A Lesson from Jehoshaphat
This week in Bible study we looked at the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. What can we learn from his “Gap Moment”?
What can we learn from Jehoshaphat about fighting fear in the midst of a battle? Jehoshaphat received word that a “vast army” was coming against them. And his first response was not to gather the troops or map out a battle plan. We all face what feel like “vast armies”. Sometimes it is an enemy from without, a difficult situation or circumstance that has come upon us. Sometimes the battle is in a relationship. Sometimes the battle is internal as we fight against those “what if” and “if only” thoughts that can assail our minds. And sometimes we are battling the sin in our heart and lives. Take a look at what happened in 2 Chronicles and note how Jehoshaphat chose to respond instead of react in the midst of this fearful situation. Be encouraged by what you learn!
1. Set to Seek (v. 3)
He set his face to seek the Lord.
set – to give, devote, dedicate, give over, stretch out
seek – to tread or frequent; to resort to; to follow, pursue, specifically to worship
Jehoshaphat’s action of “set to seek” is an attitude of resolve. His first response is not to formulate a battle plan or round-up the troops, his first action is one of resolve to seek the Lord. He dedicates himself to seek the Lord’s presence. It’s the first place he resorts to and the place he frequents. He makes a determined choice. In our own lives, this resolve does not just happen. It’s a resolve we make before the battle even begins. It’s our resolve to make it a priority to get into God’s presence and His Word on a daily basis, to build our faith and trust in who He is and what He has done as revealed in His powerful Word.
2. Seek (v. 4)
He proclaims a fast throughout all of Judah and they assemble to seek God. This word is different from the first “seek” we find in this verse. Here we are seeking and searching out the Lord in an attitude of worship and prayer. We are asking for help and guidance.
seek – to search out specifically in worship or prayer; to seek to find, secure; to seek the face; to ask.
3. Stand Still (vv.5-11, 13)
stand – to remain, endure, to take one’s stand, to be in a standing attitude, to stand still, stop moving, cease doing; to remain, abide, delay, be steadfast, endure.
- to rehearse who God is and what He has done
- to declare His praises
- to be steadfast and abide in His presence
What he rehearses about God’s character:
- “You rule” — He acknowledges the Sovereignty of God
- “Power & might in Your hand” —God is Omnipotent/All Powerful/Strength
- “None like You” — God is Holy
- “You hear” – God is Intimate
- “You save” – God is our Savior and Deliverer
- “You execute judgment” – God is the Righteous Judge
4. Surrender (vv. 12-20)
Next we see they respond by surrendering to God, not to the enemy but to the Lord. What can we learn about their attitude and response of surrender?
- They declare their reliance upon God —“We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on You.” (20:12)
- They listen to God’s Word — the Spirit of theLordcomesuponJahaziel and he brings word from the Lord. What does he tell them?
- Do not be afraid/dismayed
- The battle is not yours but God’s
- You will not need to fight
- Stand firm & hold your position
- See the salvation of the Lord
- They humble themselves. They bowed down and worshipped the Lord – fell prostrate before Him.
- They praise! —the Levites lead out in praise.
- They go —they rose early and went out to meet the enemy.
- They believe and trust God —Jehoshaphat encourages the people to trust and believe in the Lord God. (v. 20)
trust – to confirm, be faithful, established, to believe in, trust, stand firm.
5. Sing Praise (v.21)
The people sing and praise and wait on God. There is power when we praise God in the midst of our battle and fear.
6. Set Free (vv. 22-34)
- Delivered —the Lord set and ambush and routes the enemy!
- Blessed — they collect spoil for three days and assemble at Valley of Beracah.
- Rejoice — they return home rejoicing.
- Rest — God gives them rest all around.
So here are a few things we can remember as we prepare to fight fear in the midst of the messiness and battles of life — the importance of our Battle Plan and our Battle Flag…
The Battle Plan:
- Remember who God is and who you are in Him!
- Redirect your focus.
- Recognize God is in control.
- Recite praise!
The Battle Flag:
Jehovah Nissi – The Lord is My Banner
We first find God revealing Himself to his people by this name in Exodus 17:15:
Moses built an altar and called it The Lord is my Banner.
Jehovah — The Existing One or Lord. The chief meaning of Jehovah is derived from the Hebrew word “havah” meaning “to be” or “to exist.” It also suggests “to become” or specifically “to become known” — this denotes a God who reveals Himself unceasingly.
Nes (from which Nissi is derived) — a banner; a pole with an insignia attached; something lifted up to be seen far off; a standard, a signal.
(Further verses for Jehovah Nissi – Psalm 60:4, Numbers 33:12-14, Genesis 22:14, 33:20)
Moses, recognizing that the Lord was Israel’s banner under which they defeated the Amalekites, builds an altar named Jehovah-Nissi (the Lord our Banner). In battle, opposing nations would fly their own flag on a pole at each of their respective front lines. This was to give their soldiers a feeling of hope and a focal point. When we look to Jesus, He is a banner of encouragement and hope to us. He is to be our focal point. Hebrews 12:1-2 and 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 speak to this:
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. —Hebrews 12:1-2
Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. —2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (HCSB)
The words in the original language for “looking to” and “focus on” mean to turn our gaze from one thing and focus on something else. So in other words, we are to stop fixating on the problem, the fear, the battle and instead fix our eyes on Jesus!
God has given us His Word as our standard to renew our minds and realign our thinking when we are battling fear. Look to Jesus and He will give you the hope, encouragement, peace and comfort you need— in the midst of the battle!
Rejoicing in Jesus!
©2014 Susan Cady, susancady.com