If there was ever a formula for God to intervene in a situation, we see it in the life of King Jehoshaphat. Please don’t misunderstand me. God cannot be put into a box and manipulated by us in any way. Thus, for there to be a sure-fire blueprint for gaining what we want through some step-by-step procedure, it’s not likely God will respond to our concocting such a recipe. Still, there are things we do which greatly please the Lord, and for that He will respond. How He does so is another matter, which is exactly why we cannot shoehorn Him into our preconceived notions of how He should act.
The principle is somewhat analogous to the whole area of tithing. God wants our hearts to be toward Him, joyful and generous with all that He has provided. When we tithe, we’re simply giving back to Him a portion of which He has blessed us. It pleases Him to do that. When he sees His children acting according to His nature and emulating Him, He desires to bless us for our faithfulness. Our heartfelt tithe inevitably brings His blessings upon us almost as night follows day. We know this is how He operates, yet we don’t tithe expecting those blessings. We do it because we love Him. In return, in His love for us, He wants to demonstrate this in our lives, and we simply know that His blessing will follow.
Jehoshaphat was considered a righteous king in Judah. He slipped in his trust and faith in Yahweh at various times in his life, but by and large he obeyed God, and He rewarded him for the believing loyalty of his heart.
A situation arose in his kingdom when various enemies banded together against Judah. In response, we see in 2 Chronicles 20:3-4 what Jehoshaphat did:
Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
At this sign of trouble, as the leader of the land, Jehoshaphat called all the people together for corporate prayer and fasting in order to petition Yahweh for His intervention against the coming catastrophe of defeat.
The Lord heard the king’s prayer, knew the sincerity of his and the peoples hearts, and responded in 2 Chronicles 20:15:
“Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.”
Because the people had humbled themselves and prayed, the dynamics of the situation were altered. The battle was no longer one that would be fought solely in the natural. God had become involved and made it personal. The battle became His – a spiritual one, not that of the people of Judah.
As commander of the armies of the Lord – the Lord of hosts – Yahweh then gave strategic instructions for victory. Watch what He says in 2 Chronicles 20:17:
“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.”
All the people had to do was step out as if they were about to engage in the fight. Yet, they simply had to stand firm and allow God to do what He would. When the Lord takes up the banner in a conflict, the outcome is assured. Jehoshaphat knew this and worshiped Him for who He was.
As God routed the enemy, Jehoshaphat and all Judah responded appropriately: they began to sing and praise the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:22). God loves to hear the praises of His people. He set the enemy upon themselves in such a way that they completely destroyed one another, resulting in a rousing and total victory.
Following all this, the people of Judah recognized the Lord’s hand in their success. He turned sure defeat into an overwhelming triumph. And so they rejoiced in the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:27). With God’s hand orchestrating these events, He brought peace to the land.
What was the sequence that effected such a wonderful outcome? In summary, it was as follows:
- With trouble approaching the people turned to the Lord
- Through their heartfelt supplications, God heard and answered
- Yahweh changed the dynamics of the situation from the natural to the spiritual
- The battle because His – all the people had to do was stand firm
- Upon securing victory, God’s children thanked Him through their praise and worship
- For the trust and obedience they showed in Him, God brought them peace
If we find ourselves in difficulty and we follow this guideline, are we assured that God will respond in the same manner that He did with Jehoshaphat? Of course not! However, we can know that when we approach the Lord in Spirit and in truth, that He loves to bless us. As we humbly come before the throne of God, His mercies are great. We never know what will happen in life, but we can always rest in the hope and confidence that God will be with us in the battle and will see us through.