2 Chronicles 20 has Judah up against great odds. “Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah”. Things were looking bad. There were three kingdoms joined together and moving toward an attack. Jehoshaphat knows he is outmanned and will never be able to resist the enemy. So what did he do when he was at the end of himself? He goes to God and asks everyone in the kingdom to join him. “Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord”.
Jehoshaphat is at the end of his leadership rope. “We will stand before this house and before you…. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you”. He has no answers and is at the end of his own resources. But he knows that God is faithful. So he leads well and turns the eyes of his people toward God. “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s”. A great word from the prophet whom God sent to give His people hope.
The direction is clear. “Tomorrow go down against them…Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf”. Sounds pretty simple doesn’t it? Just walk out there and face the enemy knowing that if God doesn’t show up you’re all dead. But that’s when God shows Himself strong, when we are weak and totally unable to handle things on our own. God never fails. So the prophet tells them ”Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
Jehoshaphat stood in front of all his people and said, “Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed”. And the people followed. They believed 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”. The battle was over and they had won. More accurately, God had won. Jehoshaphat got some great kudos from the Lord though. It is written here that “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”. Those are pretty high marks.
Unfortunately there is more to the story. Late in life, Jehoshaphat joined with the evil king Ahaziah from Israel in a boat building business. I’m sure it seemed innocent enough, but God was not pleased. “Because you have joined with Ahaziah, the Lord will destroy what you have made”. So few of us finish strong. Jehoshaphat walks with God most of his life, but in the end turned aside and joined the forces of evil and falls short. It certainly didn’t need to be that way. He just needed to stay the course.