A vast army marched together, adding to the ranks nation by nation. This was not a small guerilla war fare party. They were not under cover of darkness. They did not need to try to cloak their actions for an ambush. They marched, quite visibly, in daylight, and word of their coming moved swiftly ahead of them, carried aloft by worry and fear.
What must Jehoshaphat have felt? Thought? 1 Chronicles 20:3 says quite simply that he “was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord.”
The next few verses contain his prayer to God. It is the last verse that struck me particularly.
For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you. (1 Chronicles 20:12)
What can we learn?
Jehoshaphat recognizes his own inadequacy: “we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us.”
Don’t we feel this way in our lives? When we realize that the battles we are trying to wage are too much for our feeble hands? When we realize that we are not enough, that we are not equipped, that there is no human way out?
Jehoshaphat lets go of the need to know: “We do not know what to do”
This is a deliberate act of humility. Can you imagine a king admitting that he didn’t know what to do? Similarly, our pride sometimes keeps us from asking for help and yet, the Lord already knows that we need it! Jehoshaphat did not let his position or his pride keep him from admitting the truth and seeking help from the very best source available.
Jehoshaphat fixes his gaze on what he does know, on the One who can change everything: “but our eyes are upon you.”
This is not just a petition – it’s a beautiful expression of trust. So many times, we spin our wheels, grinding up our hearts and energies in frustrating and fruitless endeavors. We keep trying to solve problems that only God can change. We worry, we obsess, we imagine, we replay past hurts and failures to no good end. Jehoshaphat, instead, realized that the only worthwhile thing he could do was to trust in God. He stopped focusing on the advancing army and focused instead on the God who was truly in charge.
Today, do you feel a little like Jehoshaphat? Are you out of human options? Are the trials you face too much for you? Are you unsure of what to do next?
The God that helped Jehoshaphat is the same God who helps us. Beloved, he already holds not just the answer to this problem but your entire eternity in His hands. Let go and trust in Him.
Photo by Dev Benjamin on Unsplash