Jehoshaphat Stands Firm and Single-minded.
Despite seasons of doubt and double-mindedness, the best was yet to come for Jehoshaphat. His righteous government and religious systems were in place, and his relationship with God was on track. Then, one fateful day, three foreign armies attacked Judah. Jehoshaphat was alarmed, but He knew God’s Word—and this time, he stood unwaveringly. He gathered the people to fast, pray, and seek the Lord according to 2 Chronicles 6:
When Your people go out to battle against their enemies, wherever You send them, and when they pray to You toward this city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name, then hear from heaven their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause.— 2 Chronicles 6:34–35, NLT
From that place of obedience to God’s written instructions, Jehoshaphat stood before the community of Judah and Jerusalem in front of the new courtyard at the temple of the Lord. He prayed and decreed to God who God was and why he and God’s people were there:
O Lord, God of our ancestors, you alone are the God who is in heaven. You are ruler of all the kingdoms of the earth. You are powerful and mighty; no one can stand against you! O our God, did you not drive out those who lived in this land when your people Israel arrived? And did you not give this land forever to the descendants of your friend Abraham? Your people settled here and built this Temple to honor your name. They said, “Whenever we are faced with any calamity such as war, plague, or famine, we can come to stand in your presence before this Temple where your name is honored. We can cry out to you to save us, and you will hear us and rescue us.”— 2 Chronicles 20:6–9, NLT
In a time of uncertainty when war with surrounding nations was imminent, Jehoshaphat unwaveringly trusted God for guidance. This is what it means to have an undivided heart, to stand firm and be “a nail in a sure place.”
Jehoshaphat had seen God’s faithfulness in the past and knew He could be trusted. Jehoshaphat declared God’s Word to Him in the presence of God’s people and let God honor His own words and character by His actions. Then, he made his petition for rescue. Despite all the warriors and wealth that Jehoshaphat possessed, he trusted the Lord alone for victory. He sought the power and throne of God before the power and thrones of men. Not knowing his next steps, Jehoshaphat then cried out to God:
We don’t know what to do, but we are looking to you for help— 2 Chronicles 20:12, NLT
As the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their families, the Spirit of the Lord came upon a man named Jahaziel who declared:
Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!— 2 Chronicles 20:13–17, NLT
God responded to Jehoshaphat’s obedience by giving assurance of the victory. Twice in this passage, God told Jehoshaphat and the people not to be afraid or discouraged, and twice He reminded them the victory was His. The Lord, more committed in love than mere people, because He is love, promised that His presence would not leave them. He reminded His people that though no foreign king was fighting alongside them, nor any sidekick armies, God Himself was executing His own battle plan; He would fight on behalf of a people whose hearts were fully committed to Him (2 Chron. 16:9). God was with them. Which, by definition, means He was not with the enemy.
Jehoshaphat responded to the Lord, and the people followed their king’s leadership in a beautiful act of honor toward God:
Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.— 2 Chronicles 20:18–19, NLT
This was no ordinary shout; it was a shout of victory to the Lord. It was a shout of verbal agreement that God’s words were true, and He was faithful to do what He said He would do. It was full of faith, triumph, and celebration, just as David described in Psalm 47:1: “Shout unto God with the voice of triumph” (KJV).
Early the next morning Judah’s army went out toward the battleground as God had directed. Jehoshaphat said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed” (2 Chron. 20:20 NLT).
If they believed God and His Word—if they remained loyal to God, unwavering in uncertain circumstances—Jehoshaphat encouraged the people they would be able to follow through on God’s instructions and stand firm against their enemies.
Praise – God’s Ambush
Jehoshaphat positioned singers and worshippers in front of the battle procession to praise the Lord. He believed God would do what He said and was honoring Him with praise before it happened. Jehoshaphat understood that the moment God spoke His instruction it was already completed. He trusted God, who does not lie or change His mind, knowing He would make good on the words He spoke (Num. 23:18–19 NKJV).
Jehoshaphat’s trust in God’s character enabled him to celebrate the victory that had been released in the unseen realm even before it manifested in the natural realm on the battlefield. Like David, Jehoshaphat could declare, “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! His faithful love endures forever” (1 Chron. 16:34 NLT).
The character of God is faithful love. In the story of Jehoshaphat, this faithful love was toward God’s people, and it would endure forever no matter what they faced.
Praise is a declaration of the Lord’s awesome and glorious character. Thanksgiving is the appreciation of that character, and what it accomplishes. Psalm 22:3 says, “God inhabits the praises of His people” (NKJV). The word “inhabit” is the Hebrew word yashab (Strong’s H3427) and means, “to sit down within as judge in ambush and quiet; to dwell and remain; to lurk.” God had already promised He was with Judah. He had already chosen sides. He was dwelling within “the praises of His people” waiting to release judgment against Israel’s enemies:
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The Ammonites and Moabites rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.
When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So, Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berakah, where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called the Valley of Berakah to this day.
Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.
The fear of God came on all the surrounding kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.— 2 Chronicles 20:22–30, NIV
The battle was already won, but judgement was not released until the people began to worship the Lord, trusting Him for what He had promised. Praise is what God uses to “ambush” His enemies. Jehoshaphat and Israel learned what it meant to believe God and stand firm until God’s love and promises manifested in victory.
From Double-Minded to Single-Minded
God is love and wants what is right and holy for you. His commandments are where the culture of heaven collides with earth. When you act on His instructions, kingdom culture is manifested on earth as it is in heaven, reflecting the heart of the true King of the kingdom. The transformation of Jehoshaphat’s kingdom reflected what was going on in his heart.
Jehoshaphat was a man devoted to God. He went from being double-minded and divided in loyalty to being single-minded. He and his people believed God and stood firm. This is a man who became like a nail in a sure place. In doing so, God was glorified. His people were exalted above their enemies, they reaped the spoils, and they enjoyed great peace as a nation.
God’s mercy to you is no different than His mercy to Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. He longs for you to trust Him for what you cannot see, to rejoice in the victory He has already won, and to worship Him through praise that He might release righteous judgment on His enemies.
This teaching devotional is part of a series based on Tyrelle Smith's book: From Double-Minded To Destiny. Each week we will publish more on how you can remove doubts, insecurities and fulfill God's plan for your life in a greater way.