In this lesson we'll look into a passage from 2 Chronicles. It was a time of the kings and the kings often had to go for battles. And when kings went into battle they needed armies to fight the battle. Depending on whose army was bigger and stronger, that army would win.
2 Chronicles 20:1-5
1 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat.
2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi).
3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the LORD, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.
5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard
Here Jehoshaphat was the king and while he was king, people from Moab, Ammon and also the Meunites acme to make war on him. Even though Jehoshaphat had an army he was alarmed because if these three peoples came together against him there was no way he was going to have the victory. In v3 it says when he was alarmed Jehoshaphat resolved to enquire of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. And so when he declared a fast, people came from all over Judah came to seek help from God - from every town in Judah.
When we hear bad news like this (war against you) what is our first response? Yes, there's fear, there's worry, there's anxiety, there's tension - we don't know what's going to happen and all this goes in our mind. And so we sit and worry, we get tense, we get sleepless nights, we sit and talk to everybody around us, we complain, we moan, we whine, we cry, we fret and fume - all that we do. What can we learn from Jehoshaphat? The Bible says he resolved to seek God, to inquire of God. We've got to resolve in our hearts that no matter what happens we will seek God, we will go to God. But we don't want to inquire of God; we don't want to find out what God is trying to teach us, or how God can intervene to help us. We are always looking for quick, easy solutions to our problems.
A lot of us, when we have problems, we want quick advice, quick solution to the problem. So we are looking for someone who can quickly solve our problems. And so what happens? We do not look at the Bible, we are not patient enough to see what God is teaching us through the scripture. 'This is the problem I'm facing, this is the situation I don't know how to handle, this what my friends in the world are teaching me, this is what my friends in the neighborhood are telling me, this is what my husband telling me, this is what my wife is telling me, this is what some people in the church are telling me but what does God want me to do? How does God want me to face this situation? So we don't take time to study out what the scriptures tell us about dealing with the situation. The Bible has an answer for every problem in our life. If we have the patience to search for the answer, God has it in this book. But we have to patiently seek his counsel in his book.
2 Timothy 3:16-17
16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,
17 so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
What is it saying? That scriptures are enough. It's all-sufficient for every man to be thoroughly equipped to do God's work. Scriptures have the answers - it's enough. But we must have the heart, the patience to go seek the Lord's counsel from his word. If we read a little before in Chronicles, we know that Jehoshaphat had similar problems before. He took counsel but because of another king he decides to follow the other king's counsel and his life was in danger because he did not follow God's counsel but another king's counsel. You know today I want to encourage the church because there is lots of teaching going on here and there.
People talk, I talk ,you talk, we talk, everybody talks and we are hearing lots of teaching from TV, from school - lots of schools of wisdom out there - lot of teaching , lot of counseling going on. We have the word of God when we decided to become disciples we decided, 'this is going to be my standard, this is the inherent word of god'. We've got to go back to the Bible, find God's will, find the truth and stick to it, hold on to it as that is what sets us free.
31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.
32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
Lot of good hearted Christians do not take the time to understand, study and put their heart in what the scripture say and listen to the scriptures. They want quick answers, they are in a hurry and the miss the way and they hurt themselves with much pain and suffering because they refuse to make the time to find God's Word in their heart.
God has made us to be spiritual beings. That is why we can try living in the world without any spiritual feeding but no matter how much material blessings we receive we are not happy. The reason primarily is that when God made us, he made us like him - spiritual beings. We need to have that understanding that we are spiritual beings, we've got to be spiritually filled. And we can be spiritually filled by God's word, God's message, and His counsel in the Scriptures. That is why Jesus says man cannot live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.
Here what happens? Jehoshaphat goes to GOD. He stands up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the temple of the Lord and he prays to God.
2 Chronicles 20:6-13
6 and said: "O LORD, God of our fathers, 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.
7 O 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?
8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying,
9 '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 O 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 upon you."
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.
Jehoshaphat praised God. You know he is reminding God and telling God how great his power is and how God is the one who brought them to this incredible promised land. And he reminds God of what he has promised them. And he says, ' if calamity comes upon us whether by sword of judgement, plague, and famine' we are going to stand in the presence of God before this temple. And he is praying with absolute faith, ' when we cry out to you, you will hear us'. He reminds God that when Israel had come out of Egypt they did not attack Moab, Mount Seir and Ammon because God told them not to attack these places.
Now what's happening? The same people that Isreal did not attack are now attacking Israel. He is reminding God that instead of being grateful they are becoming ungrateful. And he is reminding God that only God can save Israel. He is saying, 'we have no power to face this vast army. We did not know what to do'. Isn't that how we feel sometimes in our lives. We do not know what to do. We do not know how to face this vast army. We feel we have no power. That's how Jehoshaphat and his people were feeling. But he and the people trusted God.
We need to trust God. And you see that the reason why most of us fret and fume and get upset and get worried is because we do not trust God. We feel everything is up to 'me' rather than everything is up to 'Him'. So we do not surrender our problems, our fears, our worries, our struggles to God. We want to fight it on our own strength. And you know what is the incredible thing you see here? Who all came before God on that day? In verse 13 it says all the men of Judea with their wives and children and little ones stood before the Lord. You see they came as a whole family- husbands, wives, little ones they all came to worship God. You see, as Christians, we've got to have convictions about worshipping God.
That's what Jehoshaphat and the whole nation of Judah did. They came before God, gave themselves up completely in surrender to God. The husbands, the wives, the children, little ones - everyone stood before God because they knew there was no other way they could be saved from this vast army that was attacking them. You know, God came to their rescue.
2 Chronicles 20:14-17
14 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon 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, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'"
What an encouraging response from God. This is what the Lord tells you, the Bible says. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged by this vast army you are facing. Because the battle is not yours but God's. It says in v17 so you will not have to fight this battle. All you have to do is take up your positions, stand firm and watch the fun, watch the Lord deliver you. He says again O Judah and Jerusalem, do not be discouraged, do not be afraid. Go out to face them tomorrow for the Lord will be with you. God comes to our rescue when we surrender ourselves to him. In this game they did not have to do anything, God tells them they don't have to do anything - not lift up their swords or anything. They needed to just stand and watch and you'll see God delivering you from your enemies. That's the amazing God we have. We don't have to do anything - he will do everything for us.
What have we done to deserve our salvation? What good have we done to deserve the mercy of God? What good have we done to earn or enjoy the grace of Jesus Christ? What good are we doing to enter heaven? What good are we doing to prove our righteousness? The Bible says God made us righteous, God has justified us, God has redeemed us, God has paid the price for your sins, God has saved you and given you an inheritance that is for sure in heaven. It has all been done by God. God has delivered us. God has worked out our righteousness. Just through that one man named Jesus Christ.
We cannot earn our salvation, we cannot earn heaven by all the good we do. Nothing will matter to the good of God. Look into what happens next, in v18. We have an amazing God who works miracles. Jehoshaphat and all the people of Judah bowed down, fell down and worshipped God. Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, is inspiring his men and women and families in his kingdom to love God, to worship God. He's telling them they need to have faith in God because he would uphold them. He says they needed to trust, put their faith in the prophets and then they would be successful. What did the people of Judah do? All they did was sing songs and they sang praises to God as they went out obeying the instructions of Jehoshaphat.
The Bible says God himself intervened and their enemies destroyed each other without the Israelites having to fight. All they had to do is stand before God and sing and praise him. The Bible says in v23 that there was so much plunder after the enemies were defeated that it took 3 days to collect the plunder. Not only did God give them victory but he also blessed them with material goods after the war. What did they do after the war? They assembled in the valley of Beracah. You know what Beracah means? Praise. That's what they did. After the victory, they did not forget God. They went back to God, assembled together as a whole nation and praised and thanked God and called it the valley of Beracah because only by praise God gave them the victory.
What does God want us to do? Prepare ourselves on earth. We need to learn to praise God while we are on earth because heaven is full of praise. While we are on earth we need to learn to praise and honor and worship our Almighty God. When we praise and honor and worship and hold him in highest regard in our hearts and minds and souls, He will intervene and take us step by step, victory by victory and he will make us what he wants us to be and one day make you get to heaven.
Truly the battle belongs to God and not to us. We cannot fight our battles. We are weak, we fall, we can't lift things but God will come and give us the victory. That's why Jesus said ,'come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest'.