Introduction: Jehoshaphat was at times inconsistent in his walk with God. This account, however, records one of his great acts of faith in leading the nation of Judah to place its faith in God when it faced a large coalition of three pagan armies that threatened to destroy it. While Jehoshaphat and the Jews were under physical attack, most believers today are under spiritual attack: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Eph. 6:12). From Jehoshaphat’s response to these threats, God reveals seven lessons for finding His deliverance when you are under attack. These include: (1) prayer and fasting, (2) worship, (3) humility, (4) being Spirit-led, (5) faith, (6) gratitude, and (7) vigilance.
First, Jehoshaphat responded to the three invading armies that threatened Judah’s existence by encouraging the Jews to seek God’s deliverance through prayer and fasting. Through Jehoshaphat’s example, God reveals that seeking His deliverance should begin with prayer and fasting. Second, Jehoshaphat assembled the Jews and then led them in a prayer. His prayer included praise for God’s omnipotent power and faithfulness. From Jehoshaphat’s example, God reveals that seeking His deliverance should include worship to boost your faith. Third, as part of Jehoshaphat’s prayer, he prayed in humility that the Jews could not deliver themselves without God. God also wants you to seek His deliverance in humility and dependence. Fourth, God responded to Jehoshaphat’s prayer by empowering a prophet to give God’s promise that He would deliver His people. While the Jews received God’s guidance through prophets, God promises to guide you to His deliverance through His Word and the Holy Spirit. Fifth, Jehoshaphat exhorted the Jews to trust God’s promises. God’s deliverance also requires that you place your trust in Him. God was then faithful to keep His promises by destroying the Jews’ enemies. God also wants you to have the faith to trust in His promises of deliverance. Sixth, Jehoshaphat responded to God’s deliverance with gratitude, praise, and worship. God also wants you to worship Him with gratitude and praise when He delivers You. Finally, despite Jehoshaphat’s initial faith and gratitude, he then became complacent in his walk. He allowed some idols to remain in Judah, and he established an alliance with a new Baal-worshiping king in Northern Israel. God then sent a prophet to rebuke him. God doesn’t want you to make the same mistakes. When He delivers you, stay vigilant in your walk with Him.
Armies assemble against Judah, and Jehoshaphat proclaims a fast to seek God. After Jehoshaphat was nearly killed for fighting a war with Northern Israel against Assyria that God did not sanction, Judah faced a combined invading army from Ammon, Moab, and some Meunites: “1 Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. 2 Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, ‘A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).’ 3 Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord.” (2 Chr. 20:1-4). Jehoshaphat was filled with fear because he recognized that he was a sinner and could not pridefully claim that God had a duty to deliver him. Without consulting God, he formed a marriage alliance with Ahab, the evil King of Northern Israel (2 Chr. 18:1). Also without consulting God, he formed a military alliance with Ahab against Assyria (2 Chr. 18:1-3; 1 Kgs. 22:1-4). He then ignored God’s prophet Micaiah when he warned against going to war with the Assyrians (2 Chr. 18:12-16; 1 Kgs. 22:13-17) and instead listened to Ahab’s 400 false prophets, who all incorrectly predicted victory (2 Chr. 18:5-11; 1 Kgs. 22:6-12). Finally, he said nothing after a false prophet struck Micaiah, and Ahab threw him into prison, where he was tortured (2 Chr. 18:23-27; 1 Kgs. 22:24-28). Because Ahab was disobedient, he died in battle, just as Micaiah had foretold (2 Chr. 18:33-34). But God showed mercy and grace to Jehoshaphat only because he cried out to Him for deliverance (2 Chr. 18:31-32). Thus, he led the entire nation in humble prayer, fasting, and repentance. As a young boy, he would have seen God deliver his father, King Asa, from an invading army of more than a million Ethiopian soldiers (2 Chr. 14:9-15). He had the faith to know that God could deliver His people again.
Three pagan nations united and attacked Judah1
God puts you through trials so that you may turn to Him. After the Jews had escaped from Egypt, Moses explained that God frequently tests His people: “for God has come in order to test you, and in order that the fear of Him may remain with you, so that you may not sin.” (Ex. 20:20(b); Dt. 8:2). David also warned that even the righteous are not beyond God’s testing: “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked . . .” (Ps. 11:5). “I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, . . .” (Jer. 17:10). God’s testing and discipline are done out of love (Heb. 12:6). When you are tested, you may find that your heart has hidden anger, lust, or covetousness. When God exposes wickedness, He expects you to repent of it: “the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9). David invited God’s testing to show him where he needed to change (Ps. 139:23). Your trials should produce perseverance and endurance: “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance;” (Ro. 5:3). “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.” (Jam. 1:2-3). Paul endured a similar trial when he faced death in Asia. He advised that God put him through trials so that he would rely upon Him and not his own strength: “8 For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life; 9 indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead; . . . He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us,” (2 Cor. 1:8-10). Are you turning to Jesus to deliver you during your trials?
