Practice Worshipful Waiting
There’s a delightful story found in 2 Chronicles 20 that is froth with lessons in overcoming major life challenges. Jehoshaphat, the fourth great grandson of Solomon was king of Judah. He was a good, honorable man who served the Lord – a novelty among a long line of wicked kings. When the Israelites first entered the Promised Land, the Lord instructed them to leave the Moabites and the Ammonites alone because they had their own portions of the Promised Land. But by the time Jehoshaphat came to power, the Moabites and Ammonites were corrupt and prepared to make war against Judah.
Jehoshaphat feared because his people were greatly outnumbered, but he didn’t let fear get the better of him. He turned to the Lord, gathered his people together and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah (2 Chronicles 20:3). He cried to the Lord, “we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon thee.” And all of Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children (2 Chronicles 20:12-13).
Then the Lord spoke to the people through the prophet Jahaziel, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow go ye down against them… Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed;tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you” (2 Chronicles 20:16-17).
Jehoshaphat and all of Judah bowed themselves before the Lord and worshipped Him. The Levite priests praised the Lord with a loud voice. Jehoshaphat stood before the people and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:19-20).
Then Jehoshaphat appointed singers who went before the army and praised the Lord through song, “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth forever” (2 Chronicles 20:21). And then the children of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir began to fight one another and destroyed each other and none escaped. It took Jehoshaphat and his people three days to gather up and carry away the riches that were left by their enemies. They continued to praise the Lord for His miraculous deliverance.
This story gives 10 tools for obtaining deliverance from insurmountable challenges.
· Pray to the Lord for help. Jehoshaphat and the people turned to the true and living God. They didn’t turn to idols that their ancestors worshipped. They knew the one true God and only Him did they serve.
· Fast with others. Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast throughout the entire kingdom. He knew that when faithful followers of God fast and pray together, there is increased efficacy in drawing upon the powers of heaven.
· Gather together with others. The people of Judah gathered together, prayed together and strengthened one another. In our times of trial, we can draw strength from other believers who will help us stay strong and faithful.
· Acknowledge your own inability to solve the problem. Jehoshaphat acknowledged to the Lord that he and his people were outnumbered, that they had no clue how to proceed, and that they could not face this enemy alone. They needed God.
· Keep your eyes on the Lord. When acknowledging that he didn’t know what to do and didn’t have the ability to defeat the enemy, Jehoshaphat added, “but our eyes are upon thee.” When our eyes are fixed on the Lord, we gain the faith and strength to carry us through.
· Stand still and expect the salvation of the Lord. Although many times we must work to free ourselves from difficult situations, in this instance, the people of Judah were told that the battle was not theirs, but was God’s. They were to be still and wait faithfully for their deliverance. When the Lord has made a promise to deliver us, we can stay focused by being still and waiting for Him to show His hand.
· Have faith, not fear. The Lord and Jehoshaphat told the people not to be afraid. Fear and doubt cast out faith. It’s important not to allow these tools of the adversary to encroach upon the stage of your mind. Cast them out swiftly by fixing your eyes on the Lord.
· Believe God’s prophets. Jehoshaphat reminded the people to listen to the guidance the Lord had revealed to them through His prophets.
· Praise the Lord before the problem is solved. The people praised the Lord through words and song before they ever received their solution. They trusted the Lord that He would keep His word and praised Him as if their deliverance had already come. They also made sure to continue praising Him afterward.
· Worship the Lord through music. Rather than send forth men to fight, Jehoshaphat sent forth singers to praise the Lord. Inspirational, praise music has a way of keeping us focused on the Lord and builds our trust in Him.
Even when we know the Lord will ultimately deliver us, I think it’s human nature to feel the need to take control of the situation and manufacture our own solutions –to speed up the process. But, to their credit, these people didn’t do that. They didn’t try to second guess the Lord or predict how He would deliver them. They just trusted that He would. They believed the Lord when He said they wouldn’t have to fight and they spent their energies praising the Lord and worshipping Him through song. I find it admirable that although they didn’t have a clue how their deliverance would come, they didn’t jump in and try to form solutions. Although work is a good thing, I think sometimes I lean too much on my own ingenuity and not enough on the Lord’s promises. Rather than muddying the waters with my forced solutions, often I think my time would be better spent praising through music and worshipfully waiting. How about you?
This is an excerpt from “Lord, Are You Sure?,” by Marnie L. Pehrson.