We read in II Chronicles 20:2 that King Jehoshaphat was told that a vast army was coming against the Jewish people. In fact, three other nations team up to wage war against them. Notice what Jehoshaphat didn’t do in response. He didn’t tell the army to sharpen their swords. He didn’t ask to meet with the most brilliant and strategic minds present. Verse 3 says he inquired of the Lord and he proclaimed a fast for all of Judah, and the people of Judah, verse 4, came together to seek help from the Lord.
The purpose of a fast is to declutter your heart and mind and to focus solely on the Lord. If you are going to have a winning game plan it will result from focusing on the Lord above all else.
God has a plan, a playbook for every battle you face. He has help to give. There is purpose for every conflict, and in order to understand what that is, in order to have the right perspective on the situation, you need to (1.) Inquire of the Lord. That is strategy number one when you are squaring off with the enemy.
When everyone gathered, King Jehoshaphat huddled everyone together and talked to them not about the battle, but he talked to them about the Lord. Isn’t that interesting? He didn’t get everyone together to talk about the enemy, the power of the enemy or the possible strategies of the enemy. He assembled the people and talked about the Lord. Look at verse 6: “Lord, the God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”
Listen, when you are faced with a threat, when conflict comes your way, when people gang up on you, your first response shouldn’t be a threat assessment, but an assessment of your God. Don’t focus on the size of your enemy. (2.) Focus on the size of your God. That is strategy number two.
7 Our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’
Here we see the third strategy from this text. (3.) Declare the victory! Jehoshaphat declared that God would save the people. What an immediate comfort to the Jewish people. They saw their King calm, cool and collected. They didn’t have to question the outcome of this conflict. It was a three-against-one situation. The earthly odds weren’t in their favor, but the fact that they were the people of God was a complete game-changer. Because of whose they were, they could declare the victory ahead of the conflict. I guarantee you, both teams who are playing in the Super Bowl tonight are going into the game confessing they will win. No one who is going to take the field tonight will be saying to themselves, “I just hope we don’t get defeated by a big margin.” Not a chance. They will be high-fiving each other in that locker room as if those Super Bowl rings are already on their fingers.
Listen, nothing positive results from a negative confession. The way you walk through a conflict will be decided by your confession. If you confess that God is for you (Romans 8:31) and no one is any match for Him, you will move towards the battle line with confidence. If you confess that the Lord is your light and your salvation and that you don’t have to be afraid of anything or anyone, Psalm 27:1, you will maintain a spirit of peace and not panic. God is committed to you. His name is on the line. He will give you the victory through the Lord Jesus Christ. Deuteronomy 20:4, For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”
Jehoshaphat continued in verse 12 as he led them in prayer saying, “Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” What a moment! The King led the men of Judah, their wives, and children and verse 13 says, and “little ones” in a prayer of faith to the Lord. Let’s not leave the little ones out of these moments when we can teach them how to face an enemy! Parents, tell your kids you are looking to God for direction and protection. Express your faith in Him to take care of the situation. Let them hear your confidence in Him!
Well, Jehoshaphat finished his prayer, and the Spirit of God tapped another team member. The Holy Spirit empowered Jahaziel to speak. God was getting ready to give them another piece of the strategy and He was going to do it by speaking through someone in their community. 15 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. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”
They weren’t going to just hunker down, huddling together to wait for God to deal with the situation, but they were going to have to march. They were going to have to stand up to this three-nation army. They were going to have to oppose them. Listen, if they didn’t march to the battle line, if they didn’t take up their positions, if they didn’t stand firm, they would not have seen the deliverance of the Lord.
After knowing Who to look to for help, they now understood what they were to do. They had the game plan. They understood the plays they were to execute. There are many Christians today who aren’t prepared for the battle. They don’t know what they are supposed to do. They don’t know what God’s will is in the situation that they are facing, but often, those same people haven’t spent time inquiring of the Lord. They haven’t magnified the Lord in the midst of their situation and stayed focused on what He can do. They haven’t declared their confidence in God to take them to victory. They haven’t spent time in prayer asking what He wants them to do in the situation, and they wonder why they don’t know what to do next.
Jehoshaphat could have said, “Well, alright, let’s roll out. Everyone take your places. Line up in marching formation and let’s move.” After all, they knew what play they were to run. But Jehoshaphat paused the play. He took an extra moment. Verse 18: 18 Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
That impromptu worship service, I believe, led Jehoshaphat to do the next best strategic thing that could be done. As they got ready to march to the battle, King Jehoshaphat appointed people to sing and worship the Lord and to lead the army to meet up with the enemy. Do you understand what was happening? The worship team went ahead of the warriors. That was another level of faith being expressed because if you put the worship team ahead of the warriors, you either are tired of hearing them sing and think having them go first is a great way to knock them off or you believe that the warriors won’t even be necessary if the worshipers are worshipping. I’m going with the second answer.
I see a fourth and final strategy for God’s game plan for His people. They knew what to do, but here we see they realized how they were to do it. They were going to 4. Worship God on the way to the battle. Verse 22: 22 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. 23 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.
Are you catching this? The three nations that united to fight against God’s people wound up fighting against and destroying each other. All of their strategy sessions were for nothing. All of their drills and practices meant nothing. Every plan the enemies had was thwarted. Their playbook was of no consequence. That is incredible, right? I don’t believe it is an overreach to say that worship confounds and confuses the enemy. If you move through your day in a spirit of worship and praise, whatever Satan has plotted against you will be turned back on him. I really believe that.
Not only was the enemy defeated in a supernatural way, but verse 25 says that there was so much plunder to carry off from the battle that it took three days to collect it all. They were delivered from the battle and they received a blessing from the battle. That was quite a victory!
To recap today’s highlights:
In order to discern and execute God’s game plan for your life,
Inquire of the Lord.
Stay focused on the size of your God.
Declare the victory.
Worship your way through the battle.