Tuesday, August 18, 2009

God of the Impossible: A king & his GOD

Unlike David and Gideon, not many of you probably know this next fellow I will be sharing about. His story is not one of those we usually find in popular bible stories and children's bedtime storybooks. In fact, I never knew he existed until I came to meet him in 2 Chronicles one day while preparing for my CGFNS exam. 

There are many victory stories in the bible that are so popular to all of us aside from the 2 I have already ranked in my top 3. There's the story of Joshua, of Moses, of Abraham & Esther. These are just some of the many popular and familiar characters we know in the bible. I have to tell you, though, the top 1 victory story I have on my list is not about a popular character that most of us knew since we were kids. This is the story of a king whose victory story was unlike Gideon's or even David's. Let me introduce you to king Jehoshaphat's victory.

(2 Chronicles 20)

It was another day in the life of king Jehoshaphat. As king of Judah, he had just finished another round of religious and judicial reforms in his kingdom. He himself had joined his officials and Levites (priests) in going out among his people to teach them the Law of the Lord and bring them back to the Lord, the God of their fathers.

Three generations had passed after the reign of Solomon and this man named Jehoshaphat reigned as king of Judah. He was the ruler of Judah who walked in the ways of the Lord. He did not practice idolatry and calling out to many other gods, but he sought the God of his forefather David and walked in God's ways, and not according to the practices of Israel. The bible informs us that the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, and the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. He was a king not only with great riches but was also great with honor. The bible considered him as having a heart courageous in the ways of the Lord. 

One day, while king Jehoshaphat was in his courts, some men came and told him of an alliance of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites against him. This alliance has formed a great army, a multitude, that would wage war against Jehoshaphat. The king became afraid of this. He knew that his army will be powerless against this great horde. Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resorted into doing what he has always been known for - he assembled his people to seek help from the Lord.

It is very interesting to imagine seeing king Jehoshaphat standing before the assembly of people from all the cities of Judah and Jerusalem. He was a leader to his people not only on the legal and civil aspect of it but of the spiritual as well. You might be wondering right now what he was saying to his people. Let me give it to you, then. The king himself led his people IN PRAYER because of this vast army coming up against them. Listen in to his prayer as he stood in the house of the Lord before the new court:

“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not  God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, ‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy—behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

All the people there stood before the Lord in humble request for deliverance against this great enemy. Big and small were standing as their king prayed and as he finished, everyone was silent. Every heartbeat was felt... Lubb Dubb! Lubb Dubb! "What will we do, Lord? What will happen to our families? Our children? Please help us!" a mother prayed under her breath as she stood there holding her 3-year-old son's hand with her right hand and feeling her husband's grip tighten on her left. And then as the great crowd of people stood there, Jahaziel, son of a Levite spoke by the Spirit of the Lord. His voice loud and clear over the entire assembly, he prophesied, "Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed, for the battle is not yours but God's. You will not need to fight this battle. Stand firm, go up and hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you!"

Jehoshaphat's eyes were closed as he listened carefully to the Lord's reply. Every single word that came out of Jahaziel's mouth is from the God Almighty! "I worship you my Lord. I praise you, my King. Your love for us is steadfast. Thank you! Thank you, my God!" his heart praying. Jehoshaphat could no longer contain what he had felt for the Lord at this moment that he just went ahead and bowed his head and touched his face to the ground! Seeing the king bow down in worship to the Lord, the entire inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem fell down and worshipped. 

Jehoshaphat never knew what exactly it is that God is going to do to make them win this war. But the Lord has already spoken. God has calmed his fears. He will lead his people to the battlefield in the morning as God has commanded them to do. The Lord said to just go up there and stand their ground. "O Lord, I don't know what you're going to do tomorrow but I trust in your awesome power. You are our God and we are your people. Let your mighty hand deliver us tomorrow from our enemies, Lord. Let your people see your power & might!" Jehoshaphat's heart continued to pray as he lay in his bed awaiting the morning after. 

The sky was still dark as Jehoshaphat arose the next day. Servants were scurrying around him the moment he stepped out of his room preparing him for battle. "Gather the Levites to sing praises unto the Lord. Let them praise him in holy attire as we go out into the wilderness of Tekoa as the Lord instructed. Command the army to stay behind the worshippers. The Lord our God will deliver us today! Believe in Him!" The king did not waste any time and as he and his people started out towards battle early that morning, the praises of his people rang into the crisp early morning air. They praised and sang to the Lord marching towards the place where the vast army of their enemies were. Not one of them knowing what God will do to help them win this war, every heart and soul just trusted in the Lord's promise to all of them... "See my salvation on your behalf."

Some of Jehoshaphat's army were probably imagining how they are going to fight against the alliance that's waiting for them, but they trusted the Lord with his word. 
The people continued to sing to the Lord, shouting their praises up to him, raising their voices. They drew nearer and nearer to where the vast army was said to have encamped. Their voices loud and resonating through the desert. Jehoshaphat and his people finally arrived at the watchtower of the wilderness and as their eyes fell upon the swarm of army before them the shouts and the singing stopped. Every face a mix of emotions as they saw the Lord's deliverance - lo and behold! there were only dead bodies lying on the ground. Not a single body was moving, none had escaped. The entire vast army of the alliance of the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites DEAD!!!

Now can you see why Jehoshaphat's story is my number 1? God is awesome, isn't He? He is all powerful! He is the Lord Almighty! He is a deliverer! He is a refuge! He is a strong tower we can lean on! He is able! He is GOD! 

Let me show you what happened to the enemy so you will see how powerful the hand of the Lord is when He takes care of our circumstances according to His will...

"And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another." (2 Chronicles 20: 22-23)

Are you facing a vast army right now? Do you feel that your problems have formed alliance with each other and are out to destroy you completely? Let us learn from Jehoshaphat's ways then. SING UNTO THE LORD PRAISES DUE HIS NAME! Do nothing else but praise and worship the Lord in times of distress! Don't think about your problems. Don't think about how you'll solve them. Don't think about what you are going to do tomorrow as you face them. Remember that sometimes, we do not need to fight in the battle. We just need to stand firm and hold our position.  Believe in the Lord and His awesome power! Praise God and all the wonders of His holy name! THEN, you will see the deliverance of your God.

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