And he said, Hearken ye, all Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and thou king Jehoshaphat, Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. – 2Chr. 20:15 KJV
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Jehoshaphat was the third king of Israel after Rehoboam, son of Solomon, Abijah and Asa. He, like his fore-fathers, remained very loyal to Jehovah, even though, unlike Abijah, he equally made some errors of judgement, like Rehoboam and Asa did – 2Chr. 12:1-12; 16:1-14. In his own case, he decided to align with someone who the Lord had regarded as an enemy, simply because they were descendants of David and Solomon and was also related by marriage. That move angered the Lord who expected him to know that the only relationship that mattered was the one with Him. He would not tolerate a situation where anyone who was linked to Him, will have any friendly relationship with someone whom He had turn His back against – 2Chr. 18:1-34. Although he escaped death in the battlefront, the Almighty God sent Prophet Jehu, who was the son of Hanani, to inform him of His unhappiness with him, for committing such a huge error, and but for his good deeds which were noted by Jehovah, he would have inherited the death that was reserved for King Ahab of Israel – 2Chr. 19:1-3.
Probably with this Grace extended by Jehovah to him, because of the good deeds that were associated with him, he went further to entrench righteousness in Judah with the appointment of officials whose main schedule was to ensure that the people remained faithful to the Lord, with him in the fore-front – 2Chr. 19:4-11.
May be as a test of his faithfulness, the Moabites and Ammonites together with some Meunites decided to war against Judah. Their vast army had crossed the Jordan river from the direction of Edom, and had come as close as Hazazon Tamar, also called En-gedi, a distance less than four kilometers from Jerusalem, when the information got to Jehoshahat, and like any other, he was alarmed but despite the fear, he took the right decision to inquire of the Lord.
In a manner that demonstrated humility and unity of purpose, he arranged for the people to come together, with prayer and fasting, to seek help from the Lord – 2Chr. 20:1-4. The content of their prayer will serve as a useful template for any Christian today who desires the kind of victory that Jehoshahat and Judah got on that occasion.
- He started out by reminding Jehovah of who He is, the immense powers and authority He possesses, His exploits in the past, the Promise he made to His friend Abraham and his descendants to give them the land that they were currently residing on, and the one he made when they dedicated a building, exclusively for His worship, that He will hearken to their distress call, whenever they stand before Him in that temple pleading for His intervention – 2Chr. 20:6-9.
- In what looked like holding Jehovah responsible for the inability of their fore-fathers to destroy the Moabites, he highlighted the act of ingratitude been shown by the same people as they had chosen to repay the people of Judah with attempts to drive them out of their inheritance, wondering whether Jehovah will allow such act of ingratitude to go unpunished – 2Chr. 20:10-11.
- He admitted their powerlessness against the army that was coming against them and the complete lack of idea on how to approach the challenge that was ahead of them – 2Chr. 20:12.
The points raised by Jehoshahat and Judah must have sounded very valid to Jehovah as He promptly, moved Jahaziel who was among the congregation to deliver His response. In the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, He told them that they had nothing to be afraid of, as the battle was not theirs – 2Chr. 20:14-17. In that single communication, He revealed His decision to take up responsibility for the battle against the three attacking kings and their vast army. That is how much the prayer of Jehoshaphat and Judah was able to trigger Jehovah into battle. All He wanted of them was to be His representatives in the battle by taking their positions at the battlefront and standing firm, and they will be able to witness the deliverance that He was going to grant them.
Many Christians on several occasions have referenced this statement of Jehovah in their situation but not all of them can testify to getting the result that Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah got. This is not because Jehovah ran out of ability or ceased to exist after that intervention, but mainly because the conditions attached to the statement made in that prayer have not been fulfilled. The individual or group that desire to activate similar reaction from Jehovah in their situation, will have to meet with the standard of the state of the relationship between Jehovah and the people of Judah, some of which are highlighted as follows;
- They will need to meet up with the level of faithfulness of the people as made possible by the leadership they had in Jehoshaphat. Not only was Jehoshaphat loyal to Jehovah, he ensured that a leadership structure that will produce faithful citizens was in place – 2Chr. 19:4-11. That was the foundation he laid that made his voice and that of his people become audible before the throne of Grace. The one who intends to leverage on this statement must be able to access the throne of Grace else all such statements will have no relevance as Jehovah does not hear the voice of the unrighteous – Jn. 9:31.
- Such must have knowledge of past exploits of Jehovah and must be able to hold Him down to some of His statements and promises that are relevant to that situation. This will be possible only with regular reading and meditation on His Words – Josh. 1:8. It will be impossible to know what you have not learnt or have been taught, just as meditating in them is what will help to apply such knowledge to life of the individual or the group – Acts 8:30-31.
- No matter the level of the threat and the closeness of the danger, such must have unwavering faith in the Lord and not panic – Matt. 14:30. It was not Jehoshaphat alone that was strong in faith, as he had grown a followership that believed in his leadership and the God that he represents. A leader who does not have the confidence of the followers will never be able to achieve the united platform required to trigger such response from Jehovah.
Jehovah is the same yesterday, today and forever and He is still available to make similar interventions in the lives of people who are faithful to Him. It is not sufficient to simply reference His Promise to others in the past, to enjoy the privileges that people of old enjoyed. You will need to demonstrate their level of faith also, as that will make it possible for your voice to be heard when you call, as you will still need to call on Him when that situation occurs as a demonstration of your faith in Him, to enjoy this advantage – Matt. 7:7-12. Convince Him of your humility and make Him aware of your sincere acknowledgement of your powerlessness in that situation. It is in that state that He acts better. He loves to move when you have made it clear that you do not have any option aside from Him. Demonstrate that, in that situation and He will not disappoint you. May God grant us the Grace to walk in faith so that we can receive help in times of need in Jesus name. Amen.