If a nation will repent and seek God, He promises to deliver it. Jehoshaphat followed God’s promise to Solomon when he led the Jews in prayer and fasting: “and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chr. 7:14). Amazingly, the entire nation of Judah acted together in seeking out God (2 Chr. 20:4). Jehoshaphat’s acts were part of a broader theme in this book: “This is a recurring theme in 2 Chronicles: the leaders who seek the LORD. We can expect God to do great things when His people, and especially the leaders of His people, seek Him. Others who sought the LORD in 2 Chronicles include:· The faithful remnant of Israel (2 Chronicles 11:16). · The people of Judah under king Asa (2 Chronicles 14:4, 15:12-13).· Jehoshaphat in the early part of his reign (2 Chronicles 19:3).· King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 31:21).· King Josiah (2 Chronicles 34:3).” (David Guzik on 2 Chr. 20).2 Are you praying for the nation and its leaders to repent and seek out God’s deliverance?
Turn to prayer and fasting for God’s deliverance. Any time that you are in need of deliverance or face an important need, God wants you to seek him through prayer and fasting. Jesus revealed that He can provide believers with great power when they pray and fast (Mk. 9:28-29). For example, an elderly prophetess named Anna turned to God with prayer and fasting during her hour of need (Lk. 2:37). As another example, Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted for God to guide the elders of a church in the church’s hour of need: “When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” (Acts 14:23). If you are need for any matter, whether great or small, turn to God in prayer and fasting.
Jehoshaphat proclaims God’s power and faithfulness to boost the Jews’ faith. To encourage the Jews to place their trust in God, Jehoshaphat recounted both God’s omnipotent power and His faithfulness in keeping His prior promises: “5 Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, 6 and he said, ‘O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. 7 Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? 8 They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, 9 ‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.’” (2 Chr. 20:5-9). As led by the Spirit, Jehoshaphat boosted the faith of the people by reminding them that God is not like the fake idols of the pagan nations. In the very first verse in the Bible, God is revealed to be the Creator of the heavens and the Earth (Gen. 1:1). Moving from the very beginning of history to the then recent creation of the Temple, Jehoshaphat invoked Solomon’s prayer of Temple dedication for God to hear the prayers of His people: “20 . . . You have said that You would put Your name there, to listen to the prayer which Your servant shall pray toward this place. 21 Listen to the supplications of Your servant and of Your people Israel when they pray toward this place; hear from Your dwelling place, from heaven; hear and forgive. . . . 24 If Your people Israel are defeated before an enemy because they have sinned against You, and they return to You and confess Your name, and pray and make supplication before You in this house, 25 then hear from heaven and forgive the sin of Your people Israel, and bring them back to the land which You have given to them and to their fathers.” (2 Chr. 6:20-21, 24-24). When you humble yourself and cry out, He will also hear your prayers.
Jehoshaphat leads the Kingdom of Judah in worshiping God3
Cry out to God when you need guidance. God’s Word is a lamp unto your path when you cry out in prayer for guidance “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105). The Holy Spirit then applies God’s Word to guide you when you need help (Jo. 16:13). Like Jehoshaphat, David also cried out for God’s guidance when he risked losing his kingdom: “Perhaps the LORD will look on my affliction and return good to me instead of his cursing this day.” (2 Sam. 16:12). Like David and Jehoshaphat, God wants you to cry out to Him in faith when you are in need of deliverance: “O LORD, how my adversaries have increased! Many are rising up against me. Many are saying of my soul, ‘There is no deliverance for him in God.’ Selah. But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head. I was crying to the LORD with my voice, and He answered me from His holy mountain. Selah. I lay down and slept; I awoke, for the LORD sustains me. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who have set themselves against me round about.” (Ps. 3:1-6; 25:2). If you feel that you are facing a hopeless situation, have you cried out to God for help?
