God has a knack for blowing me away with how awesome He is!
Ok, so a couple weeks ago, I was reading the story of Jehoshaphat, which can be found in 2 Chronicles 20.
Jerusalem was surrounded by a mass of enemies – the Moabites, Ammonites and others – and the situation was looking pretty grim. It seemed like there was no way the Israelite army could win this battle. So their king, Jehoshaphat, did the most logical thing… he stood in the house of the Lord before the entire assembly of Jerusalem and declared:
“O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations,
and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?
… If disaster comes upon us – sword, judgement, pestilence or famine – we will stand before this temple
and in Your presence… and cry out to You in our affliction and You will hear and save.” (vs. 6, 9)
Uhh, what? Even if they starve, are tortured or killed, they would still stand before their God, assured that He would save them? Why did the king say this?
“For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us;
nor do we know what to do,
but our eyes are upon You.” (vs. 12)
Ah, there it is.
King Jehoshaphat realized there was no way they could defeat the enemy on their own power. The only thing that could possibly save them in some way was their God – our God of today – who is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and never forsakes His people or His promises (Deuteronomy 31:6).
So how did they prepare for this impossible battle?
The king’s pep talk can be found in verse 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.”
Wait a minute. They won’t need to fight? How can the king be certain of this?
Ohh, just you wait. It gets better 🙂
Ok, so far we know where Jehoshaphat stood and that he was completely depending on God for this victory, but how in the world was He going to carry out this amazing rescue without losing a single Israelite?
Well, the king’s next move was to bow before the Lord and worship Him, with the Levites and others standing “to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high” (vs. 19). Then he encouraged them to “believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper” (vs. 20b)…
… and then appointed more singers to praise the Lord.
Hold on. More singing? Uhh, didn’t they have at least three massive armies outside their gates waiting to completely destroy them?
“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon,
Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated…
so when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude;
and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped” (vs. 22, 24).
Salvation happened immediately! See? Right when they BEGAN to sing – not during, not an hour or two after, but when they first started! – God swept in and ambushed the enemy.
Yikes! I can’t even begin to imagine what it must’ve been like for the armies outside the walls. Maybe they could hear the praises and singing coming from the city and were scoffing at the people inside. Maybe they were partying and drinking, celebrating their coming victory a little early. Who knows?
All we do know is that when Judah came out of the city the next day, they saw fields filled with dead bodies, possibly the embers of multiple fires still burning and ragged tents and flags blowing in the gentle breeze.
And get this: it took them 3 days to cart away the loot from all the camps.
Three days!! Talk about abundant blessings from God 🙂
“Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them,
to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies…
Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around” (vs. 27, 30).
Why do we fear? Seriously, if our God can take care of multitudes of soldiers whose end goal was to take out Judah completely, then why do we fear in today’s society? We already know where we’re going when we leave this earth and we have the assurance of God’s promises and faithfulness during our life here.
And did you catch that last part?
“God gave him rest all around”
That is the epitome of Matthew 11:28: “Come to me all you who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Don’t stress about what’s coming up in life. Praise Him first. In all things, praise! And He will give you rest 🙂
(didn’t I tell you my God is pretty awesome?)