“We do not know what to do, but we are looking to You for help” (2 Chronicles 20:12 NLT). Ah, Jehoshaphat! I had forgotten about him until I ran across his story in 2 Chronicles, and what an encouragement it was. Let me set the stage for you. 2 Chronicles 20:1-4 says:
After this, the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites declared war on Jehoshaphat. Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazontamar. Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the LORD for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting. So the people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the LORD’s help.
I love how Jehoshaphat immediately looked to God for help! The NASB version puts it like this: “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” How many times when we are afraid do we immediately turn our attention to the Lord? God has been dealing with me about this over the last several months. Jehoshaphat was faced with an impossible situation! He knew that his only help would come from the Lord and he practically begged Him for guidance. He publically calls for a fast and prays to God before the people. Verse 12-15 says:
O our God, won’t you stop them? 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. As all the men of Judah stood before the LORD with their little ones, wives and children, the Spirit of the LORD came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel…….He said, ‘Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the LORD says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.
He goes on to say in verses 16-18:
Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the LORD’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the LORD is with you! Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the LORD.
It gets even better in verse 20 when Jehoshaphat says:
…’Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in His prophets, and you will succeed.’ After consulting the people, the king appointed the singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the LORD and praising him for His holy splendor. This is what they sang, ‘Give thanks to the LORD; His faithful love endures forever!’ At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the LORD caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting amongst themselves.
The rest of the story is history. Verses 23-24:
The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other. So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.
It took them three days to collect the plunder! On the fourth day, the people gathered there to praise and thank the LORD. That place was known from then on as the “Valley of Blessing.” They marched back into Jerusalem overjoyed with songs of thanksgiving to God. The story ends in verse 30, “So Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.”
When I reflect on this victorious account, I can’t help but see an amazing progression of events that apply to us today. Here’s how it goes: Jehoshaphat was faced with an impossible situation which caused him to be terrified in fear. He admitted he was powerless and turned his attention to God, fasted and sought the Lord for help. God spoke and gave assurance of victory. The people responded in worship and believed God. God fought their battle and won. They collected the plunder and gathered in the Valley of Blessing to give praise to God. God gave them peace and rest on all sides.
What impossible situation are you facing today? Have you turned your eyes upon Jesus? God might lead you to seek Him by prayer and fasting. I have been doing an incredible Bible study on fasting by Kay Arthur that has helped me understand it better. You can find it here. Whether or not He calls you to a fast, the point is to turn your attention to HIM and HIM alone. God might not deliver you from your situation, but He promises to deliver you through it, whatever the outcome may be. If we would but trust Him, we would see that He will fight our battles! If we would believe Him, we would be able to stand firm. What we thought would be known as the Valley of Despair can be known as the Valley of Blessing as we recall how God’s grace got us through.
You might be interested to know that Psalm 46 and Psalm 115 were both written with possible correlation to this event. When we quiet our hearts and know that He is God in the midst of the impossible (Psalm 46:10), we can look back at the situation and say, “Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for Your unfailing love and faithfulness” (Psalm 115:1). Do you have your eyes on Him?