Jumping Jehoshaphat. What do we do now? - Chris Reynolds

Trusting God is not always easy. Well, I suppose it is easy when things are going my way, or if my desire matches His desire for my life.

But, if you interject a failing economy, a strained relationship, a hard choice, or poor health, then it can be more challenging. After all, what does it really mean to trust God?

Is it merely saying the words? Is it being a member of a church? Is it saying that I am a Christian?

There is an amazing story in the Old Testament book of II Chronicles. It is the account of Jehoshaphat and the people of Israel. They followed their leader and trusted God to deliver them from a seemingly impossible situation.

The people of Israel were surrounded by three armies, who had allied against them. There would have been cause for worry if the opponent had been any one of the armies. But united, the threat was overwhelming. Israel was facing an impossible situation. The Scripture says in chapter 20, verse 2, "Some came to Jehoshaphat, saying 'a great multitude is coming against you ... '"

Jehoshaphat's initial reaction is quite expected. The Bible says that he was afraid. Who could blame him? He is the leader of a group of people, and they are in imminent danger. It is not Jehoshaphat's initial reaction that defines him. It is what follows that sets him apart and defines him as a man who trusts God.

In verse 3, after we learn that Jehoshaphat is afraid, it says that "he set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah." When we find ourselves in an impossible situation, we must begin by seeking the Lord. Jehoshaphat did not panic. He did not grab his weapon. He prayed. He called out to God, and he and the people of Judah sought His direction for the situation.

As Jehoshaphat was praying with his people, he reminded them of God's faithfulness in the past and declared they would trust Him in the present.

Jehoshaphat sought the Lord, Then, in verse 12, he confessed his need. He told the Lord, "For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do ... " Jehoshaphat was very specific. He did not pray for the weather or generic blessings. He asked God to protect them in THIS situation and to give them instructions on how to deal with the situation at hand.

In the latter part of verse 12, we learn the key to dealing with the difficult situations of life. Jehoshaphat told the Lord that they were powerless and did not know what to do, but "our eyes are on you." Some time ago, I learned this phrase: "When you do not know what to do, do what you know."

Jehoshaphat did not know what to do about the armies that were coming against him and the people of Judah, but he did know that God had been faithful and protected them in the past. So, in the middle of the danger, he did not panic. He put his focus on the Lord.

After Jehoshaphat finished praying, the Scripture teaches that God began to speak through a man named Jehaziel. Jehaziel told the people not to panic and that God would deliver them. In fact, Jehaziel goes so far as to say in verse 17, "You will not have to fight in this battle." Now Jehoshaphat has a dilemma. Does he respond with what feels right and go into battle with his warriors? Or does he respond with faith and let the Lord fight the battle for them?

Verse 20b tells us that he responded in faith. He told the people of Judah, "Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe in His prophets and you shall prosper." This took tremendous faith.

Jehoshaphat was about to send his people out against an allied army that was capable of obliterating his people, not with the warriors in front, but with the choir leading the way.

Verse 22 states that when "they began to sing and to praise," the Lord set ambushes against the enemies of his people and that they defeated one another. The allies became enemies, and God's people were spared. By faith, they gave God thanks before the victory was theirs.

As we face difficult days, let's follow the example of Jehoshaphat. When we do not know what to do, let's do what we know and seek the Lord.

Rev. Chris Reynolds is pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Christian Academy in Jonesboro.