… “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” – 2Chr. 20:20 NIV
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King Jehoshahat and the people of Judah had demonstrated their faith in God by seeking only his solution to the threat that the kings of the Moabites, the Ammonites, the Meunites and their vast army posed. In a clear admission of their inability to confront this threat, they not only humbled themselves before Jehovah but also triggered him into owning their battle by reminding Him of His greatness and all His promises to their fore-fathers.
Their demands of Him that He intervenes in their situation was granted with the Almighty God telling them that all He required of them was to simply show up at the battlefront where He wanted them to remain firm in their faith and entertain no fear, even in the face of the obvious fact that they are not in possession of any solution, no matter how small, to the threat before them, more so implement such, in order to achieve victory. This message was delivered to Jehoshahat by Jahaziel, son of Zechariah, who did so under the influence of the Spirit of God – 2Chr. 20:1-17. It was now the turn of the people to demonstrate their fate by believing the message that is supposed to be from Jehovah, and as relayed to them by Jahaziel.
Either in anticipation of doubts by some or all the people or the obvious manifestation of fear and worry, that was not allayed by the contents of the message, the responsibility fell on their king to convince them sufficiently, to act on the message. The initial reaction of all the people seemed very positive, as they all fell down and worshipped the Lord, with the Levites from the Kohathites and the Korahites, standing to praise the Lord in a loud voice, but they all must have lost that faith and confidence when they came face-to-face with the reality, as they arrived the Desert of Tekoa, which was the location for the battle. The sight of the vast army and the weapons of their enemies must have given them cold feet, more so when all they were told to do was to just be at the location and possibly with no weapons to prosecute the war, making them look like standing targets for their enemies. King Jehoshaphat therefore, in reaction to this their last minute fear, and in the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional, advised them:
- To sustain their faith in Jehovah as that is the way they will be upheld – 2Chr. 20:20a.
- And to equally believe His prophets as then they will be assured of success – 2Chr. 20:20b.
After consulting with the people, and in an attempt to get their minds off the threat ahead and replace it with more positive and faith enhancing activities, he arranged for them to have praise sessions, where songs highlighting the splendour of the holiness and the enduring love of Jehovah was the focus – 2Chr. 20:21.
That was the nature of their activity at the battlefront when the Lord commenced His move just as He had said through his Prophet. In a sudden twist of events, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir who had planned on attacking Judah as Ammon and Moab attacked the men of Mount Seir, slaughtering and annihilating them, after which they helped to destroy one another. All the people of Judah had to do when they arrived the battlefront, thinking to commence battle, was to carry plunder of war, a task that took them three days to accomplish, indicating how much plunder they had at their disposal.
Though they were to later name the place the “Valley of Berachah”, which means Valley of Praise, the people became victorious because they believed in the leadership of Jehoshaphat who had led them to having and retaining their Faith in Jehovah. Their songs of Praise became relevant because it was the product of faith in Jehovah.
The Christian today will not only need to have faith in order to achieve victory over life battles, but will also need to have a leadership that commands their respect. It will simply be meaningless if the Christian belongs to a group whose leadership, he/she does not believe in. In that situation, the power that is inherent in Unity of Purpose will be unavailable.
Likewise, Christian leaders will be expected to be those who believe in the doctrine of the group as they will not be able to successfully lead the followers during difficult times, using the same doctrine that they do not believe in. There is no reason to be a leader of a group whose modus operandi, you do not believe in. Jehoshaphat had total faith in Jehovah and was able to transfer that type, and level of faith to his people, because they trusted and believed in him.
Also significant is the type of leadership that Jehoshaphat provided as he did not betray the trust of the people. He worshipped Jehovah and no other god and believed all that was said to him through His prophets. This was the foundation of their victory and the Christian today will also achieve victory over life challenges, if such advice can also be applied.
Faith that is possessed before the actual event that threatens faith happens, can be easily lost when the event begins to evolve. Being faced with the reality of a threat, the one that claims to have faith may suddenly develop cold feet, but like the first advice of Jehoshaphat, the Christian in such circumstances should do all to sustain his/her faith in Jehovah, as that remains the only option. Any other option will lead to defeat, not because Jehovah is unable to ensure victory, but because the loss of faith will limit the involvement of Jehovah.
However, the one who has faith in Jehovah must know the mind of Jehovah in that situation and this will either be relayed directly or through His messengers, called His Prophets. Faith in such situations cannot be based on assumptions, or simply what happened in similar situations in the past. There must be a knowledge of the current thoughts of Jehovah, about that situation, which must be believed and applied. Because Jehovah is not duty bound to relay His communications directly to the beneficiary only, such messages may arrive through a third party called a Prophet. Victory in that situation will then be dependent on how much such a medium is believed to be the voice of Jehovah. Absence or lack of belief in such will always be a recipe for failure in such circumstances.
The Almighty God wants to achieve victory for you in that situation but you, like the people of Judah must not be cowardly and must appear at the battlefront, stand firm, have knowledge of his current solution to that situation which will be transmitted either directly or through His prophets and above all, believe and trust Him by applying His prescribed solution. That is the only way you can always be assured of victory in any situation of life that you may find yourself. May God help us to hear and trust Him, and retain our faith in Him, in order to achieve victory in all life situations, in Jesus name. Amen.