Holy Spirit and Pentecostalism 16
Kingdom Building – 2 Chronicles 20:1-30
We are in the midst of our month of prayer, fasting and abstinence. It is a time of seeking the Lord, of seeking to hear from Him, and of joining together in prayer for His Kingdom to come and His will to be done in and through our church, in person and online.
Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years in Judah (873/2 – 848BC). The first 3 years in a co-regency with His godly father, Asa (2 Chronicles 16:12), who had become diseased in his feet; and the last 5 years with his wicked son, Jehoram.
This meant that Jehoshaphat reigned on his own for roughly 17/17.5 years. He began to reign around 35, and died at 60.
The great prophets of this era were Elijah and Elisha, mostly prophets to the Northern Kingdom of Israel based in Samaria – although Jehoshaphat had dealings with Elisha (2 Kings 3:12), whom he knew was a prophet that ‘the word of the Lord is with him.’
Jehoshaphat fought 3 types of battles:
1. The first Battle was the one he was called to as King:
2 Chr 17:1-2, securing the national borders
2 Chr 17:6, removing idolatrous worship from his Kingdom
2 Chr 17:7-9, sending God’s word out into the land through the ministry of teachers/scribes, leaders and priests teaching the people and helping them apply the lessons (this is the great pre-requisite for a move of God’s Spirit in revival power in OT times).
2 Chr 19:5-11, He again led a religious reform, including overhauled the judiciary even to the point of setting up a supreme court in Jerusalem so that the Law of God could be implemented fairly for all the people.
He brought the people back to the knowledge of the God of Israel, of their fathers. This was a national renewal. I suppose a NT statement about this sort of thing was by Peter in Acts 3:19, ‘times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.’
2. The second Battle was the ones he should not have fought nor got involved in:
a. 2 Chr 18 – he allied himself with the wicked King Ahab [874-854 and went to war against the Syrians (854BC).
This put his life in danger (2 Chr 18:31), only he cried out to the Lord who rescued him, Jehoshaphat would have been killed. He received a stern rebuke from the prophet Jehu, ‘should you help the wicked and help those who hate the Lord (2 Chr 19:2).
b. He also allied himself with Ahab’s wicked son, Ahaziah of Israel [853-852]. They built ships together to go to Tarshish to bring back gold (2 Chr 20:35-36). Again this elicited a stern rebuke, this time from the prophet Eliezer, and the ships were lost and the expenditure came to nothing (2 Chr 20:37). Around 852BC.
c. He again allied himself with Ahaziah’s brother, Joram of Israel [852-841] (another wicked son of Ahab – 2 Kings 3), to fight against the rebellious Moabites who had rebelled from Israelite rule. Jehoshaphat said the same thing in response to Joram’s request, as he had to Ahab a few years earlier, ‘2 Kings 3:7, ‘I will go, I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.’
It nearly ends in disaster when there was no water for the army (2 Kings 3:9-10). This time Elisha is present and ultimately, because of Jehoshaphat’s presence (2 Kings 3:14), the Lord fights for the three kings and victory is won.
d. He allied his household to Ahab’s by marriage. His own son Jehoram married Athaliah, Ahab and Jezebel’s daughter. Another disastrous mistake (2 Chr 18:1; 21:6; 2 Kgs 8:18, ‘Jehoram walked in the [evil] ways of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for Ahab’s daughter was his wife. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight.’
3. The third battle came unexpectedly
When Jehoshaphat was focussed on national reform, it says this, 2 Chr 18:10, the terror of the Lord was on all the kingdoms of the lands that surrounded Judah, so they didn’t fight against Jehoshaphat,’ after his alliances with the evil, unrighteous northern kings, we find that divine protection no longer there.
2 Chronicles 20:1-30, CSB,
‘After this [his alliance with the evil, and his second round of religious reforms, including the judiciary – 19], the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites, came to fight against Jehoshaphat.
People came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast number from beyond the Dead Sea and from Edom has come to fight against you; they are already in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, En-gedi).
3Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, 4who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him.
5Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the Lord’s temple before the new courtyard. 6He said: 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. 7Are you not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8They have lived in the land and have built you a sanctuary in it for your name and have said, 9“If disaster comes on us — sword or judgment, pestilence or famine — we will stand before this temple and before you, for your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you because of our distress, and you will hear and deliver.”
10Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them.
11Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you gave us as an inheritance. 12Our 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.
13All Judah was standing before the Lord with their dependents, their wives, and their children. 14In the middle of the congregation, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph’s descendants), 15and he 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. 16Tomorrow, go down against them. You will see them coming up the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley facing the Wilderness of Jeruel. 17You 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.’” 18Then Jehoshaphat knelt low with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord to worship him.
19Then the Levites from the sons of the Kohathites and the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel shouting loudly. 20In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa.
As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”
21Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendour of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever.
22The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated. 23The Ammonites and Moabites turned against the inhabitants of Mount Seir and completely annihilated them. When they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped destroy each other.
24When 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. 25Then Jehoshaphat and his people went to gather the plunder. They found among them an abundance of goods on the bodies and valuable items. So they stripped them until nobody could carry any more. They were gathering the plunder for three days because there was so much.
26They assembled in the Valley of Beracah on the fourth day, for there they blessed the Lord. Therefore, that place is still called the Valley of Beracah today. 27Then all the men of Judah and Jerusalem turned back with Jehoshaphat their leader, returning joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord enabled them to rejoice over their enemies. 28So they came into Jerusalem to the Lord’s temple with harps, lyres, and trumpets.
29The terror of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. Then Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was quiet, for his God gave him rest on every side.’
There is so much in this passage. Let me pick out 7 points:
1. v. 3a, ‘Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord.’
Jehoshaphat stood still in the face of the overwhelming threat they were facing. He was fearful, but he also knew that he needed to quiet his soul before the Lord, and seek the Lord.
2. v. 3b-4, ‘Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, 4who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek Him.
He proclaimed a national fast, and called the nation to a national time of prayer.
3. v.7-9, In the courtyard of the Temple in Jerusalem he said: ‘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. 7Are you not our God who drove out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and who gave it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8They have lived in the land and have built you a sanctuary in it for your name and have said, 9“If disaster comes on us — sword or judgment, pestilence or famine — we will stand before this temple and before you, for your name is in this temple. We will cry out to you because of our distress, and you will hear and deliver.”
He stood in the gap – he interceded with the Lord for his nation, and for the Lord’s guidance and help.
He referred to the Lord’s covenant provision and promises during times of invasion and national emergencies.
Intercession is a rebuilding of the spiritual walls that separate us from evil.
It is a re-establishing of the Scriptural boundaries that God sets.
It is standing in the gap between the Lord and others praying for them as our own, and bringing the situations they face to the Lord asking for His mercy and grace, His power to be made perfect in our weakness.
4. v.10-12, ‘Now here are the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir. You did not let Israel invade them when Israel came out of the land of Egypt, but Israel turned away from them and did not destroy them.
11Look how they repay us by coming to drive us out of your possession that you gave us as an inheritance. 12Our 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.’
He knew the redemptive history of his nation, and what God had prevented Israel from doing to these same people who were now invading the land. He lays their treachery openly before the Lord, confesses how weak he and his people feel in the face of this invasion, and reaffirms his faith in the nearness and concern of his God.
5. v14b, ‘, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel
God’s prophetic word came – a word of deliverance, strength and for victory.
6. v.20, ‘Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.”
Jehoshaphat response was that he exhorted the people to trust in the Lord and to believe in the power of His word.
7. v 21-22, ‘Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendour of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever.
22The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against their enemies.’
Thanksgiving and praise were key components in the battle – this was as much a spiritual battle as a military one.
The result of all of this was that confusion moved from the Lord’s people into the enemies’ camp, God’s people delivered and their enemies defeated.
Fasting and Abstinence are important aids in Spiritual Warfare. As are intercession, a sound biblical understanding, the prophetic among us, and thanksgiving and praise:
- They help reduce the power of self
- bring us into a new place of being able to more clearly hear from God
- heighten the quality of our spirituality
- add spiritual power as we pray and intercede in the battle for souls and for our nation
- and Jesus expected us to do it – ‘when you Fast…’
As we Fast, abstain, pray and intercede, give thanks and praise, and listen for God’s word – we can…
- Expect the Spirit to highlight or convict you of a sin or area of your life that needs to go through the process of repentance and opening it up to the Lordship of Christ.
- Gain a new perspective.
- Bible verses may come to mind which are important to record and revisit in the days and weeks ahead.
- People, situations or things may come to mind during the Fast – some to be prayed for, and some to ask God for clarification about – why is He laying this person, situation or thing on your mind?
As we Fast and follow a pathway of Abstinence – we will engage in Spiritual Warfare. As a result:
- expect the unexpected
- expect the Spirit’s anointing
- His guidance
- His help
- and expect to see breakthrough and victory. Amen