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A GOOD KING AT HIS BEST
‘Jehoshaphat … set himself to seek the Lord.’
2 Chronicles 20:3
I. In this lesson we have a scene in which Jehoshaphat is observed at his best, occupying the throne of Judah as every human king should have occupied it—that is, as the vicegerent of God, Who was at all times the Almighty, invisible King of Israel. The king, in the midst of the vast assembly, standing in the house of the Lord, publicly implored God’s protection and help.
II. Such a prayer as Jehoshaphat made ( vv. 6–12) is well worthy of meditation.—Notice how he recognised the sovereignty, omnipotence, faithfulness, and presence of God, and how he confessed the people’s need, their helplessness, their ignorance, and their faith: ‘We have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon Thee.’
III. Such praying always brings results.—Instantly God answered; and Jahaziel, upon whom the Spirit of the Lord had fallen, addressed the king and the assembled multitude in these words: ‘Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ They were told that on the morrow they were to go down against their enemies, although they would not be called upon to do any fighting. They were simply to be there to see the salvation of the Lord, and to rejoice in it. At this the people fell on their faces to worship, and the Levites stood up to sing praises to God. Early the next morning the army started out, headed by a band of singers, who sang as they went as though the battle had already been won.
IV. They were walking by faith, and not by sight.—God had said victory should be theirs, and they were reckoning it an accomplished fact. What an example for us is this picture! Satan’s hosts combine against us, but if our heart and life are right with God, so that we can pray the effectual fervent prayer of the righteous man, and then count the thing as accomplished, and praise God by faith that the victory is ours, it shall be ours without conflict or loss, and we shall be greatly enriched thereby.
A WORD TO THE DISCOURAGED
‘O our God, … 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
I. Human helplessness in the presence of overwhelming foes is an everyday experience—more especially to the Christian worker. His foes are so real and so strong, and his resources apparently so few and so poor: just a few words out of a Book, a few truths that men might doubt, a few experiences of his own about which he might be mistaken. But to him comes the message which the prophet brought to Jehoshophat: ‘The battle is not yours, but God’s.’ Think of the foes which Christianity has to face—not merely the known vices, but the contented ignorance, the don’t-care indifference and the stolid irresponsiveness of the people. The army of Judah had no foes to compare with those that confront Christianity to-day. These enemies avoid a pitched battle: they hide themselves in a thick fog, and we do not know where to find them. No wonder the clergy feel discouraged.
II. But, after all, the resources of the Christian are not limited by what men see.—At the back of the praying man are tremendous resources, invisible, it may be, but real. The praying man is the strongest fighting man. Prayer never lost a battle. Discouraged and depressed, the Christian rises from his knees with fresh hopes and renewed energy.
‘Needs and perils, beyond human aid or self-help, are God’s opportunities. They bring home to us our weakness and dependence. By them God invites the appeal of trust, and so makes His relationship to us, as our Almighty, pitying Father, felt. Moral education could scarcely go forward but for the trials of human life. The Apostle Paul saw this so clearly that he gloried in his infirmities as occasions for the display of Christ’s power. Whatever brings the reality of Divine aid nearer to our feeling lifts us into communion with God, and is cheaply purchased by the strain which the presence of want or danger puts upon us.’
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Nisbet, James. "Commentary on 2 Chronicles 20". The Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent