‘Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper’ – 2 Chronicles 20:20
Although unintentional, it is interesting that Today’s Teaching, the first of the New Year, is based on 2 Chronicles 20:20.
Many kings of Judah and Israel were ungodly and created real problems for the people they ruled over. Jehoshaphat was someone who feared the Lord having inherited the throne from his father Asa, (also a godly king although he went off the rails spiritually towards the end of his reign). Jehoshaphat stayed true to his faith to the end.
‘The people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites,came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you”’ – 20:1-2.
2 Chronicles chapters 19 & 20 are the record of a key crisis Jehoshaphat and the nation faced and the events prior to it. It is something we can all learn from.
- Rebuke – ‘Jehu the son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him, and said to King Jehoshaphat, “Should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?’ – 2 Chronicles 19:2
How do you respond when you are told off, whether at work, at home or from reading the Bible? Do you sulk or take it on the chin? It took courage for any prophet to confront the king, for some had experienced anger, imprisonment or even death. Jehoshaphat realised he was in the wrong over the ungodly alliance he had made with Ahab. It had nearly cost him his life. He had a repentant heart, as seen by his subsequent actions.
- Response – ‘So Jehoshaphat dwelt at Jerusalem; and he went out again among the people from Beersheba to the mountains of Ephraim, and brought them back to the Lord God of their fathers’ – 2 Chronicles 19:4
It is good to get closer to God during a time of peace. Jehoshaphat took the opportunity to visit his kingdom, urging his people to come back to God. He set up priests, godly judges and officials to handle matters that were spiritual, civil and to do with the King’s business. He warned them not to show partiality or take bribes. From these reforms even the least person should have felt confident that any just cause they had would be heard and judged correctly. It is very important that in every structure of society, the church included, people know they have access to the top and are not forgotten nobodies!
- Request – ‘O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God?’ – 2 Chronicles 20:6-7
Jehoshaphat did not have prior knowledge of this crisis, but God did! This is why He deals with us today on the basis of what will happen tomorrow. Jehoshaphat loved God and His Word, therefore he knew on what basis to make his prayer. Study what he said, for you can use those same principles when you are in need. It is not the best time to learn how to pray when trouble has come, for we need to start doing it when all is well! ‘Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come’ – Ecclesiastes 12:1.
- Reward – ‘They returned to Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat leading them, full of joy that the Lord had given them this marvellous rescue from their enemies’ – 2 Chronicles 20:27 TLB.
The Holy Spirit filled Jahaziel with a wonderful, miraculous prophecy of deliverance. God would keep them safe and give them victory over their enemies. A study of how God protected Israel from invading armies reveals the various ways He did it. This time was even more special for they did not have to fight. God caused the enemies to fight each other until the entire army was destroyed.
So confident was Jehoshaphat of God’s promise, he even put the choir in front of the army as they went to battle. True to God’s Word, the outcome was exactly as had been prophesied. It took them three days to carry back all the spoils of war.
The Bible says, ‘Do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?’ – Romans 2:4. When we make the wrong choices by making alliances with the wrong people or things, God will tell us off, either through church leaders, fellow Christians or our own reading of the Bible. Even while you are reading this, you may be aware of an issue in your life that God is not happy with.
What will be your response? Act carefully, for you do not know what tomorrow will bring but one thing is for sure. If you let God sort you out today, He will be able to protect you tomorrow!