King Jehoshaphat along with the people of Judah sought God earnestly when faced with a war threat from the Moabites, Ammonites and Meunites. The great multitude that had risen to war against the country along with Jehoshaphat’s guilt over an unnecessary alliance with the wicked King Ahab, invoked a sense of fear and dread over King Jehoshaphat. Despite his military strength the King prepares for the battle ahead by proclaiming a nationwide fast, assembling all his subjects, both young and old at the House of God in Jerusalem and praying to YAHWEH, the God of his fathers. (2 Chronicles 20:1-13)
Pleased with the earnest appeal from the King and the people of Judah, God sends His Spirit to convey an answer to King Jehoshaphat’s prayer. Anointed with this Spirit, Prophet Jahaziel relates God’s answer to Judah’s cry.
God’s response is directed to each of the people assembled together beginning from the house of Judah, going on to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and finally to the King. Though it was King Jehoshaphat who prayed, the Lord addressed the reply to everyone, not only to Jehoshaphat. (2 Chronicles 20:15)
“….be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude; for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). While Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah languish in fear and dread over the enemy, God understands this and chooses to address this before laying down battle plans. His firm assurance soothes every fear and clears their mind to react to the war threat. Secondly, since the people along with their King acknowledged their inability by stating, “….we do not know what to do but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20:12), God steps in and takes complete charge of the battle.
God then proceeds to give a blueprint of their war strategy. He gives directions on when and where the people had to march against the enemy troops. (2 Chronicles 20:16). Having given these instructions the Lord reinforces His earlier assurance saying, “You will not need to fight in this battle…..” (2 Chronicles 20:17). God instructs the people to take their positions, stand still and see the deliverance from the army that had risen against them. As a final assurance, He says, “…the Lord is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:17). That was all that really mattered.
God’s response to King Jehoshaphat’s prayer brought a great calm over the people who worshiped and praised the Lord. The next day, they geared up for the battle, obeying the instructions received from the Lord. The army assembled and the weapon they carried unlike any known before was praise. They marched forward, renewed in body and spirit with the battle cry, “…Give thanks to the Lord, for His mercy and loving kindness endure forever!” (2 Chronicles 20:21)
While the people were busy singing and praising the Lord, God was busy getting the armies that rose against the house of Judah to fight among themselves. (2 Chronicles 20:22,23). Finally when King Jehoshaphat and his troops arrived at the war zone, all that they found was heaps of dead bodies (vs 24). The King and his subjects had to fight none. They only had to gather the spoils of war. This took them 3 days as there was a huge lot of things that the Lord had kept in store for His children. The King and his men called the place Valley of Beracah , meaning blessing for they had indeed been blessed by the Lord. Without stopping in their thanks and praise to God, the King and his people returned to the House of God.
A total reliance on God and complete obedience together with ardent worship was the reason for Judah’s success in this battle. What seemed so daunting became a blessing for God was in it. God is still able to answer your prayer in just the same way if only you pray according to His will and with a desire to obey and praise Him even before the end is known.
Here are two books for further reading on Prayer.
Buy "Power in Prayer: Classic Devotions to Inspire and Deepen Your Prayer Life" by Andrew Murray from Amazon.com
Buy "Prayer" by Philip Yancey from Amazon.com