Written by Paul J Bucknell on August, 25, 2022
2 Chronicles 20:14-19 (4) The Delightful Answer to Prayer
Answers to prayer come when God speaks. (2 Chronicles 20:14-19)
Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.
‘Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you.” And 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. And the Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD God of Israel, with a very loud voice (2 Chr 20:14-19).
2 Chronicles 20:14-19 reveals one of God’s way of working in Old Testament times. Things were different; His people didn’t have the indwelling of the Spirit of God. Nowadays, God speaks directly to our hearts, but in the Old Testament, He sent prophets to tell His people what God wanted them to hear. As the people sought the Lord, the prophet gave an exciting message.
The prophet first communicated God’s care for them and told them not to worry, “Do not fear or be dismayed” (2 Chr 20:15). He told them how the Lord would deliver them. The key here is that God did speak. The great thing about a crisis is that the need and the answer are urgent.
I remember when the rent for our student church was going to increase manyfold. We prayed to the Lord, and we came to an amount we could sensibly handle. God used that situation to alert us to the need for a building of our own, which we now have. God is wise. We can think it is the evil one giving us troubles, and yet God triumphs to accomplish His will—when we seek Him together.
1) God comforts them (2 Chr 20:15)
God’s words of comfort are meaningful. Like a healing stream they pour peace and comfort into our troubled hearts. We are desperate and vulnerable, having no solutions. We then turn to God and hope He hears us. What a relief to hear His Words. He answers in many ways, but often through our times in His Word. What did the people hear?
“Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2 Chr 20:15)
God simply told them that they need not fear or be alarmed. He understood how the many adversaries had evil plans to eradicate Judah as a people. But the Lord would see to it that it would not happen. “The battle is not yours but God’s.”
When God states that He will take care of a problem, we can trust Him. We only can’t tell Him how He will do it. We would simply want the problem to vanish, but God wants us to establish a deeper relationship with Him through the situation. Desperation precedes security. He wants to build up our faith and trust in Him so that we can trust Him in such times as this.
Some of you have heard of John Wesley, who powerfully shaped England. This story quoted below took place before his conversion. He was crossing the Atlantic to Georgia. Several storms had already shaken the ship. The English people on board were greatly distressed. And so was he. But something was different about the Christian Moravian Germans on board.
“At noon our third storm began,” he noted in his Journal on board the “Simmonds” on Jan. 25, 1736. “At 4, it was more violent than before. Now, indeed, we could say, ‘the waves of the sea were mighty, and raged horribly.’ They rose up to the heavens above, and ‘clave down to hell beneath.’ The winds roared round about us ... The ship not only rocked to and fro with the utmost violence, but shook and jarred with so unequal, grating a motion, that one could not but with great difficulty keep one’s hold of anything, nor stand a moment without it. Every 10 minutes came a shock against the stern or side of the ship, which one would think should dash the planks in pieces.”
It was in the midst of this ferocious storm that Wesley admitted to being “much ashamed of my unwillingness to die,” but also became tremendously impressed by the calm behavior of the 26 German Moravians who were among his fellow passengers. At the height of the storm, they calmly continued in prayer and praise to God unlike their “crying, trembling neighbors,” as Wesley described them.
“A terrible screaming began among the English. The Germans calmly sang on. I asked one of them afterward, “Were you not afraid?” He answered, “I thank God, no.” I asked, “But were not your women and children afraid?” He replied, mildly, “No; our women and children are not afraid to die.” (The Journal of John Wesley, page 36).
2) The Call to Action (2 Chr 20:16-19)
God’s call to action always requires faith. It is our opportunity to trust God. What is it that God asked them to do? Not much really. “Tomorrow go down against them.” But hold it, is there not a great multitude waiting to wipe them out? Yes. Was God’s advice to commit suicide? No. That is how the evil one would tempt God’s people to think at such a time.
If the evil one cannot dissuade us earlier on, he comes at us again and again. Fortunately, they were desperate. What did they have to lose? At least they heard God’s advice. This is why I believe it is easier to trust God in dire circumstances wholly and why self-reliance, the modern evil, is so devilish.
God said more. Usually, God speaks as loudly and clearly as needed. Pay attention to everything. If you don’t understand something, ask Him right away. Don’t ask with doubt about God’s intention or purpose, but only for clarification as to what you need to do. God usually strengthens our hearts with His Word, gives us sufficient faith, and then gives us instructions to follow.
In times of crisis, God’s people literally cannot do much, as in this case. God said that they would not need to fight at all. The generals probably didn’t like hearing that. But what did it matter? The key here is that even though they were not to fight, they were still to respond. Pay attention very closely to what God wants you to do. Don’t do more or less than what He asks of you. He will give you everything you need to do your part.
In this case, The Israelites were only to go and watch. They were not to fight. The point is that they still needed to go and respond to God. This is where we put our faith to the test. By responding, we say with our actions that we believe and obey what we heard. If they didn’t believe God, do you think they would have obeyed Him? Certainly not. Even if it was easy, they wouldn’t have.
It is surprising that a number of people turn away from saving faith because believing in Jesus is “too easy.” It’s easy for us, but was it easy for the Lord Jesus to suffer? When religious people focus on their own good works, they believe that it is only through tough measures that they can find hope for salvation. They reject anything that is too easy. However you look at it, they couldn’t accomplish it alone. If they could, then Jesus would not have needed to have come.
Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the LORD is with you. And 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. (2 Chr 20:17-18)
Application: Have you ever scoffed at God’s easy way? Will you now believe and obey? Tell the Lord no matter what He asks; you will do it. Then do it!
“Greater is He that is in you than he who is in the world!” (1 John 4:4)
2 Chronicles 20:1-30 Six Prayer Observations
Paul J. Bucknell