Prayers of the Old Testament
The Prayer of Jehoshaphat continued...
God has not changed over the centuries. He does not become less omnipotent with the passage of time, so what He was able to promise and carry out on behalf of Jehoshaphat and His people, He can promise and carry out on our behalf as well.
It is sad to think that so many serve a limited god when the one true God is limitless in His power and authority. If the god we serve is limited in his attributes, if in our hearts and minds we believe there are certain things he cannot do, then we are not serving the one true God.
Men have always attempted to place limitations on God, and dictate what He can and cannot do. It is not a new practice, and it is not something only this brazen generation has started to practice. For millennia men have taken it upon themselves to put God in a box and demand He remain there.
To their great disappointment, God never remained in the box they’d fashioned for Him, and whenever He began to work in ways and through individuals the box builders deemed inappropriate, their only recourse was to decry the entire experience and insist it was not of God.
We are only hurting ourselves if we refuse to believe that God is able to do today what He did three thousand years ago.
Jehoshaphat knew and acknowledged the limitlessness of the God he served, and he fashioned his prayer to highlight this fact. He knew that if God was on their side, nothing and no one would overtake them. If God promised them victory, the overwhelming force of the enemy would be rendered irrelevant.
The promise of God was sufficient for Jehoshaphat and his people, and rather than inquire as to how the Lord would give them victory, or if it wouldn’t be wiser to prepare for battle instead of just positioning themselves in a given place, they obeyed the voice of the Lord and went where He had commanded them to go.
Jehoshaphat and the people obeyed without knowing the full extent of God’s plan, how He would give them the victory, or even how He would protect them.
Oftentimes the most difficult part of obedience is not knowing where our journey will take us, and what we will encounter along the way. God gives us a destination, tells us to go, assures us we will arrive, but He doesn’t mention the hills and valleys, the heartbreaks and disappointments, the struggles and the setbacks. During those moments when all we see around us for as far as we can see are trials, hardships, needs and hurts, we must remind ourselves that God promised we would reach our destination, and it was He who has set us upon this course.
I know I’m going to make it. You know you’re going to make it. God promised we would, and He keeps His promises no matter how improbable or even impossible they might seem to us at any given time.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Sometimes it’s all we can do to keep the faith, put one foot in front of the other, and get through another day. By the same token, God never promised that it would be easy. It is men, who have taken it upon themselves to make the journey seem far less difficult than it really is, and to hear some tell the tale, every hundred yards or so there are refreshment stands, the path is littered with cheerleaders and spectators, and the race itself is almost effortless.
What we learn from Jehoshaphat’s prayer is that in understanding who God is we have the strength to stand our ground, and obey His voice even when in the physical what He has commanded us to do seems likely to fail.
The Lord assured Jehoshaphat of victory, and also informed him that he would not need to fight in this battle. Just from this promise alone, a new set of questions arise, one more baffling to the human intellect than the next.
How did God know where Moabites and Ammonites would be? How could God assure them of victory, and then tell them they would not need to fight to obtain it? How could one vanquish an admittedly superior force without engaging them in battle?
It is almost a certainty that these questions swirled around the minds of Jehoshaphat and his people, because they were, after all, human and one can’t help but question the seemingly impossible.
Because the Lord had spoken and they knew what He could do, they overcame their doubts, put aside their questions, and did as the Lord commanded.
2 Chronicles 20:22-24, “Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the people of Ammon and Moab stood against the inhabitants of Mount Seir to utterly kill and destroy them. And when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and there were their dead bodies, fallen on the earth. No one had escaped.”
Even if God had explained how victory would be obtained, it is likely some of the people would not have believed it. God set the hearts of Judah’s enemies against each other, and rather than meeting Judah on the battlefield, they fought amongst themselves until no one was left alive.
God keeps His promises to His people. We might not see the how of it, but we trust that He will.
Jehoshaphat humbled himself, stood before the Lord and sought Him, and because he believed God was able, he saw the hand of God bring about the victory.
The people sang praises to the Lord as their enemies were scattered before them, and saw the power of the living God at work in their midst.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.