God’s power does not compare to the idols of the world. Moses once told the Jews that God allowed them to witness His many miracles in the wilderness so that they would know that He is unique and unlike any other: “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him.” (Dt. 4:35). David also proclaimed God’s unique power: “For this reason You are great, O Lord GOD; for there is none like You, and there is no God besides You, according to all that we have heard with our ears.” (2 Sam. 7:22). Isaiah also counseled the people who lived in Hezekiah’s time that God was not like an idol: “Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: ‘I am the first and I am the last, and there is no God besides Me.”’ (Is. 44:6). “Ah Lord GOD! Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm! Nothing is too difficult for You,” (Jer. 32:17). To boost your faith, are you proclaiming God’s amazing power?
Depend upon Jesus, the Rock of your salvation. David also placed his trust in the “the Rock of Israel”: “My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.” (2 Sam. 22:3; Ps. 18:2). “The LORD lives, and blessed be my rock; and exalted be the God of my salvation,” (Ps. 18:46). “The LORD is their strength, and He is a saving defense to His anointed.” (Ps. 28:8). Paul reveals that “the rock was Christ.” (1 Cor. 10:4). He is our Rock and the power or horn of our salvation: “And has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of David His servant—” (Lk. 1:69). Like Jehoshaphat and David, Jesus wants you to call upon Him as your Rock of deliverance in times of trouble.
Jehoshaphat proclaims God’s just and holy character to boost the Jews’ faith. To prevent the Jews from feeling prideful, Jehoshaphat pleaded in humility for God to act as a just God to save His people: “10 Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), 11 see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.’’ 13 All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives and their children.” (2 Chr. 20:12b-13). Here, Jehoshaphat recognized that the Jews lacked the power to defeat the pagan armies on their own. He recounted how the Jews had obeyed God’s warning not to attack Easu’s descendants in Moab when the Jews wandered through the desert on their way to the Promised Land (Dt. 2:8-9; 2:19). When the Jews reached the Promised Land, the Moabites conspired with Ammonites and Amalekites to oppress them until God delivered them (Jdgs. 3:12-30). Jehoshaphat pleaded for God’s justice in the face of their continued evil acts. He also again recounted Solomon’s prayer of Temple dedication for God to act on their behalf against evil: “23 then hear from heaven and act and judge Your servants, punishing the wicked by bringing his way on his own head and justifying the righteous by giving him according to his righteousness.” (2 Chr. 6:23).
God exalts those who humble themselves before Him. God will humble rulers like Jehoshaphat before He will exalt them: “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, and has exalted those who were humble.” (Lk. 1:52). God will also humble you before He exalts you: “Humble yourselves in the presence of the Lord, and He will exalt you.” (Jam. 4:10). “So that He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.” (Job 5:11). God will also heal a nation when it humbles itself (2 Chr. 7:14). Are you praying for your leaders and nation to repent?
The prophet Jahaziel is led by the Spirit to promise God’s deliverance. In response to Jehoshaphat’s prayers, the Holy Spirit came upon the prophet Jahaziel to promise God’s deliverance: “14 Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; 15 and he said, ‘Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.’” (2 Chr. 20:14-17). As led by the Spirit, the prophet Jahaziel encouraged the people not to be fearful in the face of their far more numerous enemies. God would fight their battles for them. Yet, the people needed to show that they trusted God by having the faith to go to the battlefield instead of cowering in their homes. God later used the prophet Isaiah to promise to the Jews in Judah that they did not need to fear the blasphemous King Sennacherib of Assyria (2 Kgs. 19:6). The Holy Spirit has given you a Spirit of courage, not fear (2 Tim. 1:7). Thus, you don’t need to fear evil.
Never fear your enemy when you do God’s will. Moses also encouraged the Jews not to fear their enemies: “When you go out to battle against your enemies and see horses and chariots and people more numerous than you, do not be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, who brought you up from the land of Egypt, is with you.” (Dt. 20:1). “He shall say to them, ‘Hear, O Israel, you are approaching the battle against your enemies today. Do not be fainthearted. Do not be afraid, or panic, or tremble before them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.’” (Dt. 20:3-4). “The LORD is the one who goes ahead of you; He will be with you. He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Dt. 31:8). If your faith is lacking, God calls upon you to build it up through reading the Word: “[F]aith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” (Ro. 10:17). The next time you fear, recite His promises: “Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand . . . Do not fear, I will help you.” (Is. 41:10, 13). “For I know the plans I have for you . . . plans for welfare and not calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11). “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.” (2 Tim. 1:7). Faith is like a muscle. It can atrophy if you don’t read the Word. Are you reading the Word and praying to build up your faith?
