Life is very difficult for many people, including some believers. Nothing seems to go right. There is trouble on every side with, apparently, no help at hand. Every effort to put things right seems to end in failure. Troubles come in a variety of ways and in varying degrees: persecution, poverty, ill-health, homelessness, loneliness, marital breakdown etc. What are we to do in such circumstances? Who do we turn to? Neighbours, friends, relatives, church members, the government? As is often the case, none of these can meet our needs. They are all well meaning enough; but they cannot solve all of our problems all of the time. What then are we to do?
I trust that this morning the story of Jehoshaphat king
of Judah will present us all with some invaluable lessons on
available help; lessons which every soul on earth should
learn - and remember - especially in view of the approaching Time
The story is told in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.
2. THE APPROACHING ENEMY
The enemy is great and is approaching. Very often the enemy comes from a most unexpected source which catches a person completely off guard. This is the story of king Jehoshaphat; an obedient and faithful servant of Jehovah the Almighty God of Israel.
|2. Chron. 20:||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 Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
Jehoshaphat was terrified. He knew that his army could never meet this threat. What was he to do?
3. SPIRITUAL PREPARATIONS
The first thing to do when facing an apparent impossible situation is to pray. If circumstances allow, gather some believers to join you in prayer and fasting. For further information see Prayer.
|2. Chron. 20:||3: And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself
to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.|
4: 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.
5: And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court
4. ETERNAL REALITIES
Certain facts do not - yea they cannot - change. It is important to know and remind ourselves of these facts.
|2. Chron. 20:||6: And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not
thou God in heaven? and rules not thou over all the kingdoms
of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might,
so that none is able to withstand thee? |
7: Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
5. AN AGREEMENT
Jehoshaphat reminded the LORD of the agreement He made when king Solomon dedicated the Temple in Jerusalem. The agreement was that God would answer His followers when they cried unto Him in prayer. That agreement still stands; even for us who lift up our hearts in prayer to the King in Jerusalem on high!
|2. Chron. 20:||8: And they dwelt therein, and have built thee
a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, |
9: If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.
10: And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not;
11: Behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.
6. TOTAL HELPLESSNESS
Total helplessness in any situation is never the end of the matter. Remember to keep your eyes on the Almighty. He is always able to deliver.
|2. Chron. 20:||12: 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.
13: And all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children.
7. YAHWEH'S ANSWER
Do not be afraid. Do not panic. The battle against sin, its originator and the myriad problems caused by sin, is not yours, but Yahweh's. Remember this fact.
Be Not Afraid / The Battle is Not Yours
|2. Chron. 20:||14: Then upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah,
the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a
Levite of the sons of Asaph, came the Spirit of the LORD in the
midst of the congregation; 20:|
15: 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.
Stand still & see the Salvation of the LORD
|2. Chron. 20:||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..
8. JEHOSHAPHAT'S RESPONSE
King Jehoshaphat's response of faith in the LORD in this virtually 'impossible' situation is a perfect example to all in trouble. In front of the nation he displayed his belief and worshipped the Lord. He then set about carrying out a plan to witness a victory which ranks as one of the strangest in the annals of warfare.
Believe in the LORD Your God
|2. Chron. 20:||18: And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face
to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
fell before the LORD, worshipping the LORD. |
19: And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
20: And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.
9. THE EFFECT OF SONG & PRAISE
Few believers appreciate the power of song and praise in the battle against evil. Would that everyone sang praises to Jehovah in times of trouble. A well chosen hymn or chorus of praise is a powerful weapon when fighting problems of every kind.
|2. Chron. 20:||21: And when he had consulted with the people,
he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise
the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and
to say, |
Praise the LORD; for his mercy endureth for ever.
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.
23: For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.
24: And when Judah came toward the watch tower in the wilderness, they looked unto the multitude, and, behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth, and none escaped.
|2. Chron. 20:||25: And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away the spoil of them, they found among them in abundance both riches with the dead bodies, and precious jewels, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away: and they were three days in gathering of the spoil, it was so much.|
|2. Chron. 20:||26: And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the LORD: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, (valley of Blessing) unto this day.|
|2. Chron. 20:||27: Then they returned, every man of Judah and
Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, to go again
to Jerusalem with joy; for the LORD had made them to rejoice over
their enemies. |
28: And they came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD.
|2. Chron. 20:||29: And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries, when they had heard that the LORD fought against the enemies of Israel.|
|2. Chron. 20:||30: So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for
his God gave him rest round about. |
31: And Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah: he was thirty and five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty and five years in Jerusalem. And his mother's name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi.
32: And he walked in the way of Asa his father, and departed not from it, doing that which was right in the sight of the LORD.
Most believers will, sooner or later, find themselves in troublesome circumstances such as: poverty, ill-health, loneliness, homelessness or persecution. Sooner or later one or more of these will come your way. That is the time to remember the following points:
I'll end this sermon with a personal testimony. I trust that
its message will become part of your life. That in every trouble,
however great it may be, you will apply its message to yourself:
because it really could be the experience of every true believer in the LORD God of Israel.