The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father (great great great grandfather) David before him. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord. They taught throughout Judah, taking with them the Book of the Law of the Lord; they went around to all the towns of Judah and taught the people. The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands surrounding Judah, so that they did not go to war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 17:3,6,9,10.
2 Chronicles 20:1,3,14,15. After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Menunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. And Jehoshaphat feared, (resolved)to seek (enquire) of the Lord and to proclaim a fast for all Judah.
Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, (there are other names listing descendants) as he stood in the assembly. He said: “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, it is the Lord’s.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. 1 Kings 19:3
When I am afraid I will trust in You. Psalm 56:3
To appreciate or understand Elijah’s story I would like to suggest reading 1 Kings 18. I chose those verses to create a parallel. Jehoshaphat, Elijah and King David, had all encountered situations that caused or created fear. But the responses could not have been more stark. I don’t have the space to write all the chapters and verses, but the accounts of Jehoshaphat and Elijah are worth the read, so do read it. Along with David’s reason for penning Psalm 56 in 1 Samuel 21.
As long as we live in this world we will at some point encounter fear. Something or someone will cause our hearts to fear. No one enjoys the emotion that fear produces except for an adrenaline junkie. I enjoy peace and solitude, don’t you? Who likes to be unsettled and anxious all the time? Yet, fear or to be afraid is not something we seek, it is an unwelcome guest. How many times have we been anxious about the outcome of a situation only to realize that we had lost sleep in vain? It just didn’t turn out as we had feared it would. No wonder the Bible says fear is torment.
Jehoshaphat, a man who when he became king, brought Israel back to their center; back to a reverential fear of the Lord. Israel had strayed from their acknowledgment of the Laws during the final days of Jehoshaphat’s father Asa. In the third year of Jehoshaphat’s reign he sent teachers throughout Judah and Jerusalem to teach or remind them of God’s laws, and because of this ( turning back to God) the surrounding nations also had a fear, but it wasn’t reverential it was torment. They, the enemy nations, were afraid of the people of Israel because when God is back at the center where He belongs, HELL, trembles.
Whenever we,people of God, turn to seek the Lord, not for what we can get but for who He is, the world will recognize and acknowledge that the Lord is with us. When I was growing up in Jamaica, people had a reverence for the man of God and the House of God. We were fearful to walk into God’s House if we were living in rebellion against God. Your hidden unrepentant sin would encounter the discernment of the man of God and you would be exposed. This created a reverential fear in me and left an impression that God is to be revered. I wasn’t afraid of Him, but I feared Him.
Side note: In Acts chapter 5 We have an account of a husband and wife who schemed to deceive Peter but discovered they were scheming against the Holy Spirit. Death was the result and great fear(reverence for God) seized all who heard what had happened. Lesson; don’t try to con God. He’s Omniscient(He knows everything) and Omnipotent (all powerful) Omnipresent (present everywhere at the same time) We have lost the fear of the Lord in this present generation. But I believe it’s coming back and soon.
In Elijah’s situation, he had just wrought a great victory for the honor of the One true God. Yet the threat of one woman made him run in fear(dread). Contrast the two accounts. Jehoshaphat heard some terrifying news. He was surrounded by hostile enemies coming to wage war against him and all Jerusalem and Judah. But the news, though horrifying, sent him to his knees. He didn’t run, the reverential fear he had for The Lord set him on a path that brought God on the scene. Serving God is not a guarantee of a trouble free life, but it does guarantee that He will show up on your behalf. Jehoshaphat’s decision to seek the Lord first, changed the outcome from certain defeat to sure victory. Let’s listen in on Jehoshaphat’s prayer shall we?
2 Chronicles 20:5-12 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said,
“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. Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for Your Name saying, 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.’ “But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. Our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”
WOW! What utter dependence on the power of God! No wonder we read in in verse 22 that THE LORD, not the armies of Jehoshaphat, set up ambushes against their enemies.
Faith over fear works every time. Are you fearing the coronavirus more than you’re fearing God? Are you fearing the outcome of the situation more than God? Are you reminding God, which is really reminding yourself, of God’s faithfulness in the midst of your problems? The victory is in your mouths. Be still and know that He is God.
We will pick this up in part two. Please take some time to read the scriptures in their entirety. I can only share so much. That’s why I titled these writings “Messages “ not devotionals, because they’re more in-depth teaching. You need time to read them.😊
Father in Jesus Name I thank you that you fight my battles. You’re always listening for our heartfelt prayers. You never abandon us. Like Jehoshaphat’s prayer, we declare that we may not have the answers, but our eyes are on You! Thank you for reminding us that you are indeed a present help. In Jesus Name. Amen
Written by permission of the Holy Spirit.