“Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So people came from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.”
2 Chronicles 20:3-4
Throughout the Old Testament we read of good kings that followed God’s laws and honoured Him, and bad kings that set their hearts to worship false idols and form alliances with pagan kingdoms. Today’s story features King Jehoshaphat, a good king. He did make some foolish errors in his time, but was remembered for his good works and his deep fear and love for God. In fact so great was the favour of the Lord on Jehoshaphat’s life, that enemy kingdoms started to fear Judah.
However, there were some enemies that didn’t fear his kingdom, the Moabites, Ammonites and the Meunites. These enemies declared war on Judah and when news reached Jehoshaphat’s ears, fear filled him to the very core. This was no small enemy but an army of hundreds and thousands, hence Jehoshaphat’s reaction.
Yet what was his response? You would expect a God-fearing King to say ‘prepare yourself troops, eat well, get ready for war and do not fear because God is with us‘. Yet he doesn’t do that at all. In fact, he does the opposite. He calls a fast and gets everyone to pray. Why? Because he knew that they could not defeat this enemy without God. He fell to his knees, along with his kingdom, crying out to God to lead and guide them. He re-called all the good things that God had done for them and remembered God’s faithfulness to their nation. Furthermore he humbled himself in complete helplessness knowing that there was nothing he could do in his own strength to win this war…“We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.”
What is our reaction when faced with troubles or situations out of our hands? Do we continue to prepare and try to ‘sort it out’ by ourselves, or do we completely surrender in helpless submission to God, crying out for His help?