“Do not be afraid or
discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
- 2 Chronicles 20:15
Last week I heard the story of Johnny, a 5-year-old boy who was in the kitchen with his mom while she was making dinner. Johnny’s mom asked him to go into the walk-in pantry and get her a can of tomato soup—but he was afraid to go into the pantry alone. He protested, “Mommy, it’s dark in there, and I’m scared.” She waited a minute or so and asked him again, but he still said he was too scared. Finally she said, “It’s okay—Jesus will be in there with you.” So, Johnny walked hesitantly to the pantry door and slowly opened it. He peeked inside, saw that it was dark, and started to abort his mission. But then he had an idea. He faced the darkness of the inner pantry and called, “Jesus, if you’re in there, would you hand me that can of tomato soup?”
We all have times when we’re scared. I was scared when my wife was rushed in to the OR for an emergency c-section with our first daughter. I was scared when I saw my second daughter at the age of 2 fall head-first out of a shopping cart at the grocery store. I was scared a year ago when I passed out in an ICU patient’s room. And honestly, I’d be lying if I said that I don’t find this whole coronavirus pandemic to be a bit scary.
King Jehoshaphat of
experienced fear, too. At the beginning of 2 Chronicles 20, he got the news
that three nations— Judah Moab, Ammon
formed a vast army to make war on his kingdom. Edom Moab
and Ammon were located to the east of Judah,
was located to the south. These enemies joined together somewhere south of the
Dead Sea and began moving north toward Edom .
As the three armies made their way to within 50 miles of Jehoshaphat’s
doorstep, there’s no doubt about it: Jehoshaphat was worried, and he was
scared. So, what did he do? Jerusalem
Jehoshaphat rallied his people to call out to the Lord in prayer. He asked the nation to fast and pray, and that’s exactly what the people of
did. As he led his people in
prayer, Jehoshaphat acknowledged that God rules over heaven and earth. He
reminded God of the promise He had made to his great, great grandfather King
Solomon after the temple was dedicated: If God’s people would humbly turn to
God and cry out to Him for deliverance, God would hear them and save them (vs.
6-12). And we’re told in verse 13 that it wasn’t just the men’s Bible study group,
or the women’s prayer group, who stood humbly praying before the LORD. It was
everyone--men, women, children and even little toddler—all crying out to God. Judah
In response, God calmed Jehoshaphat’s fears by sharing with him the same four words that He repeats time and time again to His worried followers: “Do not be afraid.” It’s the most repeated command in the Bible. “Do not be afraid” appears more than 100 times in the pages of Scripture. When God commissioned Joshua to lead the Israelites, he said, “Do not be afraid.” When the Angel Gabriel appeared to Mary, he told her, “Do not be afraid.” When Jesus appeared to the women on Resurrection Sunday, guess what he told them? “Do not be afraid.” Over and over and over again in Scripture, God tells His followers, “Fear not! Do not be afraid.” And that’s what God told Jehoshaphat.
The next morning, his army marched out to the battlefield. Jehoshaphat gave his people a rousing pep talk: “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld” (v. 20). Then he did something very strange. According to verse 21, Jehoshaphat put a praise team at the head of his army. And this praise team had one task: “to sing to the LORD and to praise him for splendor of His holiness.”
As Jehoshaphat’s army marched toward the battlefield, the hillsides were filled with the sound of voices singing, “Give thanks to the LORD, for His love endures forever.” And as men of God leading the army of God praised God, the Spirit of God was catapulted by their praise onto the battlefield, turning
enemies against each other. On that battlefield, the LORD won the victory
without Jehoshaphat’s army having to lift a single sword. Praise has the
ability to defy the odds and win victories in Jesus’ name! Judah
2 Chronicles 20 reminds us that when we as God’s people humble ourselves before the LORD and pray … as we lift our voices in grateful praise to Him … there is power in our praise. It’s our job to trust God, love God, and obey His word. And part of that obedience involves praising Him. So, regardless of how crazy the circumstances around us are …we praise God. Because He is always good. He is always strong. He is always faithful. And He ALWAYS comes through.
Like Jehoshaphat, when a vast enemy—or a highly contagious virus—is bearing down on us, we tend to get nervous. And we tend to get frightened. But when that fear grips us, we need to do what Jehoshaphat did: We need to take our worries and fears to God. The battle belongs to the LORD.
Dane Davis is the Pastor of Impact Christian Church. During this COVID-19 outbreak, please join us for our online worship service Sundays at 10 a.m. Simply go to www.GreaterImpact.cc to view the service on our homepage.