Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. 5He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 2 Chronicles 20:14- 16 (New International Version)
Judah was a nation under King Jehoshaphat — one of the five godly leaders that Judah ever had as a people.
One day, news reached the King that three mighty nations had conspired to wage war against his people. Being the godly leader that he was, the very first step Jehoshaphat took was not to meet his military advisers or to send an emissary to make peace with the advancing forces. His first official action was to inquire of the Lord and to call a national day of fasting and prayer.
By doing these two things, Jehoshaphat immediately demonstrated his unique maturity, his spiritual integrity, and his composure as the highest official of the land.
His unique approach to warfare may have shocked many of his well-meaning advisers who were more than eager to launch a full military offensive. But Jehoshaphat proved himself to be a true man of God — he was not after his personal honor or his political position — he was a kind of national leader who ruled his nation with the fear and knowledge of the Lord in his heart.
The response of the people to the King’s call for prayer and fasting was so overwhelming that men, women, and children from the farthest towns of Judah came to assemble before the Lord. There – under the leadership of Jehoshaphat – the the God in utter humility. Moved by the faith of this entire nation, the Lord responded by sending a mighty word of prophecy to Jahaziel, one of Judah’s prophets named who proclaimed to the people: “Do not be afraid of discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march down against them…You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give to you…. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”
The following day, leaders of the land led the entire nation in obeying God’s word of instruction. Armed with nothing but the word of the Lord, Judah went to war against her enemies. Jehoshaphat appointed some men to take the frontline, and instructed then to sing praises to God. Without Jehoshaphat’s men realizing it – God’s mighty hand began to move as they worshipped his Name.
God sent a mighty spirit of confusion among Judah’s enemies that they began to battle each other. When Jehoshaphat’s men arrived in the Desert of Tekoa, the designated place of battle, they were stunned to find the bodies of their enemies scattered all over the desert.
Truly, the word of the Lord came to pass! God fought and won the battle for his people.
Immediately, the men of Jehoshaphat realized that it was indeed God’s mighty hand that made all things happen. Jehoshaphat and his men gathered all the spoils of war. The plunder was so great that it actually took the men three days to gather them. They all marched back to their city victorious, joyful, and in awe. When the other surrounding nations heard about the strange war and how Judah won it, the fear of the Lord gripped them even more.
Friends, when King Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord, he did two crucial things that paved way for the victory of his people: 1) he declared his powerlessness over the situation, and 2) he declared his absolute faith in God to redeem them.
How many of us truly realize that every overwhelming problem that come our way leads us to God’s glorious power?
Jehoshaphat, despite his prestige, his power, and his wisdom in matters of war, humbled himself before the presence of the Lord to seek his help and his deliverance. Instead of relying on his own strength and in the wisdom of his most trusted political advisers, he sought God’s will in prayer.
This whole act of Jehoshaphat is simply called faith. It is trusting God’s love and God’s goodness even in the midst of the most overwhelming, most painful, and the most tragic events in our lives.
Jehoshaphat, his soldiers, and his entire people demonstrated faith when they chose to put their lives and their destiny fully in the hands of God. Their chances of winning the war were very slim. Not only were their enemies great in number, the strategy that God had given them was seemingly devoid of power and sophistication.
But the Lord did not fail them. His mighty hand delivered them from their enemies because they believed.
God is always at work in our lives — moving in ways we do not see, silently ushering us from pain to glory, and steadily moving us from tragedy to greater wisdom and understanding of His plans.
Oftentimes, it is so difficult to understand why God allows tragedy to visit our lives. But you see, we have learned that in the face of seeming loss and hopelessness is the presence and power of God who is constantly calling us to trust his ways, to obey his word, and to believe with all our hearts that at the end of the day, no battle is ever ours.
What comfort! What joy! What hope! What blessed reason for us to march on in this life with peace.