Jehoshaphat knew that he and the people of Judah were in trouble. According to the narrative, when he received news that a great multitude had come up against them, he was afraid (2 Chronicles 20:1-3a). However, instead of giving in to that fear, he “set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord; and he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah” (v. 3b, AMP). Heeding the voice of their leader, “[the people of] Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; indeed they came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord [longing for Him with all their heart]” (v. 4). They all realized the situation was greater than they could handle so they did not bother trying to come up with a solution. They turned to the only one who could help.
Jehoshaphat stood in the temple and led the nation in prayer: “O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee? Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend forever?” (vv. 6-7). As he continued speaking in intimate terms with the LORD he personally knew, he not only reminded Him that He had given them the land but reiterated, “If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help” (v. 9).
What confidence! When we are in trouble, we will call upon you and we know that you will hear and help! After proclaiming the might and greatness of the LORD, and invoking His relationship with them, the children of His friend Abraham, Jehoshaphat got to the crux of the matter: “And now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee” (vv. 10-12).
As I reflected on these verses, it occurred to me that we are in the same state as the Judahites. As followers of Jesus, it is as if there are more that are against us than there are for us. So may things are out of control. COVID-19, racial discord, spiritual indifference, economic uncertainty, dirty and divisive politics, personal challenges, to name a few. The temptations to find our own solutions are great, but Jehoshaphat turned the people to God with total reliance on Him – we know not what to do, but our eyes are upon thee. It is important to remember that just because we don’t know what to do, doesn’t mean that God doesn’t know either. That is the awesomeness of the God we serve. When overwhelmed, going to Him is the only viable option. He knows exactly what to do.