Written by Paul J Bucknell on August, 25, 2022
2 Chronicles 20:24-30 (6) The Blessed Reward of Prayer
God always blesses those who seek Him.
When Judah arrived at the wilderness lookout point, I’m sure they couldn’t believe what they saw: all the corpses were spread out over the ground; not one had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and the people went to take the loot, they found many valuables, including goods, garments, and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. It took three days to collect the spoil because of the amount.
Then on the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore they have named that place “The Valley of Beracah” until today. And every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres, and trumpets to the house of the LORD.
And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides (2 Chr 20:24-30).
God’s stories are so wonderful to hear, tell, and live out. They did not have to work for them, just scoop the goods from the vanquished enemy. It took them three days to get everything. On the fourth day, they had their greatest blessing. That valley got a special name meaning ‘blessing,’ for it was there that they saw the glory of the Lord.
Just think of it. Why has secularism been able to grow so quickly? It has grown because people have not seen the works of the Lord! If they had seen such works of the Lord, then secularism would crumble in moments. Why is it that materialism attracts people? It is because they have not met up with the great love of God. We should not fear the emptiness of these theories; they haven’t yet met with God.
Many of God’s people, too, have not met God in one of His great works; they have an untried and untested faith. They wonder if God’s Word is true.
Children brought up in Christian homes often have a crisis of faith. Usually the first generation Christians have a strong faith due to seeing God’s great work, at least in their own lives. Second generation Christians assume that Christian life is normal, often not witnessing the work of the Holy Spirit firsthand. This event brought a tremendous boost and renewal to God’s people in Judah. This is what the church desperately needs today. “Then on the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore they have named that place “The Valley of Beracah” until today” (2 Chr 20:26).
Do you see what they did on the fourth day? They praised God. “The Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.” Who needed swords when they had harps, lyres, and trumpets!
The Lord’s tremendous grace mightily works in our lives, stripping away the doubt that has long plagued our souls. Do you want to see the Lord’s greatness? Do you want Him to reveal Himself to you? This is the time to step forth and reject religious dogma and live in light of the Almighty God. We are not dismissing doctrine’s importance but only stating that doctrine matures from genuine experiences. Without a true faith from personally witnessing God’s grace, we can easily become like the hypocritical Pharisees. They totally missed God even though they had the best teaching and awesome miracles happening about them.
Application: You might be wondering, “Yea, I would like to meet God. But how? I don’t belong to an army facing defeat. You might not even be a Christian. But the Word says, “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.” You could wait for God, but then we would forget that if God is now impressing a desire on your heart to really know Him, then today God is calling you to some action. What is it that He wants you to do? Listen carefully. Write it down. God’s words never contradict the Bible. For some of you, it might be that you will start reading the Bible more seriously and praying. Others might join a prayer meeting. Follow up on what God has directed you to do. He will be meeting with you again.
A Real Life Example • No money
God revealed His great plan to Pastor Stephen and me as we prepared for the pastor training conference in India in 2004.
We observe more of God’s greatness when we observe our weaknesses. The greater the contrast, the easier it is to see things. Similarly, God’s glorious ways become more visible when placed adjacent to our frailties. Being human, I flee from vulnerabilities as much as I can. I like to be in control, have power, and be able to work through decisions that I have made. But God delights to use us in our weaknesses so that more glory might go to His name.
I planned to leave around September 24, but as of Sept. 11th I only had 14% of the budget. I didn’t even have enough to pay for a round-trip ticket to India. The point was not whether I could find the money or get a loan. The issue was whether or not God wanted me there. If He did, then He would provide. Everything changed in a week’s time.
Our deadline for raising funds was coming to a close—I couldn’t make it there if prolonged, but just at that point, we heard people saying that they would contribute. They were faithful to their word. From Sept 12-20, $7,700 (86%) came in from numerous sources, just what we needed.
In the end, we thanked the Lord for enabling us to host two full-fledged pastor training seminars. We trained at least 300 pastors and evangelists. God used the time to expose our immature faith and further meet the ‘God who is Able.’
We can always trust God. He knew the provision for this international training conference in India would be tight. The Lord trained the national pastors in India and me who did all the planning. God spoke to me as well as to Pastor Stephen in different ways, but both of us knew God would arrange everything. God stepped in where our faith was weak. In the end, God marvelously provided! You should have seen how happy pastor Stephen and I were when we finally met and hugged at the airport. I needed to prepare things even when it didn’t look like I was going. I needed to act on what I believed. So did Pastor Stephen. And to the degree we acted, God incredibly blessed.
Summary on Prayer
Let’s review the strong points on prayer from this situation that God preserved for us in His Word. We want to be God’s prayer center where God accomplishes His greatest plans through our lives. Here are seven principles of prayer from 2 Chronicles 20.
Prayer is not an option. Prayer is the very means by which God reveals His will and gives strength to His people to accomplish His great purposes. Are you praying?
- We should seek God and His purposes in prayer so that we will not need a crisis to ‘turn our attention’ to Him. (20:3)
- Sincere prayer is always the right response when facing impossible tasks. (20:4)
- Genuine prayer wrestles with God as we see the difference between what He says and our circumstances. (20:6-12)
- We should anticipate God’s response to our sincere prayer. (20:15-16).
- Answers to prayer often, if not always, call us to obey His Word. (20:20). Our response, though not “hard,” becomes our display of faith (or lack of faith).
- We can dismiss our doubts by praising God for His great works and person despite obvious impossible situations (20:22-23).
- We should always remember to thank God for answering our prayers with praise and adoration. (20:26-27).
“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