Standing Still and Watching God Work is Difficult

May 15, 2017 at 11:07 AM Leave a comment

Jehoshaphat was not a perfect man or king. He made mistakes as all of us do. None of us can claim to be perfect because that state does not exist with humans before God, at least on this side of eternity. Once this life is over, all authentic Christians will have their individual sin natures removed and we will never again have any desire to sin or to move away from fellowship with God. The possibility will not even come up.

In 2 Chronicles 20, we learn a great deal about King Jehoshaphat, king over the southern kingdom of Israel, Judah. We learn how he responded to a build-up of warriors and armies that were planning to come against Judah. Note his first response was to fear as any of us would. But also note his immediate second response (v. 3).

1 It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.

2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.

3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. – 2 Chronicles 20:1-3, KJV

Verses 1 and 2 explain what was happening. Moab, Ammon, and others decided to come against Jehoshaphat for war. This was a common practice in ancient civilizations between empires or nations where leaders were always trying to expand their territories. In fact, several places in the Bible point to the spring of each year as the time when warring nations went to battle. One example is found in 2 Samuel 11:1.

In the spring of the year, the time when kings go out to battle… – ESV

You’ll recall this narrative goes onto discuss King David and the fact that he remained home, sending Joab in his place. By staying home, he wound up getting into huge trouble, first by lusting after Bathsheba, then sleeping and impregnating her, then in a paltry attempt to hide his sin, he has Bathsheba’s husband Uriah the Hittite murdered while in battle.

Why did kings and warriors choose the spring time for warring? Simply put it was due to the fact that the spring of each year provided the rains, which allowed water reserves to fill back up. The rains also caused the grass to grow. Warring armies needed to be able to feed and water their horses, so it would have been asinine to go out and fight during the summer months when there was less water and due to heat, the wild grasses were turning brown. It was not an option to carry enough water and feed for animals while going out to fight war. The same applies to the winter months. Spring time was the best for fighting and defending.

So Jehoshaphat had a problem. He was told that “a multitude” was coming against him. As any of us would, he feared, but it is important to note that he did not allow his fear to immobilize him or cause him to do something rash. Verse 3 tells us that even though he feared, he did something that all God-fearing people should do. He cast himself on the Lord (v. 3). He went even further by announcing that everyone in Judah should begin a fast to seek the Lord. Verse 4 of 2 Chronicles 20 tells us the response of the people of Judah.

And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord. – KJV

The people had enough respect for Jehoshaphat to obey his words. Everywhere, from all over Judah, people came to seek the Lord. They began fasting and focused on what the Lord’s will might be. Jehoshaphat was the example of what to do. He didn’t simply order the people to do something that he was not inclined to do. He actually began to seek the Lord first and called on the people of Judah to follow him in seeking God’s face in order to determine His will.

Verses 5 through 12 reveal Jehoshaphat’s words to the gathered people of Judah. In this way, while being the king over Judah, he also acts like a high priest who leads the people in prayer before the Living God. In his prayer, he reminds the people of just how gracious and loving God has been toward them over the years. He reminds them of the miracles God performed in chasing out God’s enemies before the people.

Verse 12 is poignant for it reveals to us Jehoshaphat’s humble heart before the Lord. It also indicates that Jehoshaphat knew and understood that without God, the people of Judah were powerless.

O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee. – KJV

The honesty in Jehoshaphat’s prayer is clear. He understands the power resident in the large armies that are coming to overthrow and decimate Judah. He admits that he doesn’t know what to do. Sure, they could go and fight, but would they win? Not without God’s ordained power and might in and through them.

Because of Jehoshaphat’s humility before Israel’s God, God sent His Spirit to speak through a young man named Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, a Levite (v. 14). His words, as prompted by God’s Spirit, were uplifting and filled with promise. In fact, Jahaziel prefaced his words with “Thus saith the Lord,” not something done lightly by any Israelite during Old Testament times. If the words he spoke eventually turned out to be wrong, he could lose his life through stoning because he would ultimately have been lying. According to the Mosaic Law, any individual who spoke prophetically but said things that ultimately did not come true, was required to be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:1-15; 18:20).

So for Jahaziel to speak in the Name of the Lord was a huge responsibility. What he said was that God would gain the victory.

15b…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.

16 To morrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel.

17 Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you. – KJV

Again, this is what God’s Spirit prompted Jahaziel to say. Focus in on verse 17. God was saying to Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah that…

  1. they would not need to fight
  2. they should simply stand still
  3. they would see God work on their behalf

That is a tall order for any God-fearing person, isn’t it? It is very difficult sometimes to stand still and do nothing else. But in this case, their standing still would be evidence of their complete faith and trust in God and His promised victory! Sometimes, standing still is the only thing we can do when we are not sure of God’s will. However, God revealed His will to the people through Jahaziel. God told them what He was going to do and because of what He was going to do, the people should simply stand and watch God work.

This is not a rule that Christians are to apply to their lives in every circumstance, but there are times when we may be in the dark about how God is going to work something out. In those cases, we must trust God that He will reveal His will in His time and trust that His will is the best even though we do not have foreknowledge of what His will is going to be.

In such a circumstance or situation, it is difficult to continue to exercise faith in God when we are unsure of the direction that He wants us to go. Jahaziel’s next admonition is something we can and should use as well, especially in those times where we are unclear of His direction.

In verse 18, Jehoshaphat leads the way in prostrating himself before the Lord God. All of Judah gathered with him followed suit. Verse 19 tells us that the Levites began to praise the God of Israel “with a loud voice on high.”

The very next day, as the people went out to take up positions against those coming against them, Jehoshaphat reminded them to “believe” the Lord God (v. 20). Then, verse 21 tells us that Jehoshaphat appointed singers to sing to and praise the Lord. We see the results of this in verse 22.

And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. – KJV

In this case, the people praised God for His mercy, for His will, for His victory and salvation and God smote all who were gathered against them.

Praise is a very powerful thing. It is designed to help Christians take the focus off of ourselves and onto God, Most High. We should do this for no other reason than He is God and He knows what is best for us. We should want His will and His will only in our lives. Anything else is less than and should be avoided and repulsed. For every Christian, it should be God’s way or no way. Self will do whatever it can to strive to be and remain on the throne. Through praise, we release ourselves from Self’s hold and turn toward God.

What are you facing that is causing you fear? What in your life needs to be let go through praise? We cannot be praising God and still wishing for our own way, can we?

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, Demonic, devil worship, eternity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: , , , , , .

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