ODJ: unusual warfare

September 16, 2013 

READ: 2 Chronicles 20:1-12 

We do not know what to do, but we are looking to You for help (v.12).

In 1980 a woman hopped on a bus during a marathon. No big deal—except for one small detail. She was supposed to be running in the marathon! Later she jumped back in the race—much too early, as it turned out, for she finished well ahead of the other female competitors. Questions soon arose when it became apparent that she didn’t look like someone who had just run a marathon. In fact, she didn’t look like a runner!

In an ancient battle, the army of Judah didn’t look like they had just won a great battle. But they had. Messengers came and told King Jehoshaphat: “A vast army from Edom is marching against you” (2 Chronicles 20:2). The king was “terrified by this news” (v.3). What he did next might not look like strong leadership. But it was.

Firstly, he called on the people to fast and pray. Then he acknowledged God’s history with the Jewish people and His supremacy (v.6), and he reminded God of His promise: “Did You not give this land forever to the descendants of Your friend Abraham?” (v.7).

Secondly, he admitted his need. “We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help” (v.12). Finally, the king was ready to lead his people into battle. He chose not mighty warriors but singers to go before the army, belting out songs of God’s love (v.21). The result was startling. Their would-be attackers suddenly turned on each other (vv.22-23). Not a foe was left for the army of Judah to fight (v.24).

The happy result? “Jehoshaphat’s kingdom was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side” (v.30).

Things aren’t always as they seem. Our great God is always reliable, but never predictable. —Tim Gustafson

› John 15:1-16

Read 2 Chronicles 20:20 and consider how Jehoshaphat’s leadership looked quite different from his words and actions found in verses 1-12.
When you’re in a tough spot in life, what do you do? How can praise and worship of God help us in the midst of our battles?