2 Chronicles 20

2 Chronicles 20

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Jehoshaphat’s Prayer

20 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 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). 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.

And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, 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. 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? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘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.’ 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—behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 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.”

Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: 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. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 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.”

Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” 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.”

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. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

The Lord Delivers Judah

When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found among them, in great numbers, goods, clothing, and precious things, which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days in taking the spoil, it was so much. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, and Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets, to the house of the LORD. And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.

Thus Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he began to reign, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. He walked in the way of Asa his father and did not turn aside from it, doing what was right in the sight of the LORD. The high places, however, were not taken away; the people had not yet set their hearts upon the God of their fathers.

Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, from first to last, are written in the chronicles of Jehu the son of Hanani, which are recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel.

The End of Jehoshaphat’s Reign

After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah joined with Ahaziah king of Israel, who acted wickedly. He joined him in building ships to go to Tarshish, and they built the ships in Ezion-geber. Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat, saying, “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the LORD will destroy what you have made.” And the ships were wrecked and were not able to go to Tarshish.

(ESV)


2 Chronicles 20 Commentary

by Hank Workman

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God’s.  You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.  Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” 

2 Chronicles 20:15,17

There are times when things close in around us.  A situation has gotten out of hand.  Attacks on our personal character or person even have assaulted us again and again.  Sometimes we cannot escape these things.  Those attacking are people we see every day.  We may work with them. Live with them.  Even be estranged from them but still have some connection and we simply cannot remove ourselves from.

This is where one of my favorite stories reveals God’s faithfulness in such times.  Jehoshaphat had a huge army coming against him.  He was weak, powerless and felt overwhelmed.  And what we see is how not only did God work a miracle of deliverance but actions that moved within the people toward an unexpected victory.

First, they identified the enemy. It may sound so simple but there is great truth to this.  Many times the things of what we battle are not flesh and blood but from the dark forces of the unseen world.  It is always important to dig in and see what is the cause of the hard attacks we have coming against us and what is the reason or who is behind it.

They took this entire situation to God.  This was a major response for them.  They could have attempted to figure a battle plan.  They could have plotted how to win in this no-win situation, but instead, they went directly to God with the problem.  We could learn a lot from this alone.

They identified their inadequacy and relied on God’s resources.  There are times that what problem we face is beyond anything we can do on our own to resolve it.  Many times we are inadequate.  Many times we are incapable or have the wherewithal to change the tide.  Identify your own weakness in the situation as you submit the problem to God.  You need Him to help you.

Remarkably they also relaxed in faith.  Even though they had no idea of how God would answer their prayers, they rested in His ability to do so.  And get this, they were still required to go out to battle not knowing how it would turn out.  There are many days we would prefer to avoid or run away as far as we can from what we face. 

Obviously, depending on the situation that is not as easy as we would like.  But it’s the reminder we are to go out and face whatever it is with boldness and trust.  This is not something we conjure up within.  This is something that the first few steps of how they responded bring about.  When we have identified the enemy, taken it to Him (sometimes again and again and moment by moment), identified our own weaknesses God stirs a peace within but also a fortitude to do what He has asked.

Finally, and I love this, they sang going into battle.  On their lips was the praise to God for who He was and the character of His love proclaimed.  Only God can bring a song in the night, a word of praise despite and He thrives and is delighted in such acts.

Whatever you may be facing this day, remember God is bigger than the problems or situations you face.  Sometimes we lose track of that.  Draw your focus in prayer to the problem, giving it to Him, admitting your inability to do anything.  Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you rest in faith.  May praise be on your lips throughout this day.  Draw your focus to Jesus who is the Victor!

“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God’s.  You will not have to fight this battle.  Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.  Do not be afraid.  Do not be discouraged.  Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.” 

2 Chronicles 20:15,17

2 Chronicles 20 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

Did God command his people to go into battle singing? I read this over and over to make sure I wasn’t missing something. As far as I can tell, we don’t read they were commanded by God to sing. What we read is that the King consults with the people and orders some musicians to begin worshiping. It is when that worship reaches the Lord’s throne that He initiates His promise to charge into battle. Think about that for a moment.

The people didn’t really know what was going to happen. They were told to show up. They were told not to hesitate or be afraid. They were told the battle belongs to the Lord and they were told the Lord would fight for them. But the details of how that would happen were uncertain. They are walking into a war with people who want to kill them! So, what demonstrated to God that they believed the words He had spoken through His prophet? It was their worship.

Singing during a war defies all logic… unless you believe that the result is guaranteed, right? In the New Testament we learn that Paul and Silas were chained in prison after doing the Lord’s will and around midnight they started singing.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose.

Acts 16:25-26 CSB

Their singing in prison illustrated their trust and obedience which initiated God’s providence and eventually their escape.

Let’s think back to Jesus on the cross. Judah’s victory here was sealed with singing. Jesus’ victory at the cross was sealed in silence. His obedience to His Father was demonstrated in His sacrifice to drink the full cup of the Father’s wrath silently, and with complete and total trust. The war between God and humanity was won through Jesus’ silent obedience in death which initiated God’s providence and eventually our escape from sin and death.

In verse 20, the King urges the people to put their trust in the Lord. It comes from a Hebrew verb that focuses on a cause-and-effect relationship. Believe, have faith, demonstrate trust… and you will be made firm or secure. It’s not a “believe but stay in Jerusalem” kind of trust. It’s not a “believe but prepare to use your weapons” kind of trust. The singing was the evidence of a peaceful heart, and it is on the heels of that belief that the Lord roars into battle. Is the same not also true for us today?

The King returns with his troops back to Jerusalem and what was the end result? Peace. God gave Him security on every side.

The application is obvious. If we trust God in our battles and illustrate that trust by facing those battles with praise and joy on our lips, fighting them on our knees with our hands lifted high and our focus on total and complete obedience to Him, our mighty God will roar into battle on our behalf and bring supernatural peace and security on every side. But we must show up. We must go forward knowing He has gone before and trusting He will have the absolute final authority. What is the Lord asking of you, and what are you going to do about it?

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