That’s what Jehoshaphat teaches us. His story shows us how to respond in the worst of all possible situations, and how to pray in the midst of the storm.
2 Chr 20 begins with a statement of the crisis at hand:
“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites[a] came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.
2 Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom,[b]from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar’ (that is, En Gedi). 3 Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to enquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. 4 The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him….”
The crisis is at hand. It’s already closer than you think. So how did he respond?
He was alarmed. He resolved to ask God. He proclaimed a fast.
In a word: he got serious. He set himself to pray.
Why? Because the situation was impossible, but “the things are are impossible with man are possible with God” (Luke 18:27). And “You have not because you ask not” (James 4:2). In the middle of the storm, ask. God can be touched. God be moved. He knows what you need. Prayer changes things.
Remember Exodus 3? “The Lord said, ‘I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them…” God hears, God sees and God cares. And God is on his way!
God is waiting for a people who will ask, who will pray…. He’s looking for people hungry enough to feed on him. Isa 45:22 Look unto me. Mtt 11:28 Come unto me!Jer 33:3: Call unto me. Call me and I’ll show you! John 15: 16 “Whatever you ask in my name.”
This is how you pray in the storm. You reach for the prayer-answering God. There is a God who hears and answers prayer.
What do you need? Health? Family? Relationships? How much do you want those things? “If we will pray, then God will answer. ” Ps 35: God takes pleasure in the prosperity of his people. ” Anybody ready to go for it? 2 Chr 16:9 “God is looking for people who are looking to him….”
But look, Jehosphat. Look at the scale of the problem! It’s too much. All the work of Satan is arrayed against you. You can’t do it! Eph 6:12: We wrestle against dark forces, powerful networks of evil.
But “no weapon fashioned against you shall prosper.” Did he relapse into self-pity or self-doubt? He was alarmed but he sought God. Fear is natural, but it’s what you do next. You don’t have to accept the doctor’s report.
The problem drove him to God.
So they began to fast. They sought God together in a powerful display of national unity.
And what did they pray?
“Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it for ever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 “If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.”
In a word, they filled their minds with who God was and what He had done! This is you, Lord. This is what you do! This is what you have done! And you are the same, yesterday, today and forever. You keep your word. Your promises are my armour and protection.
Don’t look at the problem. Look at the problem-solver.
In the midst of the storm, look up. Look up and see your redemption drawing nigh.
He is able to do far more than you ask or imagine…. according to the power that works within you.
And the prophet rose and brought God’s answer to the prayers.
‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.”’
Get a new perspective. Look above the situation. This is God’s business, God’s battle. You do not have to fight this battle! Stand still and see your salvation.