July 3, 2015
II Chronicles 20:20-23
(All scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated.)
It seems like we have been fighting war after war for the last several years – ever since 9/11. There was the Iraq invasion, Afghanistan, and now increasing involvement back in Iraq. And the enemy combatants fighting us in the War on Terror has branches that have spread into many other countries, Muslim and otherwise, and also into the United States. Does the Bible have any advice on how to win this War on Terror? Yes! And I have chosen for an appropriate text II Chronicles 20:20 through 23:
[King] Jehoshaphat…said, “Hear me, O Judah….Believe in the LORD
your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you
shall prosper.” And…he appointed those who should sing to the LORD
…as they went out before the army, and to say, “Praise the LORD, for
His mercy endures forever.” Now when they began to sing and to praise,
the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount
Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. For the peo-
ple of Ammon and Moab…when they had made an end of the inhabitants
of Seir…helped to destroy one another.
A three-nation confederacy gathered to attack the southern Jewish kingdom of Judah, whose king was Jehoshaphat. The three were:
• Edom (or Edomites) – the descendants of Jacob’s twin brother Esau (see Genesis 25:20-26; 36:1).
• Ammon (or Ammonites) – the descendants of Lot’s drunken incestuous affair with his younger daughter (see Genesis 19:38).
• Moab (or Moabites) – the descendants of Lot’s drunken incestuous affair with his older daughter (see Genesis 19:37).
When Israel had come out of Egypt and was ready to enter into the Promised Land of Canaan God had forbidden them to attack the lands of Edom (Mount Seir), Ammon and Moab because, as God said in Deuteronomy 2:5:
Do not meddle with them, for I will not give you any of their land, no, not
so much as one footstep, because I have given [it to the various nations]…
as a possession.
But now – more than 500 years later – this coalition of the Jews’ three enemies were trying to pay back God’s kindness by defeating Judah and taking over their land and wealth.
So how were King Jehoshaphat and Judah going to defeat these enemies? There are several keys in II Chronicles 20 that we, as a nation, should learn and from which we could benefit today:
• II Chronicles 20:3, 4 – Upon hearing of the invading forces, “…Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD….” In seeking How To Win A War, the first step should be to vigorously seek the LORD and His help!
• II Chronicles 20:12 – Jehoshaphat prayed, “O our God…we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” David was probably the author of Psalm 33. Jehoshaphat took counsel from verses 16 through 20, written 150 years before:
No king is saved by the multitude of an army; a mighty man is not delivered
by great strength. A horse is a vain hope for safety; neither shall it deliver
any by its great strength. Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear
Him, on those who hope in His mercy, to deliver their soul from death, and
to keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help
and our shield.
It is rightly said that we are a nation based on Christian principles. Should we not return to our roots and seek the Lord in order To Win A War? It worked for Israel more than once! And when they didn’t seek the Lord, they suffered terrible losses!
• II Chronicles 20:14-19 – “Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel…and he said, ‘Listen….Thus says the LORD to you: “Do not be afraid of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”’ ” God’s Word in modern times does not usually come through prophets, but through what is written in the Bible! But just as Jehoshaphat believed it then, we should rely on God’s promises today! (See II Chronicles 20:18, 19).
• II Chronicles 20:20 – “…Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.’ ” The king encouraged the people to follow through with trust and action concerning God’s proclamation. Should not our political and military leaders do the same today?
• II Chronicles 20:21 – Jehoshaphat “…appointed those who should sing to the LORD, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army….” A fellow minister once said, “It either was a unique way to win a war – sending out the choir first, or it was a way to get rid of a very bad choir!” The record shows it was the former! When God shows us How To Win A War, even if it is not logical to our minds, do it anyway!
From our scripture above, we read that “…when they began to sing and to praise, the LORD set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” (II Chronicles 20:22). And it says in II Chronicles 20:25, “When Jehoshaphat and his people came came…they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much.”
I would say II Chronicles 20 records a great way To Win A War! It sure is better than how we are trying to go about it today!