II Chronicles 20:1-21
King Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah under the divided monarchy. He began reigning at age 35 when his Father Asa died. Jehoshaphat would rule Judah for 25 years. “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel. The Lord established the kingdom under his control; and all Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so that he had great wealth and honor. His heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord; furthermore, he removed the high places and the Asherah poles from Judah.” In addition, Jehoshaphat sent men throughout the kingdom to teach the people the Law of God (2 Chronicles 17:7–9). King Jehoshaphat was a good king, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy path.
As Christians we are called to obey and follow God’s directing in our lives. While the Bible gives us absolute truths and standards to shape our decisions, everyone hits a point they wish God would set their GPS so there are no wrong turns in life. As a teenager the fear can mount as you look at pivotal decisions that will affect the rest of your life. “God, what do I do?”
In II Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat got a message that the nation of Judah is about to be attacked. “There cometh a great multitude against thee”. The children of Moab and the children of Ammon were coming in mass to destroy Judah. The people looked to Jehoshaphat and asked, “What do you want us to do?”. Jehoshaphat needed to decide and decide quickly. This should be easy for a great and mighty king. But the Bible records, “And Jehoshaphat feared,”.
Decision making can cause fear, just like it did in the life of Jehoshaphat. The fear isn’t the problem, it is in what we do with that fear. Impulsive and passion driven choices can lead any Christian down a road of brokenness and bitter consequences. So, what to do?
“Jehoshaphat feared AND set himself to seek the Lord.” Decision making must begin with a realization that faith is the only answer to our fears. Jehoshaphat did not know what to do, but he knew WHO had the answers. “…in thy presence…Cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” “…for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us: neither know we what to do, BUT our eyes are upon thee.”
What to do when you don’t know what to do? Lift up your eyes, into the face of your Redeemer. “God what do I do?”
Verse fifteen says, “Thus saith the LORD unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of their great multitude for the battle is not your, but God’s”. Jesus can not only still storms of nature with a simple command “Peace be still” (Mark 4:39), He can still the storm raging in your heart. “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, LORD, only makest me dwell in safety.” Jesus speaks peace to your storm. Calm your heart, God has this.
“…Set yourselves , stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you. “ Be willing to wait and see what God does to direct your path. He will open the doors that need to be opened and lock those you do not need to pass through. If you can trust God with your eternity, surely you can trust Him with the next step in your life.
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground…worshipping the LORD.” (verse 18) Can you imagine when the enemy is swarming down to destroy Judah and God turns Jehoshaphat’s fear into praise? Sometimes the doors God opens come through grief and even personal suffering. Yet through those doors we are able to look back and see God’s loving hand gently guiding and leading us to a place of greater service and joy. Jehoshaphat did not know where this path would lead, but he found a heart of worship in the midst of indecisiveness. Faith blooms as we praise the Lord for what He will do.
Jehoshaphat story end with the enemy turning on each and when Judah gets to the watch tower in the wilderness “they looked unto the multitude , and behold, they were dead bodies fallen to the earth and none escaped.” Judah won without raising a sword. “And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachahah; for there they blessed the LORD; therefor the name of the same place was called, The valley of Bernachah, unto this day.” Bernachah means blessing. If you will follow Jehoshaphat’s example in decision-making, you will look back at your path and call it , “blessing”.
“The hill, though high, I covet to ascend; The difficulty will not me offend, For I perceive the way to life lies here. Come, pluck up, heart, let’s neither faint nor fear. Better, though difficult, the right way to go, than wrong, though easy, where the end is woe.”
― John Bunyan, The Pilgrim’s Progress