Have faith that God will also protect you when you do His will. God promised to protect the Jews when they acted in faith-led obedience (Dt. 28:1-14). As led by the Holy Spirit, David also promised Solomon that obedience would ensure that their descendants continued to rule on the throne: “4 so that the Lord may carry out His promise which He spoke concerning me, saying, ‘If your sons are careful of their way, to walk before Me in truth with all their heart and with all their soul, you shall not lack a man on the throne of Israel.’” (1 Kgs. 2:4). When the Jews walked with Him, God also promised to cause their enemies to fear them: “I will send My terror ahead of you, and throw into confusion all the people among whom you come, and I will make all your enemies turn their backs to you.” (Ex. 23:27). ‘“This day I will begin to put the dread and fear of you upon the peoples everywhere under the heavens, who, when they hear the report of you, will tremble and be in anguish because of you.’” (Dt. 2:25). You also never need to fear your enemies when you act in faith. Do you trust God to protect you?
Encourage one another in spiritual warfare. God used Jahaziel to encourage the Jews. As a believer, you are commanded to use God’s Word to encourage others each day. “But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called ‘Today,’ so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” (Heb. 3:13). “But I urge you, brethren, bear with this word of exhortation, for I have written to you briefly.” (Heb. 13:22). “Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” (1 Cor. 16:13). “Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who hope in the LORD.” (Ps. 31:24). Are you using God’s Word to encourage those who are in need?
Read God’s Word and pray to let the Holy Spirit guide your actions. God wants you to seek His guidance through prayer and the Word. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.” (Ps. 119:105; 2 Pet. 1:19). When you read God’s Word and pray, the Holy Spirit can speak to you: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” (Jo. 14:16). “But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come.” (Jo. 16:13). Are you reading the Word and praying on a daily basis to allow the Holy Spirit to guide your steps?
Jehoshaphat urged the Jews to trust God’s promises, God then kept His promises. After hearing God’s promise of deliverance, Jehoshaphat humbly gave thanks and exhorted the Jews to trust God’s Word. After promising victory for the Jews, God then showed that He was faithful to keep His Word: “18 Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 The Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel, with a very loud voice. 20 They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.’ 21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.’ 22 When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were routed. 23 For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. 24 When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, garments and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much.” ” (2 Chr. 20:18-25). Jehoshaphat encouraged the people to trust God’s Word when they most likely felt fear. The Jews’ actions showed that they responded by trusting God’s promises. Instead of hiding in their homes or in their trenches, they first praised God and then showed up singing on the battlefield. God then showed that He was faithful to keep His Word. You can trust His promises as well. With faith in God, even the impossible is possible: “And looking at them Jesus said to them, ‘With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”’ (Matt. 19:26; Mk. 10:27). Have you placed your faith in God in the face of the enemy’s attacks?
You also can trust in His promises to you. The accuracy of God’s promises to Jehoshaphat show how you can also trust His promises for you as well. “Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass” (1 Thess. 5:24). “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments;” (Dt. 7:9). “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). He is faithful even when you are not: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). Have you given thanks that you can trust in His faithfulness in your life?
God heard Jehoshaphat’s prayers and defeated the three pagan armies4
The effective fervent prayer of the righteous can accomplish great things. God acted upon Jehoshaphat’s prayers because he first repented. He then prayed fervently and in faith: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” (Ja. 5:16). In a similar way, God heard Elijah’s prayers to both stop and later restart the rain in Israel: “17 Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the earth for three years and six months. 18 Then he prayed again, and the sky poured rain and the earth produced its fruit.” (Ja. 5:17-18). God also wants you to pray fervently to Him to intervene when you need deliverance.
Plea as an intercessor for God to help others. God honored Jehoshaphat’s prayers as an intercessor for the nation of Judah. Another man of great faith, Abraham, also used his faith to plead with God as an intercessor to spare the innocent in Sodom and Gomorra (Gen. 18:23). God spared the Jewish nation in response to Moses’ faithful prayers after they made the golden calf (Ex. 32:11-14). He again spared the Jews in response to Moses’ prayers after they rebelled at the edge of the Promised Land (Nu. 14:18-22). God again spared the Jews in response to the prayers of Moses and Aaron after Korah, 250 men of renown, and then the 14,700 rebelled (Nu. 16:21-24). As an intercessor, Samuel promised to continue to pray for the people’s sins (1 Sam. 12:23). David also prayed as an intercessor for God to spare the Jews after 70,000 men across all of Israel died in a plague that came about because of David’s sins (2 Sam. 24:17). Elijah also cried out to God in faith for God to raise a widow’s son from the dead (1 Kgs. 17:21-22.) Jonah also made a plea as an intercessor when his disobedience caused the men in his boat to suffer (Jo. 1:12). The apostles also continually prayed for others (2 Tim. 1:3; Col. 1:9; Eph. 1:16). “as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, . . .” (1 Thess. 3:10). You are part of Jesus’ holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). As His appointed priest, you too have the power of intercessory prayer. Yet, it doesn’t work if you lack faith. “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, . . .” (Jam. 1:6). Are you praying as an intercessor for those whose in need?
