King Jehoshaphat’s Prayer, 2 Chronicles 20:1-12 (The Complete Jewish Bible, Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved.) I suggest reading the entire 20th chapter.
Prayer: A Call for Help!
Focal point: When it God’s plan the battle is not yours!
This chapter is one of my favorites!
King Jehoshaphat made a bad decision allying himself with King Ahab, but God delivered him from the Syrian captains when he cried out for help (18:28-32). After his rescue, he was challenged by Jehu to do the good that was in his heart. King Jehoshaphat had prepared his heart to seek God (that is key, 19:3). He led a reformation to turn the people back to God. He gave instructions to the judges he set in place to administer justice. His instructions were very clear: “Take heed to what you are doing for you do not judge for man but for the Lord, who is with you in the judgment.” Note*** this country would be more peaceful if these instructions were heeded today! In essence, you could say, reform began with the judiciary system (19:6-11).
In chapter 20, opposition arose and the king was the target. NOTE: Always expect opposition to follow when you set your heart to obey God and do what is right. King Jehoshaphat received terrifying news that a great multitude was coming against him, and the king was afraid. Nevertheless, his fear drove him to seek the Lord. He called a fast throughout Judah. They came together—all the cities of Judah came to seek the Lord’s help. The king himself stood before the people in the house of the Lord and prayed:
“Adonai, God of our ancestors, you alone are God in heaven. You rule all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and strength, so that no one can withstand you. 7 You, our God, drove out those living in the land ahead of your people Isra’el and gave it forever to the descendants of Avraham your friend. 8 They lived in it, built you a sanctuary in it for your name, and said, 9 ‘If calamity strikes us, such as war, judgment, disease or famine, we will stand before this house — that is, before you, since your name is in this house — and cry to you in our distress; and you will hear us and rescue us.’
10 “So now, see: the people of ‘Amon, Mo’av and Mount Se‘ir, whom you would not let Isra’el invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, so that they turned away from them and did not destroy them, 11 are now repaying us [evil]; they have come to throw us out of your possession, which you gave us as an inheritance.12 Our God! Won’t you execute judgment against them? For we haven’t strength enough to defeat this huge horde coming against us, and we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
What can we observe and learn from King Jehoshaphat’s prayer when petitioning God for help?
- Jehoshaphat’s approach to God (verse 6)
- He acknowledges LORD (ADONAI) JEHOVAH (“the existing One”, the proper name of the one true God).
- He acknowledges Him as God of our fathers, which establishes his ancestry connection, and covenant relationship.
- He acknowledges God’s positional authority, Sovereignty, rule over all kingdoms and nations, and His being all-powerful (omnipotence). None can withstand the one true living God!
- Jehoshaphat’s account of history with God (verse 7)
- He recounts history that demonstrates God’s power
- He recalls what God did in the past—drove out the inhabitants of the land He promised Abraham
- Fulfilled His promise by giving the land to Abraham’s descendants forever.
- Jehoshaphat recalls God’s plan for the building of the Temple (verses 8,9)
- A sanctuary, God’s dwelling place; a centralized location for His chosen people to worship Him.
- He recalls King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Temple.
- He repeats the words of the prayer (2 Chronicles 6:20, 28-30) before God and the people hears the words as well, which included a request for God to rescue them if they’re in distress and cry out for help. ***PRAY GOD’S WORD!!!
- Jehoshaphat states the present “distressful” situation (verses 10, 11)
- He calls out the names of the enemies that have risen against them.
- He seemingly “blames” God; HOWEVER what he does is points out the children of Israel’s obedience to God; God would not allow Israel to destroy when they were delivered from Egypt.
- Now the tables are turned and they’ve come to drive them out of the land. Note: Jehoshaphat clearly states God is the owner and they are inheritors
- Jehoshaphat petitions God to execute judgment; punish those that coming to fight against them (verses 12, 13).
- He confesses/admits they are helpless; they have no strength to defeat the enemies coming against them
- He confesses/admits he does not have a plan…but…
- He unashamedly declares they’re looking to God (our eyes are upon You), as all of Judah i.e., their household and families looked in expectation for God to intervene.
Needless to say, God sent a word in response to the king’s petition for help (verses 14-17).
God always has a plan and will execute His plan in our defense to fulfill His purpose. However we should acknowledge who He is, His greatness, power and recall past demonstrations of His power, whether in His written Word or in our personal life. As Jehoshaphat, we must admit we need His help and expect Him to respond to our cry for help. Not only that, but follow His instructions that will defeat the enemy. **PRAISE is a weapon!
(c) 2014 Queen E. Phillips. All rights reserved.