Wednesday, June 6, 2012

We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on You.

"O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? 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."
2 Chronicles 20:12

I have always thought that Jehoshaphat's prayer in this chapter is one of the most realistic moments of insight into prayer. The king convenes a special day of prayer in the temple. Judah assembles to seek God in response to a massive coalition advancing on Judah from the shores of the Dead Sea. Four different ethnic forces have combined an army to invade Jerusalem. And it catches the king unprepared. The invading force is so massive that he knows Judah does not have any military advantage. But they have a spiritual one... and so they pray! And it is a prayer throwing the nation upon God in absolute trust.

Jehoshaphat recounts God's past protection of His people. The king rejoices in the good blessings that God has recently given. He puts his trust only in God and acknowledges the helpless condition of Judah. And that last phrase is one that often joins our hearts when we pray honestly: "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."

God answers immediately. In the convocation, God's Spirit delivers a message telling Judah to march to meet the force to see what God will do. They obey by marching down to the Dead See wilderness, singing of God's faithful covenant love as they go. There they see a victory only God can give. The mighty force arrayed against them was actually a fragile mixed ethnic coalition and it fell apart. A fight broke out among the armies and instead of attaching Judah they annihilated one another. Not a soldier was left alive to attack God's people. For three days Judah plundered the dead bodies of the warriors they never had to fight. They trusted in God. God fought for them. God rewarded faith when it was all that was left!

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