Scripture Reading: Deuteronomy 31:6
Let us begin today’s reflection with the words of St. John Paul 11 “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.” What are you afraid of? Fears attack the most precious parts of our lives and keep us from living the life meant for us. God wants to help us overcome our darkest fears if only we can have faith in His word. In 2 Chronicles 20, the armies of Moab, Ammon, and Edom were on the move to Jerusalem. Moab and Ammon being descendants of Lot and Edom of Esau, were not going to Jerusalem to celebrate family reunion; it was a mission to end the story of the Israelites.
These three nations shared a common boundary with Israel and Judah on the east and south, and since the reigns of David and Solomon, they had off-and-on been subject to the kings of Israel, paying a tribute tax and providing forced labor. But it had been over 60 years since Solomon’s death, and Israel had split into two kingdoms. Her strength was divided. And the Northern kingdom was weakened from its battles with Syria. The time was ripe. If they joined forces now, these kin could crush the army of Judah and plunder King Jehoshaphat’s wealth. Jehoshaphat understood the wind of the impending attack, but his army was like a sandcastle facing a large breaker. The kingdom of Judah would be swept away unless he got some very strong help. Now, forget for the moment that you know the fairytale- like ending to the story. What would it have been like to be Jehoshaphat? Bearing down on him was a brutal death for himself, everyone he loves, and tens of thousands of his people, everyone looking up to him to do something to save them.
Jehoshaphat’s options were limited. He might have tried to negotiate surrender which was likely to be turned down. And even if accepted, it still probably mean his death and Judah’s destruction. He might have quickly sent a pile of money and promises of servitude to Syria or Egypt, but there really wasn’t much time. Besides, he remembered his father, Asa’s costly mistake. As a younger king Asa had cried out to the Lord for deliverance when his small army faced one million Ethiopian soldiers and God had miraculously answered him (2 Chronicles 14). But in later years Asa abandoned that trust and forged an alliance with Syria and God disciplined him severely for it (2 Chronicles 16:1–10).
The wonderful thing about Jehoshaphat was that he really did trust the Lord and believed his promises. He did believe God could rescue Judah. He wanted to honor God by his trust and, in this case, he didn’t have many alternatives. So Jehoshaphat gathered the people of Judah in Jerusalem for a fast. They stood before the temple and the king, in an act of great leadership, pleaded their case before the Lord. We are powerless to save ourselves. But when we look to God and call on Him for deliverance from the impending judgment, He brings about a salvation beyond our wildest imagination.
Listen to God’s answer to Jehoshaphat’s prayer: “You 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.” (2 Chronicles 20:17). God answered Jehoshaphat’s faith-filled prayer by throwing the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Edom into confusion until they slaughtered one another. Jehoshaphat and his choir-led army never had to lift a sword. And it took them three days to carry the plunder back home. God’s word to you through this story, in all the crises you face, is this: “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15).
1. Thank God for today’s reflection.
2. Declare this: No evil shall befall me in the name of Jesus.
3. Pray with Psalm 91 meditatively.
Exercise: Declare this: I will not be afraid for the Lord is my Confidant. (7 times).
Memory verse: Deuteronomy 1:29