Following the recent post on finding peace, I thought a short case study on a Biblical character might be helpful. We’ll have a look at a well known incident in the life of Jehoshaphat, recorded in 2 Chronicles 20.
Jehoshaphat the king of Judah had a problem – several of Judah’s enemies had allied together to fight them. Judah was under attack by a large army. How did Jehoshaphat and his people deal with this? Did they try to solve the problem themselves, or did they look to God for help?
The response of Jehoshaphat and the people showed that they were trusting in God, their minds were ‘stayed’ on him. So what happened?
- Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast and the people ‘gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD‘ (2 Chronicles 20:4).
- The king then prayed his famous prayer, ‘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‘ (2 Chronicles 20:12).
- Perhaps a bit less well known is what happens next. A chap called Jahaziel stands up and prophesies saying ‘Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s…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 20:14-17).
- When Jehoshaphat and the people heard this, they worshiped God (2 Chronicles 20:18). It seemed an impossible situation, but rather than despairing, or taking things into their own hands, they believed the promise of God, and trusted that he would deliver them as he said he would.
- And he did! God caused the armies that were coming to attack Judah to fight and destroy each other instead (2 Chronicles 20:22-23).
- At the end of this account, there is a striking verse ‘So the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet: for his God gave him rest round about.‘ (2 Chronicles 20:30). Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah were at peace, because they were enabled to trust God and his promises.
At times King Jehoshaphat did some foolish things, at times he allowed the people to sin, but on this occasion, his mind (and the mind of the nation) was ‘stayed’ on God. He rested completely on God, not on his own abilities. And the result…? God gave him ‘rest round about‘, God gave him peace, the promise of Isaiah 26:3 was kept.
This is a practical example of peace in an ‘everyday’ circumstance; it should encourage us to tell God about our everyday concerns and to trust him to help us. The same principles however apply in our spiritual experiences and our relationship with God.
For example, perhaps the one thing more than any which takes away spiritual peace is the feeling of guilt – either when we are first given spiritual life and come to realise our sinfulness, or when we backslide and sin once we are Christians. Like with the prophesy of Jahaziel above, God has said some wonderful things in the Bible about such guilt. If we are able to take him at his word and believe what he says, it brings peace. Listen to Psalm 130 and also look at verses such as 2 Chronicles 7:14, Psalm 86:5, Micah 7:18-20, Acts 2:28, Ephesians 1:7, 1 John 1:9.
[A00080 – 07/07/2018]
A Song of degrees.
1 Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.
2 Lord, hear my voice: let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
3 If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope.
6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.
7 Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.
8 And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.