The people praise God in gratitude, and God blesses the Jews with peace. In response to God’s deliverance, Jehoshaphat led the people in joyful praise, gratitude, and worship: “26 Then on the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the Lord. Therefore they have named that place ‘The Valley of Beracah’ until today. 27 Every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. 28 They came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres and trumpets to the house of the Lord. 29 And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. 30 So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides.” (2 Chr. 20:26-30). Because the Jews acted with faith and gratitude, God blessed them with peace and the respect of their enemies.
Be filled with joyful praise. When God delivers you, you should also give Him praise: “To you I shall offer a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and call upon the name of the Lord, I shall pay my vows to the Lord.” (Ps. 116:1, 17-18). “ . . . I will render thank offerings to You. For you have delivered my soul from death.” (Ps. 56:12-13; 116:8). “. . .Let them also offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, and tell of His works with joyful singing.” (Ps. 107:1, 2, 22). “in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thess. 5:18). “always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father;” (Eph. 5:20). Are you giving God praise for His deliverance?
Despite God’s deliverance, Jehoshaphat returns to his old sins. God also blessed Jehoshaphat with a long reign. Yet, over time, Jehoshaphat became complacent in his walk and returned to many of his old sins: “31 Now Jehoshaphat reigned over Judah. He was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-five years. And his mother’s name was Azubah the daughter of Shilhi. 32He walked in the way of his father Asa and did not depart from it, doing right in the sight of the LORD. 33The high places, however, were not removed; the people had not yet directed their hearts to the God of their fathers. 34Now the rest of the acts of Jehoshaphat, first to last, behold, they are written in the annals of Jehu the son of Hanani, which is recorded in the Book of the Kings of Israel. 35After this Jehoshaphat king of Judah allied himself with Ahaziah king of Israel. He acted wickedly in so doing. 36So he allied himself with him to make ships to go to Tarshish, and they made the ships in Ezion-geber. 37Then Eliezer the son of Dodavahu of Mareshah prophesied against Jehoshaphat saying, ‘Because you have allied yourself with Ahaziah, the LORD has destroyed your works.’ So the ships were broken and could not go to Tarshish.” (2 Chr. 20:31-37). God did not see tolerance of pagan idolatry as virtue. Indeed, He ordered the Jews to “smash” the pagan altars in the Promised Land (Ex. 34:13; Dt. 7:5). Jehoshaphat had also seen how idolatry had become a hook that had led the nation and its leaders back into sin. Jehoshaphat, however, allowed idols to return. His mistake in tolerating pagan idols created a foothold for Baal worship to enter Judah. Jehoshaphat also failed to learn from his mistakes following his marriage and military alliance with Ahab. Because his son was now married to Ahab’s daughter, another mistake that would soon haunt Judah, Jehoshaphat saw no problem forming a new alliance with Ahab’s son and successor, Ahaziah. God had to send the prophet Eliezar to rebuke him for this new alliance. God does not want you to make the same mistakes. When He delivers you, He wants you to remain vigilant in your walk.
Be vigilant and persevere for God when you face a victory or defeat. Since the time period of the judges, the Jews had fallen into a familiar cycle of sin (Jdgs. 2:18-19). The enemy seeks to bring you down when you become complacent. Thus, you must remain vigilant: “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Pet. 5:8). Your faith in Jesus should also cause you to run the race and persevere in both good and bad times: “Therefore, . . . let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith . . .” (Heb. 12:1-2). “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:14). “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Tim. 4:7). The kind of perseverance is spiritual and not physical: “for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come (1 Tim. 4:8). Never let your success cause you to become complacent.
God will bless those who persevere for Him. If you can persevere through your trials, God will bless you: “Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him.” (Jam. 1:12). Have you given Jesus a reason to bless you in this area?