When trouble comes, what is my first response? There are times when we can become paralyzed by the hardships of life. Paralyzed by fear, worry, or doubt that things will ever get better. Seemingly impossible problems stare us in the face, and we exhaust ourselves trying to come up with a solution. God exists, but does He care? Hope and faith is drained away until we believe nothing will change, until all we have left is despair.
That is exactly where Satan wants us to be: paralyzed, afraid, and alone. He doesn’t want you to know the truth: God will fight for you. The enemy wants to keep you blind to the reality that God is close to the brokenhearted and will save the crushed in spirit (Ps. 34:18). If he can keep you there, he’s got nothing to worry about.
The moment we made God our Lord and King, we were raised up with Christ and seated with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:6). We are now more than conquerors through Christ who loved us (Ro. 8:37). We don’t have to be trapped in despair, overwhelmed by our situations, because God is bigger.
Now is time to stand on the promises of God and believe His character. The God we serve is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). We see all throughout Scripture the goodness and faithfulness of God; of His unfailing love and mercy. He is a God of miracles and wonders—a God who is true to His word.
All this begs the question: How? How can we look past the impossibility of our circumstances and find our hope in God? We find our answer in 2 Chronicles, chapter twenty.
After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. (vs. 1-4)
Before this announcement, Jehoshaphat king of Judah had been appointing judges and turning the hearts of the people back to the Lord. Everything was fine; a time of peace after the battle at Ramoth Gilead two chapters prior. Now he’s faced with the threat of battle. But instead of panicking and staying there, it says that Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord. He made the decision to seek God instead of dwelling on the enemy intent on destroying him.
The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord, indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 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.” (vs. 4-6)
Jehoshaphat’s first step of action was to get the focus on God. He shifted his perspective to the Almighty God, whose power and reign are supreme to anything in heaven or on earth. In fact, Jehoshaphat had others—all the people of Judah—praying as well, which is important to note. One of Satan’s strategies is to make us feel isolated and alone. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” God designed His church to be in unity, so that we may stand together in the strength of Christ and fight the enemy. We were never meant to battle alone.
“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 judgement, 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.’ (vs. 7-9)
Here Jehoshaphat references 2 Chronicles 7:13-14, which is a promise that God made to Solomon: “When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
We need to know what is in the Bible and all that God has promised, so we can claim those promises. Claiming a promise is to believe that what God has said will happen for you. In Matthew 6 Jesus tells us we do not have to worry about food or clothing, because He who takes care of the sparrows will take care of us too. So we can say, “Alright Lord, you said I don’t have to worry about food or clothes. You said You will take care of me, and I believe you!” It is clinging to that promise no matter what, knowing that God’s word is right and true and He is faithful in all He does (Ps. 33:4).
The Bible is full of promises for us: promises of health (Is. 53:4-5 and Matt. 8:14-17), protection (Ps. 91), blessing (Ps. 1:1-3), and peace (John 14:27). Of course there are many, many more, which is why it is important for us to know all that God has made available to us!
Not only can we claim these promises for our lives, but we can also use them to fight Satan’s lies. The only way to shut the devil up is with the Word of God. Just as Jesus said when He was being tempted in the wilderness, “Away from me, Satan! It is written…” and proclaim the truth of God.
“But now here are men from Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when you 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.” (vs. 10-12)
Now Jehoshaphat acknowledges that in their own strength they cannot possibly deal with the problem at hand. He admits his own human weakness and that he doesn’t know the answer, and he resolves to keep his eyes firmly on God. Because He knows God can. Jesus said, “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.” (Matt. 19:26)
No matter what is happening or going on around us, we need to remember that we serve the God of the impossible! It should’ve been impossible for Lazarus to come back to life after he died, but Jesus did it. It should’ve been impossible for someone who was born blind to be able to see, but Jesus did it. It should’ve been impossible for Saul, a man who hated and murdered Christians, to change into a man full of love, but Jesus did it.
When our problems seem impossible, we must keep our eyes on Jesus because He is “able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Eph. 3:20).
All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah…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, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’” (vs. 13-17)
And here is where God speaks to His people and tells them, do not be afraid or discouraged. He reassures them that He is for them and will fight for them. They do not have to face this battle by themselves; they are not alone! Jesus promised us again in Matthew 28:20: “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Just as God was with the people of Judah, God is with us and we are never alone.
Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” (vs. 18-20)
They are reminded to place all faith, hope, and confidence in the Lord and His words. By standing on His truth they will be successful. Just as we must have faith in order to be saved, it is important to have faith in God’s other promises. Have faith that God will heal, that He will protect, that He will bless you!
But what if we aren’t sure we believe? We know God can, but will He? In Mark 9, a father approaches Jesus and asks him to heal his demon possessed son if he can. “‘If you can?’ said Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for the one who believes.’ Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (vs. 23-24) Jesus then commanded the demon to leave the boy, and he was healed. The man was honest—he believed, he wanted to believe, but he needed help. And God loves to help us!
Jesus is the author and the perfecter of our faith (Heb. 12:2). He also said that faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains (Matt. 17:20). Most importantly, it’s not so much the size of your faith, as who your faith is in. It is not about you, it is about Jesus. A small amount of faith in the right Person will still move a mountain. So if faith the size of a mustard seed can move a mountain, imagine what would happen with faith the size of an apple!
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.” As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (vs. 21-22)
Before the battle had begun, the people praised the name of the Lord. In 1 Samuel 16:23 it says that whenever an evil spirit would torment King Saul, David would play his lyre and the evil spirit would leave. The enemy can’t work in an atmosphere of praise—but God does! Praise is also an effective way of keeping our eyes on God.
The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day. (vs. 23-26)
God’s promise was fulfilled. The people of Judah had no reason to be afraid or discouraged because the Lord fought for them, and they were victorious. He was faithful and true to His word!
Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets. The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side. (vs. 27-30)
They rejoiced in the Lord and He received all the glory. Even the people in the surrounding kingdoms recognized God’s hand at work. And that will happen when we seek and obey the Lord, too. When we step out in faith and follow His guidance, others will recognize God at work in our lives, which will only bring further glory to His name. Because of Jehoshaphat’s trust and obedience, he found peace.
If only you had paid attention to my commands, your peace would have been like a river, your well-being like the waves of the sea. (Is. 48:18)
You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal. (Is. 26:3-4)
Maybe the things God wants us to do sound crazy sometimes. In 2 Kings 5, Naaman was told by God’s prophet Elisha to wash in the Jordan River seven times and he would be cleansed from leprosy. Naaman had thought Elisha would call on the name of the Lord, wave his hand over the spot, and he would be cured. Not go wash in one of the dirtiest rivers. But despite how crazy it sounded, Naaman went, and he was cured.
Instead of dwelling on our impossible problems and becoming overwhelmed by them, we must look to God. He is the answer and solution to every problem and hardship that we face. Instead of wallowing in worry and fear, praise His name! Instead of wondering what to do, ask Him and listen. When He answers (not if, because He will answer!), obey Him. God has never, and will never, fail you. Sometimes His answers are different than we want them to be. But that’s okay, because all throughout Scripture, God has proven Himself to be faithful over and over and over again. And He’s not about to stop now.