Prayers and Ponderings on Chronicles 20:1-1
21 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle.2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi).3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the LORD; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,6 and said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.7 Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?8 And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying,9 ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you-for your name is in this house-and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’10 And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy-11 behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit.12 O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
It takes a lot for us to become so overwhelmed that we stop and assemble before the Lord and wait on him. So often when problems come before us we think our creativity can find solutions causing us to approach the Lord as a last resort. To arrive at the place where we say, “We are powerless. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you, O God” means we are finally in a place of true faith and reliance. In that moment, we truly realize that we must rely on God’s power and might — that none are able to withstand Him. What I love about Jehoshaphat is how he recounts the faithfulness of God in the past to face the problems of the present. God’s promises and His actions in the past have created a foundation of trust for the people of Israel when they stop to remember so they can then believe. So many times I have been in situations where I thought all hope was lost and then God showed up and in inexplicable ways made the situations work out. When the volume of issues before me seem like a tidal wave drowning me and I cannot catch my breath He speaks a word and there is calm.
The Lord responds to the prayers of the people and says, “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17.
I love how God has the people go out to see how He will answer their request for help and I LOVE how they go out!
21 And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.” 22 And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. – 2 Chronicles 20:21-22
When I am afraid and overwhelmed, thankfulness is often relegated to the back of my mind. Worries consume me. But when I remember — When I am thankful regardless of the outcome to come — When I recognize that God’s love is steadfast and sure — my heart is lifted and singing and praise return. Have you ever had that moment when you put on a song and the words both crushed your emotions and lifted your heart because you were reminded of God’s goodness and love for you? You are not alone. God moves on your behalf.
Today, I pray, you will remember God’s goodness and love for you — that your heart will be lifted and you will sing with thankfulness and let the Lord’s power and might carry you and answer your situations.