““O our God . . .We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” —2 Chronicles 20:12
Have you ever heard the phrase “Jumping Jehoshaphat?” If so, have you ever wondered where that came from. I’m still wondering. The Bible does not provide the answer, but I can’t help thinking that anybody would be jumping for joy after witnessing the power and providence of God that Jehoshaphat experienced.
A great army of Moabites, Ammonites, and some of the Meunites came to battle against Jehoshaphat. “Messengers came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea.” (2 Chronicles 20:2) They were already too close for comfort. This great multitude was a significant threat. Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So the people of Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.
A prophet says, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15) When faced with a problem or challenge, we tend to ask ourselves, “What am I going to do? How can I get out of this?”
Jehoshaphat faced a multitude of enemies. But instead of focusing on what he would do, he prayed, “O our God, won’t you stop them? We are powerless against this mighty army that is about to attack us. We do not know what to do, but we are looking to you for help.” (2 Chronicles 20:12)
When we are overwhelmed and we look upward rather than inward, God tells us “When we turn our eyes to God, we will hear Him say, ‘Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s…you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory.…'” (2 Chronicles 20:15, 17)
But standing still is the last thing we want to do when the enemy is coming against us. It is also the most difficult thing to do because we feel that we cannot just stand around and do nothing—we must try to save the situation. But God wants us to stand still and see God fight for us.
So what do you do the next time you are overwhelmed and don’t know what to do? Like Jehoshaphat, rest and trust in God. He can help the helpless. He can deliver His people. He can deliver you in ways you’ve never dreamed of. And He can make you jump for joy.
- Are you feeling a little overwhelmed by your current circumstances?
- Jehoshaphat wanted to honestly seek the advice of the Lord. Do you actively seek the advice of the Lord?
- Was Jehoshaphat’s fear okay? What is the difference between this reaction and long-term fear?
- What would you do different this week as a result of the story of Jehoshaphat?