Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Jehoshaphat continued...
It didn’t take long for the Lord to answer the prayers of the people. They came before Him with sincerity of heart, unity, and single-minded purpose and God honored this by sending Jehoshaphat an answer to his prayer by way of a prophetic utterance almost immediately.
2 Chronicles 20:16-17, “Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
God never gets surprised or blindsided. There is never an instant wherein God doesn’t see something coming afar off, wherein He does not know the end from the beginning, and this ought to give us great peace and hope in our journey toward eternity.
God knew where the enemy would be, He knew where they would be found, and He commanded Israel to position itself, and stand still.
Show up to the battle, but let God do the fighting.
If we march upon the battlefield in our own strength, in our own prowess, trusting in our own numbers, we will be scattered to the wind, overrun, and vanquished. We underestimate the enemy to our own demise, and we trust in the arm of the flesh to our own destruction.
Keep in mind God didn’t tell the people to pack up and go home, He didn’t tell them there was no need for them to do anything except microwave a batch of popcorn and watch from the sidelines as God smote their enemies. God told them they needed to position themselves, assemble themselves, prepare themselves, stand on the battlefield, but know they were standing in His strength, and it would be the Lord’s salvation that would win the battle.
It is easy not to be afraid when you know the Lord is with you. It is easy to stand against overwhelming odds when God has assured you of victory, but there are moments when the enemy attacks and all we can do is hold our ground knowing the faithfulness of our God. We don’t get the promise of victory before every battle, we don’t receive a word of prophecy before every confrontation, but knowing the nature of the God we serve, we don’t need to be assured of victory every time. We know God stands with us because He is faithful to those who are faithful to Him. We position ourselves against the enemy, we stand still, and we see the salvation of the Lord.
Finding the balance between not doing anything and attempting to do everything is a constant struggle for some. Since most individuals are being influenced and pulled to either one side of the argument or the other almost daily, only one who is grounded and rooted in truth is able to withstand the buffeting.
The people knew it was their duty to seek the face of the Lord. They realized no one could do it on their behalf. They could not appoint someone to do it, or outsource it to the Levites among them. Their entire victory hinged upon coming together, and seeking the face of the Lord as one.
God was stirred by the prayers of His people and not by their predicament.
There had been no message from the Lord prior to the people gathering together to pray. There had been no word of prophecy prior to Jehoshaphat crying out to the Lord. Their enemies had been assembled together against them even before they prayed, but it was only after they prayed that the Lord saw fit to encourage His people, and promise them victory.
Would Jehoshaphat and the people have received a message from the Lord if they’d never prayed? Would the Lord have spoken to them if they’d taken it upon themselves to defend their nation rather than come together and seek His face?
These are relevant and important questions because the answers to these will open our eyes to the reality of why God acts at a certain time and in a certain way, and why at other times it seems as though He is a million miles away.
We have a duty before God to seek His face. We have a duty before God to come before Him in humility and obedience, and ask for His help.
The people knew they were outnumbered, they knew their destruction was imminent if not for divine intervention, and so they prayed accordingly. They did not assume or presume to know the mind of God, nor did they take being God’s people for granted.
Some live under the misconception that God is obliged to intervene whenever they need Him, without asking, without petitioning Him and without seeking His face. God doesn’t owe us, nor are we entitled to His intervening on our behalf.
Jehoshaphat could have sat idly by and assumed that the Lord would intervene. He could have gone about his activities as though the enemy were not at the gates, as though the danger wasn’t imminent, but he knew better than to bury his head in the sand, cross his fingers, and hope for the best.
Men and women of prayer are compelled to pray, to seek the face of God, to plead with Him and cry out to Him whenever they see the need for His intervening hand. The notion of being a spectator and not coming before the Lord and interceding on behalf of others ought to be anathema to the household of faith, yet more and more souls lead lives absent prayer because they were told God doesn’t listen, and even if he listens He doesn’t hear too well, and even if He heard well, He just doesn’t do those kinds of things anymore.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.