(2 Chronicles 20: 1-30)
Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. (verse1)
Destruction was staring at King Jehoshaphat when he received the news. A great multitude was coming to make war with the tribe of Judah. Just a few months back, he was in a similar battle where he narrowly escaped with his life. Now this. An impossibly inescapable situation. The odds were stacked against the people of God. The battle was about to break and the hearts of the people were in fear. This is one of those moments when God reveals His strength and power in and through His people. Defeat was sure, but certainly not with God.
King Jehoshaphat was afraid. But he refused to give in to fear. He’s been in similar situations before. He knew exactly what to do – he turned his face towards God. He called for a fast all throughout Judah. You don’t go hungry before a battle, do you? This is utter foolishness in the eyes of the enemy. But this is exactly where and how hope arises in the hearts of the humble totally dependent on God.
Hope is knowing that God gives power to the powerless.
There are times in life we feel like we are aimlessly drifting through a dark long tunnel without end. Sometimes we find ourselves pressed and pushed to a corner with no way out. Crushed in all sides, we feel trapped and drained. If we allow it, fear will finally take us to the pit of helplessness and resignation.
Fear becomes real when we make it the ultimate reality. The people of God, however, have a far greater truth that confronts and silences fear. It may appear foolish to bend our knees and cry out to the heavens when we can already hear the bombs exploding and gunfire at a distance. Going to war with fasting is a sure recipe for defeat even before the battle starts. Yet Jehoshaphat turned his heart to seek the Lord and God answered. When we choose to turn toward Him, knowing that we are helpless, we are posturing ourselves to experience His power invading our hearts and circumstances.
The king stood in the assembly, full of faith, as he boldly recounted God’s history and covenant with His people. He remembered the battle where he could have gotten killed and how God delivered him. A horde pursued to kill him mistaking him for the king of Israel. But he cried to God and the Lord saved him. He knew his God. He had experienced His faithfulness through tough times. Knowing your God always position you to a place of hope. Remembering what He has done, your testimonies, others’ testimonies, will inspire you to desire more and believe for more.
Hope is remembering Who God is and our history with Him.
Hope allows us to see our situation from His perspective and through His faithfulness. Jehoshaphat anchored his hope in God and His covenant with His people that He had consistently displayed through His mighty deeds. Those who steward the testimonies of God and keep them close to their hearts, possess a deeper sense of hope and confidence. Even in the face of danger, nothing can change and challenge the faithfulness of God. This is the assurance and the bedrock of our victory.
Hope is standing our ground and fixing our eyes on God alone.
O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.” (verse12)
King Jehoshaphat shows us that in everything, perspective matters. We don’t always know what to do but we can always keep our eyes fixed on God. There are times when we have to wait for His instructions. There are times we have to take action because He has already spoken the Word. At all times, we need to hear Him and see His face despite our external circumstances. King David said it this way, “One thing, I have asked of the Lord, that I shall seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). The moment we see His face and hear His voice, our circumstances pale in the revelation of His greatness and glory. In life, what overwhelms us will shape us. To cultivate hope, we have to turn our gaze to Him and be overwhelmed by His goodness.
Hope arise as we hear His Voice.
“Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. (verse15)
The Word of God releases faith and supernatural courage. War is at hand. There’s no other option but to face it. But first things first – seek the face of God. Through a prophet, God declared that the battle is His’ not theirs. Yet He wants them to witness it and be part of the unfolding of His faithfulness and power. “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out and face them, for the Lord is with you” (verse 17). This is hope, knowing that God was with them. Even when they are surrounded by the enemy or thrown in the fiercest battle, His presence surrounds them and the victory is guaranteed.
When the prophet finished speaking, the king and all of the people bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord. The sons of Levites led all to sing praises to God with a loud voice. Worship is both an act of surrender and celebration. Bowing down our hearts before the Almighty is a sign of humility and trust in who He is and acknowledging that He is all in all in our lives. Hope knows that once He has spoken, it is done!
Hope arise in the place of worship.
We can only arise in hope when we learn to bend our knees. Before His majesty and glory, we see our circumstances bow down to His will. Our battles are won first in the secret place where we surrender everything to the Victorious One.
They went to war with the ‘praisers’ and worshippers at the forefront singing “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” Our greatest weapon of hope in the midst of impossible situation is knowing and declaring that He is good and His love endures forever. Fear has no place in the heart that is full of love and praises to Him Who is good and faithful.
Remember the wall of Jericho? A massive wall where 4 chariots can race on top, crumbled in a moment, not with a 21st century nuclear bomb, but with a shout from the people of God. The power of God was released in an act of obedience. They declared that God has given them the city, and so it was done. Something supernatural happens when our prayers and our declarations are in alignment with the heart of God and His nature.
As the dust settled, there was not one single arrow shot nor swords unsheathed. It was God’s battle, indeed. The people of Judah arrived in the wilderness to see the enemies totally wiped out. The only job left was to collect the spoils of war. To describe the spoils as too much is an understatement; it took them three days to collect anything of use or precious. Oftentimes, our abundance is made available when we choose to stand up and confront our circumstances armed with the goodness of God.
Hope arise when we turn our eyes on Him.
Hope arise when we bend our knees.
Hope arise when we praise His name.
Hope arise when we see God’s lovingkindness.
Let your hope arise.