A few days ago Anna and I listened to a teaching on Jehoshaphat from 2 Chronicles 20. Neither Anna nor I were very familiar with this story, but since Jehoshaphat was someone in the Bible who was up against a battle he could not fight on his own, we thought we would see what we could learn from his approach. We were surprised by the “strategies” of Jehoshaphat.
In the scene of the story Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, is up against three armies at once. There is no way he and his army can defeat even one of the armies, much less three. When Jehoshaphat realizes there is no hope he turns to God and begins to remind God of who God is and what He has done. That’s an interesting strategy, reminding God of who He is and what He has done in the past:
“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. 7 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.’
Then Jehoshaphat makes this incredible statement of trust:
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) What a posture of humility and trust, “we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
After Jehoshaphat‘s prayer, a prophet speaks up and says this to Jehoshaphat and all of the people of Judah in earshot:
This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. 17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
What stands out in the story to Anna and me is that it’s not about power, it’s about position. “Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you.”
So Jehoshaphat and his people took the advise of the prophet and got into position, the position was worship:
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord.
Their next strategy seemed like madness:
And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.”
As we read further in the story we realized that God wasn’t asking Jehoshaphat and his army to get into position to fight, He was getting them into position to worship and watch God fight the battle for them. The three armies that were coming against Jehoshaphat ended up fighting each other and Jehoshaphat and his people were rescued.
As you think about Anna and are family during these hard days, consider worshiping with us. Our understanding of worship is that it is way beyond singing. Worship is anything that shifts our focus from a problem or situation to God. Gratitude seems to be the most practical “action” of worship these days. Worship with us. Echo these words of Jehoshaphat alongside us, “we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
We remain grateful for you.