Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Name to Remember

What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Jehoshaphat?

Ever since my friend Pete Palmer explained his simple formula for Bible reading (Read it, from the beginning to the end, and when you've finished, start over) I have been working my way through the Bible. It's a slow process because of life's and my own distractions, but lately I have had such a craving for it.

I love this craving.

I wasn't so excited to reach 2 Chronicles, though. I had just plowed my way through all those Hebrew names in I and II Kings and 1st Chronicles, and it looked like this book was going to be more of the same. I try so hard not to skip over their names - these people really lived and really heard from my God! I want to know what God did in their lives and how it could apply to me today.

After meeting him briefly in the books of Kings, I once again came across King Jehoshaphat. Immediately I said to myself, "Jumpin' Jehoshaphat!" Where did that expression come from? I really have no idea and still don't, even after reading more of his story. I also had no idea how much his life would relate to my own, even if on a much, much smaller scale. I won't tell his entire story, but here's the part that stopped me in my tracks.

Jehoshaphat is surrounded by enemies from the East. In fact, 2 Chronicles 20:2 describes it as "a vast multitude" there to oppose him. Understandably, Jehoshaphat was afraid. Instead of sounding the battle cry and sending every able-bodied man to arms, Jehoshaphat resolved to seek the Lord. He didn't call all of Judah to arms, he called all of Judah together to fast and pray.

Wow. Fear that prompts prayer, not panic.

I am so thankful they recorded his prayer to God. There he stood in the assembly of Judah at the Lord's temple and prayed.

I think he needed to remind himself and all of Judah exactly WHO they were praying to, because he started off listing exactly who God is and what God has already done. He used "You" and "Your" repeatedly to describe the people, the land, and the deeds done in His name. At the end of his prayer, he says this:

We are powerless before this vast multitude that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to You.

Just. Like. That.

Instant surrender to God. Instant acknowledgment of the truth.

We are powerless.

I am powerless.

I am powerless over the bills I have to pay and the mistakes I've made to get us in debt.

I am powerless over the lives of my children and their educations.

I am powerless over my marriage and home.

I am powerless over this world and everything that frightens me.

I am powerless, and I look to You, Lord.

How did he do that? How was Jehoshaphat able to let go and surrender so completely? I guess all that is written about him before chapter 20 gives an answer. He was determined NOT to forget WHO God is and what He can do and what He has promised to do.

I want to surrender like that - instantly and completely.

Even sweeter than the prayer of Jehoshaphat, however, was God's answer. He made sure ALL of Judah heard Him by speaking through Jahaziel, a Levite. His first words were, "Listen carefully." (2 Chronicles 20:15)

I'm definitely listening, here. Isn't it wonderful how God knows exactly what we need to hear? His very next words were, "Do not be afraid or discouraged. . ."

Don't wring your hands. Don't fuss. Don't fret. Do Not.

" . . . for this battle is not yours, but God's."

Not mine.


The entire answer of the Lord is something I want to memorize, but the part engraved on my heart is this from verse 17:

"You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. . . Tomorrow, go out to face them, for the Lord is with you."

Is it any wonder Jehoshaphat and the entire assembly of Judah bowed with their faces to the ground, and then praised the Lord, shouting in a loud voice?

Show up. Stand still. Watch and see what your God can do.

Lord, I don't know what to do except look to You. I'm going to show up, stand still, and watch and see what You will do.


Jessica Leigh said...

Thank you for this.

mitchellfam said...

I needed this reminder today! Jess gave Tyler a big hug for you - I'm sure she told you. We had a great time with him, but wish you could've been there, too. Know how hard it is to have your children far away and not be able to see them. I'm getting ready to taste that again myself very soon. But it won't be long until Tyler is back home again! :-)

DaDaHaZaReJe said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing ... like you I find myself craving the Word. Maybe it's the crazy busyness of this season... maybe it's my great need of Him. Whatever, I thank you for articulating so clearly ideas that float around in my head like the dust bunnies under the beds.

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Jenna Lyn said...

I love this passage! thanks so much for posting!


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