Divine Deliverance

“As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” – 2 Chronicles 20:22,23 I love how the Lord always exceeds our expectations. We saw yesterday that Jehoshaphat and the Judean army set out to face a trio of rogue nations in a posture of worship. Having heard from the Holy Spirit that they would be granted victory over their enemies — something that seemed humanly impossible — they confidently took God at His Word, and boy, did He show up! Because ancient troops were like desert raiders who had the traits of pirates or Vikings, they were rough and

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Praise Precedes Victory

“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.’” – 2 Chronicles 20:21 After Jahaziel prophesied that Judah would win over the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir, King Jehoshaphat and his troops marched into war. However, instead of going entrenched in gear and combat strategy, they moved toward their enemies worshipping the Lord. So certain were they that God would make good on His promise to deliver them that they were confident enough to thank Him before it happened. And while we tend to think of conflict and struggle as solemn, the truth is that our greatest battles are often won from a posture of joyful praise. No matter how dire things look, the

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Whose Voice Are You Heeding?

“Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” – 2 Chronicles 20:14,15 As the citizens of Judah gathered in the temple to pray about the impending invasion of their land by the nations of Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir, they were expectantly awaiting the Lord’s answer. Interestingly, it came in the form of a prophecy that was spoken through a man named Jahaziel. As he was overcome by the Spirit, this faithful priest foretold that God would give the Jews victory over

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Inspirational Leadership

“The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him.” – 2 Chronicles 20:4 When Jehoshaphat heard that three enemy nations were coming against Judah, he didn’t strive and struggle to come up with a plan — He simply looked to the Lord. In fact, he asked the people to pray with him, and their response to his summons was overwhelming. After they heard the voice of their leader, citizens began pouring into Jerusalem from every town in the region, and when they gathered at the temple in fasting and worship, their solidarity was met with divine intervention. Though we’ll talk more about how God showed up in their midst tomorrow, first, I think it’s important to examine the manner in which the crowd responded to their king’s request. Though he had recently lost an important battle,

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Overwhelming Obstacles

“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat.” – 2 Chronicles 20:1 Poor Jehoshaphat. It wasn’t long after he barely escaped with his life in the battle against Ramoth-Gilead that three surrounding nations decided to come after him and attack. Because they wanted the wealth that Judah had, they sought to take advantage of his weakness and “get him” while he was down. He must have been terrified when he heard the news, because his enemies — Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir — all had huge armies and lots of manpower. On the contrary, his troops were demoralized and weakened from the war they just faught. It must have looked overwhelming from his perspective, yet history says that the enormous odds probably worked in the king’s favor. This is because, instead of “battening down the hatches,” forging alliances with other countries,

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Bumped and Bruised

“When the chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat, they thought, ‘This is the king of Israel.’ So they turned to attack him, but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the Lord helped him. God drew them away from him.” – 2 Chronicles 18:31 Yesterday, we learned that Jehoshaphat, the King of Judah, and Ahab, the King of Israel, banded together to attack the country of Ramoth-Gilead, despite knowing that it was dangerous. Because Ahab was full of pride, he refused to heed the words of the prophet Micaiah, who foretold that he would lose his life in the war. When the moment of conflict came, he dressed Jehoshaphat in his clothes to detract attention from himself, and his “friend” nearly died at the hands of the enemy. However, in the heat of the battle, Jehoshaphat cried desperately to the Lord, and he was saved. Because he took a humble stance, God had mercy on

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Deception Brings Destruction

“But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First seek the counsel of the Lord.’” – 2 Chronicles 18:4 Being a good leader means we may have to hear things that we don’t want to hear. This was certainly the case for Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and Ahab, King of Israel. As we learned yesterday, their two kingdoms were separate; however, once Judah began to enjoy great prosperity, Jehoshaphat wanted to align himself with Israel for the sake of protecting his blessings. There’s strength in numbers, and he knew that if he had the support of his northern neighbor, he would stand a better chance should another nation move in and try to capture his wealth. Unfortunately, King Ahab was not very wise — he was full of himself, and he wanted to utilize the manpower he found in his alliance with Judah to attack the northern country of

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The Reward in Righteousness

“There is, however, some good in you, for you have rid the land of the Asherah poles and have set your heart on seeking God.” – 2 Chronicles 19:3 Jehoshaphat is one of my favorite Old Testament characters. He was the King of Judah, which was the southern part of the Promised Land, with Israel being a separate country to the north. Though they were originally one nation, they split in two in 930 B.C. because the people wouldn’t accept Solomon’s son Rehoboam as king. After they were divided, their relationship was unpredictable — sometimes they were at peace and sometimes they were fighting. They were also in different places where it came to ridding their land of pagan practices. The Caananites in the region lived as enemies of the Lord, and they worshipped relics known as Baal statues and Asherah poles. Though such objects seem harmless enough when we

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