By Justin Randolph
Pastor, Zion Hill Baptist Church, Sevierville
Focal Passage: II Chronicles 20:10-12, 14-17, 20-22, 29-30
Sometimes it’s hard to watch the news. When terror strikes, disease ravages, families divide, and churches collapse, we are sometimes tempted to throw up our hands and give up. This is what Jehoshaphat must have felt as he faced down three kingdoms. Israel had seemingly done nothing to provoke this attack, but nevertheless they were being surrounded on all sides by their enemies. Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. We are surrounded on all sides by our enemies with no way of escape from a bad situation. Nevertheless, regardless of our circumstances, God is at work. He relishes in turning tragedy into triumph, making Sundays out of Fridays, and promoting princes from prisoners. Our God is our great redeemer!
Notice with his back against the wall, Jehoshaphat calls the nation to fast and pray. His prayer is recorded for us in verses 6-12. In it, he affirms that God is in control, that it is His land they are occupying by His grace, and that only He has the power to save them. Therefore Lord, “our eyes are upon thee.” At times we face an enemy that only God can defeat. The doctor says there is nothing more we can do for you. The company thanks you for your service, but we are going to have to let you go. Your child is a prodigal and no attempt by you seems to be bringing him or her home. It is in those times we must remember that while we may be powerless, our God is powerful and stands willing and able to fight this battle on our behalf if we will turn to Him.
Second, we take stock of the fact that Jehoshaphat thanks God for His promise and His presence. In verse 11, he acknowledges God’s provision in giving the land to the children of Israel. It is His land, and He divinely ordained the deed to the children of Israel. This reminds them and us that what God says stands no matter who may want to change it. In today’s world, people like to take God’s declared Word as optional and negotiable, but there is power in “thus saith the Lord.” Also, in verse 15, he thanked God for His continued presence. Jehoshaphat knew that when Israel arrayed itself for battle, the Lord would be with them and go before them. We can be thankful today that whatever we face, the battle in the end belongs to the Lord.
Lastly, we see the result of thanksgiving is peace. David wrote in Psalm 11:4, “The Lord is in His holy temple. The Lord is on His throne in heaven.” As a result of this, when our world is shaken, we can know that God remains unshaken. His plans will not be derailed nor His will be overcome.
Jehoshaphat chose to lead with praise, and the result was victory and rest. I am reminded of the words of Isaiah when he proclaimed, “God will keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Him, because his trust is in Him.” Where is your trust today? Some trust in the things of this world and its systems to meet their needs and they will be disappointed. But, those who place their trust in the Lord shall not ever be ashamed. When you and I act on faith and show gratitude unto Him, we will experience the presence, power, and peace of God.