Jehoshaphat, the son of Asa, “was thirty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned twenty-five years in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 20:31). “He walked in all the ways of his father Asa; he did not turn away from them but did what was right in the Lord’s sight” (1 Kings 22:43). “Now the Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the former ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals but sought the God of his father and walked by his commands, not according to the practices of Israel” (2 Chronicles 17:3–4).
In a day when only an elite few could read and write, Jehoshaphat commissions the priests and Levites to teach the people the tenets of their ancient faith. “They taught throughout Judah, having the book of the Lord’s instruction with them. They went throughout the towns of Judah and taught the people” (2 Chronicles 17:9). Jehoshaphat didn’t just sit in his palace hoping his people would be faithful to God, but “he went out among the people from Beer-sheba to the hill country of Ephraim and brought them back to the Lord, the God of their ancestors” (2 Chronicles 19:4).
“Jehoshaphat grew stronger and stronger. He built fortresses and storage cities in Judah and carried out great works in the towns of Judah. He had fighting men, valiant warriors, in Jerusalem” (2 Chronicles 17:12–13) and his army numbered well over a million soldiers (2 Chronicles 17:14-18). “These were the ones who served the king, besides those he stationed in the fortified cities throughout all Judah” (2 Chronicles 17:19)
When a powerful military alliance of Moabites and Ammonites surged against Judah, Jehoshaphat didn’t panic, but he sought the Lord’s direction. The faithful king proclaimed a nation-wide fast and gathered his people at the temple to “seek the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:4). The king prayed, “Lord, God of our ancestors, are you not the God who is in heaven, and do you not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, and no one can stand against you ... Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you” (2 Chronicles 20:6–12).
God clearly and powerfully answered the king’s prayer. Speaking through His prophet, God said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s ... You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for the Lord is with you’ ” (2 Chronicles 20:15–17). The following day, “when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked for the large army, but there were only corpses lying on the ground; nobody had escaped” (2 Chronicles 20:24). “Then Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was quiet, for his God gave him rest on every side” (2 Chronicles 20:30).
Meditate on Jehoshaphat’s memorable prayer: “O our God ... We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12, ESV) ... and on the Master’s response: “Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you... Do not be afraid or discouraged” (2 Chronicles 20:17).
All Scripture quotations, except as otherwise noted, are from
Holman Bible Publishers’ Christian Standard Bible.