5 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord . . . 6 and said:
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? . . . 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? . . .
10 “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; . . . 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. . . .
13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, . . . as he stood in the assembly.
15 He 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. . . .
20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “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.” 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
“Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever.”
22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir . . . and they were defeated. 23 The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir . . .After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
24 When the men of Judah . . . looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, . . . There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. . . .
29 The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.
2 Chronicles 20
I love these stories from the history of God’s chosen. This wasn’t the first time God fought the battle for Israel. David heard the army of God marching in the trees in 2 Samuel. And in Judges 7 Gideon just barely had to show up to take out the Philistines. These chapters remind me God wants to fight my battles.
So many times I attempt to do things on my own. Life gets tough and I struggle through instead of taking my battle to the Lord. But I’ve also had times when I wanted God to step in, but He didn’t, and I wondered why. 2 Chronicles offers a clue.
On most of those times when God didn’t step in, I wasn’t walking with Him. I hadn’t been praying or attending worship. I didn’t even know where my Bible was. Still, I thought the Almighty should drop everything when I called.
The Bible tells us Jehoshaphat followed the ways of David. This king was different than most. He devoted himself to Yahweh. When he heard the sons of Lot and Esau were coming against him, the king gathered the people of Judah and started a praise service. He humbled himself and reminded God and the people of all God’s blessings.
If we want God to step in, we need to be walking in His will. Praise and recognizing what God has done brings us closer to Him and gives Him permission to fight our battles.The Bible shows us that complete annihilation of the enemy doesn’t happen every time. Sometimes we need to engage to become stronger, and other times God uses our strengths to conquer the enemy. But every now and then if we’re walking with Him, praising Him, and keeping a strong conversation going with Him, we show up to fight, and discover the battle has been won.
I’ll be honest, the second thing I think about when I read about Jehoshaphat is how much more blessed our country would be if the leaders followed the ways of David and called the nation to praise. We might think good politicians, people with degrees, and those who’ve served in the military make the best leaders, but perhaps we need to find men and women who serve God with all their heart, are humble about it, and cause the nation to praise.