Written by Paul J Bucknell on August, 25, 2022
2 Chronicles 20:3-4 (2) The Proper Time for Prayer
2) The Proper Time for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:3-4)
Fears should lead us to trust God.
And Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the LORD; and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD (2 Chronicles 20:3-4).
Jehoshaphat was a man like us. His first response was fear: “Jehoshaphat was afraid.” We should point out that fear in its initial stage is not sin. Fear is a God-given alarm calling us to pay special attention to something threatening us. Our body starts generating special chemicals that cause us to be alert physically and otherwise. In King Jehoshaphat’s case, the alarm ably draws attention to what is most important. It’s unlike the alarm clock that rings, and the owner shuts it off.
Fear becomes sin when it persists in one’s life. Fears have done their job of alarming you and alerting you to danger. But they shouldn’t remain. Your body goes out of whack because it was not made to handle those extra body-secreted chemicals for long periods. If fears do not lead to action and trust, then physical and emotional problems occur. Long-term fears always betray a lack of trust in God, leading to grave side effects. If you have unresolved fears, call out to God as the king did. Let fears impact our lives by leading us back to the Lord.
This scene led Jehoshaphat and the people to the Lord. “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” This was a good leader. A good leader doesn’t always have the answer, but he always leads to where the answer can be found. It is a shame that many political leaders look to budgets and central banks to solve our problems, not the Lord. We have spent our way into poverty and still have not resolved our problems. We will soon find ourselves bankrupt. But again, don’t be alarmed but return to the Lord.
These alarming situations are strategic opportunities to rely on the Lord for help. If we turn to other nations for help or alliances or trickery, we will become further lost. It would be true here if the people of God did not turn to Yahweh (the LORD).
They faced real arrows and swords, a very real war. This was not a virtual threat that can be turned off when you start loosing. No. Let me ask you, have you ever been so alarmed at something that it shook your being? Have you been so desirous of God’s help, that you fasted? Or as a leader, have you even desired something for those you lead, that you would call them to fast? The king led his people to fast and pay attention to the problem. I like how verse 4 states it, “So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord.” This is exactly the response that God seeks from all of us.
Some ask, “What is the difference between Christianity and other religions?” They typically ask at a scholarly level. They have studied all the major religions and compared them and see that these religions pray. The difference is that God has revealed Himself through the scriptures. If we want to seek Him, we must seek Him His way. The difference is that those who seek the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ will find answers! God is alive. He is not at all frustrated with those things that alarm us. We must seek Him and no other.
Application: Do you have any fears? What is your instinctive response? Do you turn to the Lord? Why do you hold back your trust in the Lord? If you cry out to God, He will answer.
Thus says the Lord, “Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who exercises lovingkindness, justice, and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the Lord (Jer 9:23-24).
2 Chronicles 20:1-30 Six Prayer Observations
Paul J. Bucknell