“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2 Chron. 20:12)
When facing perilous circumstances and a strong approaching enemy, Jehoshaphat sets a great example for seeking God and how we ought to respond to challenging times in our lives. He acknowledged in a natural, military sense, Judah had no might to defend themselves against this great company of armies. They don’t know what to do, but their eyes are fixed upon Jehovah God for deliverance. There are many times in our lives when we feel helpless and don’t know what we ought to do. During those times of desperation, we need to seek God in prayer, confessing our lack of clarity and not knowing what to do, but affirming our eyes are fixed upon God for deliverance and mercy. When we don’t know what to do, that is the time we need to turn our eyes to God in faith in prayer for deliverance.
The Moabites and the Ammonites have now banded together to wage war against King Jehoshaphat and Judah. Jehoshaphat receives a report that a great multitude is on the way to attack Judah. Jehoshaphat is understandably afraid, but he responded by “setting himself to seek the Lord, and proclaiming a fast through all Judah”. Judah then came together “to ask help of the Lord”, and they came “to seek the Lord” as the proper response to such an alarming report (v.3-4). When we are afraid, that is the time we need to fast and pray and seek the Lord’s help. King Jehoshaphat then stands up in the house of the Lord before all Judah and prays to God (v.5-12). Jehoshaphat confesses that they have no might before their enemy but yet God has all might and power, and there is none able to withstand Jehovah God. The king understands their weakness, but he has total faith in the power of their God.
God gave Israel the land of Canaan and drove out their enemies when they first conquered the land. The Moabites and Ammonites were never happy about that, and now they were trying to reclaim the land they had before Israel’s conquering of Canaan. Jehoshaphat reminds God of his care and provision for them the first time in driving out the inhabitants of the land before and prays for God to defend their inheritance in the land of Canaan. The king prays to God that he would hear his people when they cried out to him in time of affliction and that God would hear and help them. They had no idea how they would defeat their enemy. They had no military might to defeat them, and they had no idea what to do. However, in the midst of their uncertainty, they turned to God in faith. Even though we don’t know what to do, nevertheless “our eyes are upon thee”. Jehoshaphat displays great leadership with an amazing dependence and faith in God. He says “We don’t know what to do; we don’t know how we’ll be delivered; we don’t know how we can be saved from this great army; but even though we don’t know the outcome, we do know that you are able, and therefore our faith and our eyes are looking upon you, God, for direction, power, and victory.”
God immediately gives the king and the people a confirmation of hearing their prayer. God’s people’s eyes were upon God, and he wants them to know that he sees their condition and his eyes were upon them as well. The Spirit of God leads Jahaziel to tell the king and Judah to not be afraid because God would fight for them. “15) Thus saith the Lord unto you, Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16) Tomorrow go ye down against them: behold, they come up by the cliff of Ziz; and ye shall find them at the end of the brook, before the wilderness of Jeruel. 17) Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them: for the Lord will be with you.” (v.15-17) The king and Judah knew they couldn’t win this battle against this great multitude. That was okay because God says “the battle is not yours, but mine; I will fight for you”. God’s people wouldn’t even have to fight against their enemies, but God would fight for them. They just needed to not be afraid, to stand still, and to see the salvation of God worked powerfully on their behalf.
The people and king rejoice and worship and praise God. Jehoshaphat encourages God’s people to: “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.” (v.20) The same principle is true for us today as well. If we believe in the Lord our God, we shall be established and prosper. Jehoshaphat then appointed singers “that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” (v.21) God’s people were actually preparing for battle with singing, rejoicing in the victory that God had already promised them. Then, as they were singing, God sent ambushments against their enemies and they slew themselves. “22) And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten. 23) For the children of Ammon and Moab stood up against the inhabitants of mount Seir, utterly to slay and destroy them: and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, every one helped to destroy another.” (v.22-23) Their enemies turned on themselves and killed each other to where the entire army was destroyed.
