2 Chronicles 20:1-30 outlines one of the greatest achievements in the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. It’s also one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament. It’s the story of Judah’s defeat of the Moabites, Ammonites, and Edomites, who had banded together to attack Judah. Judah’s victory in this battle resulted in a kingdom that was at peace. It’s an amazing, inspiring story. But more than being just an inspiring story it points to some key things that the Holy Spirit is prompting me to talk about, things that are keys to victory in our lives.
Jehoshaphat had received the alarming news that this vast army of the combined enemies of the nation of Judah was quickly marching against it. The news terrified Jehoshaphat but it also put into motion some keys, some actions on the part of Jehoshaphat and Judah, that resulted in victory. The first key is found in verse 3:
Jehoshaphat was terrified by this news and begged the Lord for guidance.
Jehoshaphat’s first response to the alarming news he received was to get on his knees and seek the Lord in prayer, asking the Lord for guidance. This immediately led to Jehoshaphat’s next response, also in verse 3:
He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.
Rather than try in his own strength to come up with a battle plan, Jehoshaphat first sought God’s divine guidance and then ordered all of Judah to fast. As a good and godly leader, Jehoshaphat set the example for the people of Judah, which led to the response that we see in verse 4:
So people from all the towns of Judah came to Jerusalem to seek the Lord’s help.
All of Judah began to seek the Lord’s help. So, the first two keys that led to Judah’s victory were prayer and fasting. In verses 6 through 12, we see that Jehoshaphat prayed an incredibly powerful prayer. He admitted that they were powerless to stop the enemy that was about to attack them but he knew that the Lord was not, the Lord was powerful and mighty, and He would hear and rescue them. When Jehoshaphat finished praying, the Holy Spirit came upon a Levite named Jahaziel and he began to prophecy, saying:
“Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!”
This prophetic word led to the next key to victory: praise and worship. Jehoshaphat and all of Judah began praising and worshiping the Lord. They knew that He was on their side, that He would ensure their victory over the enemies who sought to destroy them. And then, the next morning, Jehoshaphat appointed the singers to lead the army of Judah as they went out to meet the enemy. Not the soldiers, not the most skilled archers. He sent the worship team out in front! They would fight not with the weapons of the world, but with the heavenly weapon of praise. The result? The Lord caused the armies of Judah’s enemies to start fighting among themselves. When the army of Judah arrived, not a single one of the enemy was left alive. What an amazing story!
So, how can we can apply this to our lives? Just as Judah had enemies that sought to destroy it, we have an enemy who seeks to destroy us and he will do whatever he can to cause us to despair, to become discouraged, and to cringe in fear when facing difficult circumstances. When that happens, we need to follow the example we see in 2 Chronicles 20. We need to use the keys to victory that Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah used: prayer, fasting, praise and worship. We need to seek the Lord’s guidance through prayer and fasting and we need to give Him the praise, worshiping Him for the victory that, through Him, will come.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.