As a vast horde of Moabites and Ammonites advanced against God’s people, the King of Judah was powerless to save his kingdom. Aware of his limitations, King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord in prayer, calling to mind God’s faithfulness and promises. Examining the King’s response, Alistair Begg reminds us that times of greatest weakness are opportunities to seek the Lord and rely on His might.
1After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites,1 came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom,2 from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). 3Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
5And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. 7Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, 9‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment,3 or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ 10And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— 11behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. 12O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
13Meanwhile all Judah stood before the Lord, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. 14And the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. 15And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God's. 16Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
18Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
When challenging circumstances reveal our weaknesses, it can be tempting to despair. To help us battle discouragement—especially in the face of prolonged trials—Scripture teaches us to view our situations from God’s perspective. When we seek the Lord in prayer and call to mind His faithfulness and promises, we are reminded that He is able to work all things for His glory and our good.
In this series, Alistair Begg explores the lives of several biblical figures who learned that it was actually their limitations that made them most useful in God’s service. As men like Paul, Gideon, and David discovered, honestly recognizing our weaknesses enables us to proclaim the sufficiency of God’s grace and boast in His strength alone. We must not be sidelined by our frailties, knowing that the Lord often calls the least likely individuals to defend His name and minister to His people.
|The Power of Weakness||2 Corinthians 12:1-10|
|The Advantage of Weakness||2 Chronicles 20:1-19|
|Gideon, the Weakest and the Least||Judges 6:1-40|
|Against All Odds||Judges 7:1-21|
|Seeing What David Saw||1 Samuel 17:1-58|
|You Cannot Be Serious?||1 Samuel 17:28|
|It's All About God, Part One||1 Samuel 17:41|
|It's All About God, Part Two||1 Samuel 17:41|
|The Weakness of Power||2 Chronicles 26:1-23|