When darkness looms, part two

It’s funny how these blogs work, because I never even touched upon my original point in all of yesterday’s post. I briefly mentioned my study of 2 Chronicles, and today I want to show what I feel like God was revealing to me there.

In 2 Chronicles chapter 20, Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. In an era of iffy kings in the land of Israel and Judah, Jehoshaphat was a solid guy. Here’s what we’re told about him as he takes the throne.

2 Chronicles 17:3-6 The Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the earlier ways of his father David. He did not seek the Baals, 4 but sought the God of his father and walked in his commandments, and not according to the practices of Israel. 5 Therefore the Lord established the kingdom in his hand. And all Judah brought tribute to Jehoshaphat,and he had great riches and honor. 6 His heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord. And furthermore, he took the high places and the Asherim out of Judah.

I’m encouraged by these verses because it shows that God never fails to honor those who honor Him. When we do what we should be doing, when we devote our lives and our ways to the Lord, He just does such incredible things for us, doesn’t He? When I first rededicated my life to Jesus I wanted blessings, wanted to hear from God, wanted to experience His favor, and I didn’t understand how to get it all. Well the Bible shows us how to get those things. Read your Bible, and see how the great children of God gained all those things. Walk in the way of the Lord, have a courageous heart in the ways of the Lord, and watch as He moves mightily within your life.

So Jehoshaphat doesn’t just have an amazing name, the guy’s a great king, and a great man of God. But just like we are in modern times, Jehoshaphat ends up having some darkness looming over him.

2 Chronicles 20:1-2 After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi).

Jehoshaphat’s kingdom is about to get attacked not by just one army, but a group of multiple forces. I was really moved by this next verse.

2 Chronicles 20:3 Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.

When darkness looms, sometimes even the mightiest men are afraid. This mighty king hears about this huge group of enemies that are on the way to attack and he got scared. Is it just me, or does that encourage someone else out there? Just to know that even one of the mighty kings of the Old Testament still had moments of fear, something about that encourages me. It tells me that it’s natural to get scared sometimes. To see a news story about something terrible happening and to have this moment of fear. The key is what we do with that fear. Jehoshaphat didn’t get depressed, he didn’t go hide, he didn’t let bitterness and fear become his new masters, he “set his face to seek the Lord.” The Bible tells us time and time and time and time again that when trouble strikes, we should go straight to God with it. He’s our refuge, our stronghold, our foundation, our everything. He’s our dad, and when darkness looms we should be setting our face to seek Him.

It’s what Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah do next that inspired this series of blogs.

2 Chronicles 20:4 And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

When darkness looms, God’s people gather together and pray. Seriously, I don’t know that it gets any simpler, truer, or to the point than that statement. I’m gonna be real honest with you here. I look back at how slow I was to develop as a prayer warrior and I despise the way I treated prayer. Here’s something I don’t think I’ve ever shared. When I first rededicated my life to Jesus in the summer of 2015, I actively told people not to pray for me. I didn’t want the prayers! That’s how twisted up and wrong I was about prayer. I would take help, but prayer felt like empty words to me. I didn’t need some Christian putting their hand on my shoulder and tossing empty words at me. Man, I’d love to travel back in time and punch myself in the stomach. I’m serious, I told my roommate not to pray for me at one point. What an idiot! Because now my eyes are open to the power of prayer, and I’ll take every prayer I can get! There’s nothing more powerful than believers gathered together and seeking the Lord in prayer. We’re talking about a direct path into the throne room of God, a direct line to his ear, and if we’re praying within His will then He hears us and moves on our behalf. There’s nothing better to do in dark times than to gather together and pray.

Darkness looms over our society and our world right now. A lot of us have felt fear in the face of this darkness. And that’s okay, that even happened to Jehoshaphat. The question becomes, what do we do next? The answer, as all answers are, is contained right in God’s word. It might not be Ammonites, Moabites, and Meunites that we’re up against, but there are plenty of things we can place into that statement. Isis, civil unrest, racial tensions, corruption, Russia, China, persecution of the church, take your pick. That Bible verse in 2 Chronicles is just as valid today as the day those events happened to the kingdom of Judah. Darkness looms, and we’ve felt a bit of fear, and the question now stands before us. What do we do next?

When darkness looms, God’s people gather together and pray. What does that get them? I’m going to cover that in the next blog, but here’s a hint. The word starts with a V and ends in ictory.

PRAYER AND CLOSING

Father God, today I ask that you would gather your people together in prayer.  Lord, you show us that fear happens even to the mightiest people, but you immediately show us a Godly response to those moments of fear.  You show us the correct response when the enemies are at the gate, when things feel hopeless, when darkness looms over us.  I love the unity that we see among the people of Judah here, I so love that Jehoshaphat didn’t just pray alone, but that he gathered all the people together to pray.  There’s so much power in that, and there’s just such a beautiful humility represented when we just look to you and seek you in times of trouble.  God, on this day, I acknowledge that we need you, and I ask that you would sweep down upon this world with your love.  I ask that you would calm the fears inside people, and that you would replace that fear with the comforting knowledge that God’s got this, His way, His timing.  Put it on the hearts of all believers to gather and pray in these dark days Lord, draw us together so that we may find that comfort and unity together under your mighty banner.  I ask you right now Lord to end any fear that is ruling people’s lives, that you put your arm around their shoulders and you shelter them with your love and your presence.  I pray on behalf of this world, God, because I know that there is no darkness that can stand before your light.  We need you, my King, and I ask that you would show mercy and goodness to this world right now as it struggles under the weight of dark times.  I trust in you, and I delight in you, my Lord.  Thank you for all that you are and all that you do for me.  In Jesus’ precious name, amen.

I know I said it yesterday but I’m just so excited about the blogs this week.  I’m so excited about God, because it’s just so encouraging when you feel Him move in your life, when you hear Him building you up and comforting you.  His power and love is readily available, and I just encourage you to seek after it.  Gather together with believers and pray.  Pray for our country and our world and put it in God’s hands.  I love you guys.

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