Scripture is full of interesting accounts of God’s character, His nature, His essence, and His actions. We approach the Scriptures in order to learn about God as He has fully revealed Himself through His written Word. In 2 Chronicles 20, we encounter the nature of God, the nature of humanity, and God’s faithfulness in the time of need. Jehoshaphat is the reigning king of Judah. He sought to reform Judah, reestablishing judges, priests and Levites to lead in the fear of the Lord.
After doing this, the Moabites and Ammonites came out against Jehoshaphat for battle, seeking to overtake Judah. Because of the number of those coming out against him, he was afraid and went to the only place he knew to go for help, the Lord. We have much to learn from Jehoshaphat’s prayer. First, we encounter the powerful nature of God. 2 Chronicles 20:6-7, “[Jehoshaphat] said, ‘O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdom of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before you people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?'”(ESV) Jehoshaphat is beginning his cry to God by declaring the power of God as displayed through history. God is the sovereign ruler of all. God is the ruler of all kingdoms, nations, and inhabitants. He does whatever He pleases, whenever He pleases, because all is His.
This is an important truth for us to grasp. Too often we think that we control our lives, we have the power to overcome, we dictate our future, or someone else in between. We look at the current political state, the evil dictators of the world, or things going on that are beyond our power and we discount the sovereignty of God and His earthly rule. It might do us good to begin our prayers as Jehoshaphat, acknowledging the reality that God is in control of all things, and whatever He wants to do, He will indeed do.
So Jehoshaphat continues his prayer to the Lord and concludes it with a prayer that I often pray, but a portion of which I sometimes forget. 2 Chronicles 20:12b, “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”(ESV) Is this not the mind behind most of our prayers? We are powerless. We do not know what to do. How many times have we prayed to God asking Him to show us what to do, or confessing that we are in a tight spot and we really do not know what to do. Maybe it is a career change, a family circumstance, or just life, many of our prayers involve a confession of helplessness and a lack of clarity of what to do.
However, we cannot overlook this last sentence. What generally happens is a confession to God of not knowing what to do, but instead of seeking that answer from God, we look within ourselves. But this is not what Jehoshaphat does, instead he fixes his eyes upon God. When you pray, when you are in a tight spot, when you do not know what to do, do you look to yourself or someone else, or do you look to the Lord? Do you fix your eyes upon God, the author of everything, to deliver you?
Jehoshaphat fixed his gaze upon the Lord and God delivered Jehoshaphat. God told them they will not need to fight the battle, but to stand firm. The salvation of the Lord would come to them as He would go before them. They entered into the wilderness to look toward those who were coming out toward them in battle and when they arrived there were dead bodies lyon everywhere and Scripture says, “none had escaped.” God literally fought the battle for them and delivered them.
Sadly, later on in his life Jehoshaphat turned from the Lord, acted wickedly, and had to learn things the hard way. Regardless, we can learn from His prayer to the Lord and the place in which all of our eyes should be fixed all of the time. Even when we are not in the “time of need” or in a “tight spot” like Judah, we must always keep our eyes upon Christ. I encourage you to do so today and I encourage you to let your prayer always be “our eyes are on you.”