemies had already been destroyed.  So much that it said it took 3 days to clean it up.  The “bad guys” had all killed each other before Jehoshaphat and his people even got to the battle.  God came through on his promise!  Just like he always does!

So… I know this was a pretty long passage but there are just some great verses throughout it that I couldn’t help but highlight.

  • God is with us and want to help us take on our problems.  He is powerful and mighty and when we cry out to him for help, he takes our troubles and saves us from them.  BUT, we have to remember we cannot do it all without his support!

  • Have faith that God will always be there to love us and protect us from evil if we have the faith and truly trust that he will.  Instead of worrying about everything, pray about it.  Ask God for help and thank him for his awesomeness.  Praise him for all he has done for you.

  • God will keep his promise.  When storms of life come, he will take care of us.  No matter how bad it seems, he is always there and he wants to help!