And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court, and said, “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.” (2 Chronicles 20:5-12 ESV)
King Jehoshaphat was faced with a huge challenge. A massive army was on the verge of battering down his gates. He was faced with the prospect of a battle he had no hope of winning. As soon as he heard the news the first thing that the King does is to seek the face of God (2 Chronicles 20:3). For him prayer and seeking the Lord was his first response to calamity and distress instead of a last resort.
He asks three rhetorical questions which are hugely insightful in to his relationship with God and this pattern is seen over and over again in the bible.
- Are You Not? – The Attributes of God :
Jehoshaphat chose to look at the unchanging majesty of God and the absolute sovereignty of God and in the face of destruction. He knew that nothing can come to pass without the consent of the Heavenly King, who rules and reigns over all, and works all things according to the counsel of His will (Isaiah 46:10). He humbly worshipped God and surrendered himself to Him.
- Did You Not? – The Acts of God :
He goes on the pray remembering how the attributes of God, His power, mercy and love, have previously been translated to His mighty acts. He remembers how with a might hand and an outstretched arm, God had delivered them from calamity and destruction. His faith is strengthened as her reminds himself of the power of the God he serves.
- Will You Not? – Providence of God:
Now, in the the light of the above, he gives himself in quiet trust to the providence of God, while quietly acknowledging his own limitations. Though he is powerless to act, he rests on the promises and the character of the Almighty God who does more than we can ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
This is a wonderful example for us on how to pray when we are distressed and also an example of faith on trusting God when everything seems contrary to us. King Jehoshaphat chose to fix his eyes on the Almighty God rather than his own powerlessness or the gravity of the impending calamity. In doing so he not only resisted fear and anxiety but also was able to see how God can change the impossible situation with ease.