When Jehoshaphat and Judah showed up for battle, there were only dead bodies on the battlefield because the Lord had fought for them. God had defeated the enemies of the people of God. Judah even got great riches and spoil as they took precious jewels and riches off the dead bodies of their slain enemies. They did not have to fight even one hour in battle, but it took them three days to gather up all the spoils from their enemies (v.25). When they returned home from this mighty victory, all the people rejoiced and went to the house of the Lord to praise God for his victory. God “had made them to rejoice over their enemies” (v.27). What a great victory that God gave his people! Then, word even spread in the surrounding kingdoms, and they all feared Judah “when they had heard that the Lord fought against the enemies of Israel” (v.29). Even though it might not always feel like it in the moment, the enemies of God are fearful and take notice when God fights on behalf of his people. Regardless of who is against us, we need to remember that we are always a majority of One with God on our side to fight for us.
When we are afraid and in difficult circumstances and our enemies seem to surround us and be too strong for us to conquer, we need to seek the Lord for our help. We need to fast and pray and petition our God to fight for us. Ultimately every battle in this world for the child of God is not our battle, but God’s battle for us. There is really no battle in our lives that we have sufficient strength to fight by ourselves and win. Even if we feel strong, every day we are actually with no might to defeat our enemies. Therefore, we must approach God in prayer and in faith. We must trust that God will fight for us. Ultimately, every battle in our lives is God’s battle for us; we are not left to fight by ourselves. If God is fighting for us, there is no one to fear. The battle is the Lord’s, not our battle.
During challenging circumstances in our lives, we can let our eyes and our gaze drop to only see the obstacles and battles facing us in the world. Instead, we need to lift up our eyes with Jehoshaphat up from this world and up to the King of kings and Lord of lords. We don’t know what to do, but we are placing our eyes upon God for faith and deliverance. We need to lift our eyes to the hills from whence our help truly comes. “1) I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2) My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 121:1-2) We will only be afraid as long as we keep our eyes on our enemy. Peter was able to walk on the water until he took his eyes off Jesus and began to focus on his perilous surroundings, then he began to sink (Matt. 14:28-33). We also will begin to sink if we get our eyes distracted from Jesus. We need to look up vertically to God instead of keeping our eyes horizontal, focused too much on this world. We must raise our eyes up to the hills, up to our Defender, our King who fights the battles for his people.
There are circumstances in our life that we might be “perplexed”, but we should never be in “despair” – “we are perplexed, but not in despair” (2 Cor. 4:9). The word “perplexed” here means “to have no way out, to be at a loss mentally;” (Strongs) “to be without resources, to be in straits, to be left wanting, to be embarrassed, to be in doubt, not to know which way to turn” (Thayer’s). There are certainly times when we are at a loss mentally. We can be overwhelmed by our situation, mentally frozen and at a loss, confused in the moment, and don’t know what to do and which way to turn. Despite being perplexed, we are never in “despair” which means “to be utterly at loss, be utterly destitute of measures or resources, to renounce all hope, to be in despair” (Thayer’s). Even though there seems to be no way out, and Paul mentally doesn’t know what to do or which way to turn, he still turns to God. In spite of that perplexity, he is not totally in despair, not at an utter loss, not devoid of hope, not in despair because regardless of how seemingly hopeless (from a natural perspective) a situation might seem, we still have faith and hope in God that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think (Eph. 3:20). If we are a child of God and have faith and hope in God, we should have no reason to despair in this world, but we should always be joyful regardless of our present affliction.
When we feel to have no might; when we feel to have no hope; when we don’t know what to do; that is when we need to seek God’s face and lift our eyes to the hills from when cometh our help. We oftentimes feel so self-sufficient in this world that we can handle all our problems and battles ourselves. It usually takes a great battle, a great enemy that we are no match to conquer for us to realize how dependent we truly are upon God. Yes, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil. 4:13), but without Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). Ultimately the battle is the Lord’s, not our battle. The Lord will fight for and defend his people. Let us turn our eyes upon our Lord to fight for us, and he shall give us great victory because we are “more than conquerors through Christ that loves us” (Rom. 8:37).