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130707 the battle is the lord's 2 chronicles 20 abridged

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Sermon presented by Dale Wells at Palm Desert Church of Christ on 7/7/2013.

Sermon presented by Dale Wells at Palm Desert Church of Christ on 7/7/2013.

Published in: Spiritual, News & Politics

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  • Life is full of annoyances, nuisances, frustrations, aggravations and exasperations.Sometimes, we face life-altering crises that are just too big for us to handle.But God is bigger than our biggest crisis! Big enough to trust with anything we face.Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen! It gives us assurance about things we cannot see.God is big enough to trust with anything.Nowhere is that seen better than Jehoshaphat’s experience in 2 Chronicles 20
  • One of Judah’s greatest kings. (873-849 BC). Good, but not perfect.First mistake: married his son, Jehoram, to Ahab’s daughter (worshiper of Baal and husband of Jezebel). It was a marriage of political convenience. By making an alliance with the king of Israel, Jehoshaphat compromised his position politically and religiously.Second mistake: joined Ahab in fighting the Arameans (c. 853 BC). Ahab talked Jehoshaphat into wearing royal robes into battle at Ramoth-Gilead (made him a ready target). But God protected Jehoshaphat and saw to it that Ahab was killed. Third mistake: joint venture in maritime commerce with Ahab’s successor, Ahaziah (2Ch_20:35-37). God wrecked the ships and put the whole enterprise to an end. Lessons:Even the best of us is not perfect. Our mistakes can haunt us for the rest of our lives – Jehoram sank into gross idolatry (due to the influence of his in-laws?)God ultimately doesn’t judge us based on our slip-ups, but on our devotion to Him.
  • 2Ch 20:1-2 After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. 2 Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi).Shalmaneser III of Assyria mentions in his annals an Ammonite king, Ba'sa son of Ruhubi, who fought against Assyria in 853 BC. The Moabite king was probably Mesha, known from 2 Kings 3:4ff and from a long inscription in Moabite in which he describes his rebellion against Israel after Ahab’s death.Meunites. A number of very different opinions exist concerning the identification of this group. Likely a desert tribe situated on the eastern edge of Edom.^ Edom (Mount Seir). During most of the period from David until Jehoshaphat, Edom had been an annexed territory of Judah. Now they’re ready to assert their independence, and their territory served as the strategic base for this raid against Jerusalem.The oasis of En Gedi lies midway down the West side of the Dead Sea and approximately 24 miles southeast of Jerusalem.
  • That is understandable when you consider the circumstances he faced.
  • Jehoshaphat had been fighting the Arameans with Israel as allies until recently. Now a huge army from across the Dead Sea has declared war on Judah. His first clue came when the enemy was 24 miles from his capital city!What would you do in his circumstances? ^ Send out a force to delay the attackers while you call on your ally, Israel, for reinforcements? ^ Hunker down in Jerusalem and hope for the best? ^ Go on the offensive to defend your territory? (You could have the high ground)
  • EnGedi is a spring fed oasis on western shore of Dead Sea - 1,388 feet below sea level. At the top of the Ascent of Ziz sits Tekoa – 2,790 feet above sea level.The invaders would have vertical climb of 4,178 feet in about 15 miles through a narrow gorge before they were even in a position to advance on Jerusalem.My calculation puts that at a 5.5% grade.That’s what I’d do, but not Jehoshaphat. He didn’t do what we’d expect. But what he DID becomes an example for us when we face impossible odds.
  • Jehoshaphat "proclaimed a fast" to emphasize Judah’s distress in the presence of the "LORD".This is the third "king's prayer" in 2 Chronicles (Solomon's prayer, chap. 6, and his father Asa's prayer when facing an overwhelming invasion force in 2Ch_14:11).
  • 2Ch 20:5-13 Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the LORD in the front of the new courtyard 6 and said: "O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. 7 O our God, did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? 8 They have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for your Name, saying, 9 "If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague or famine, we will stand in your presence before this temple that bears your Name and will cry out to you in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.' 10 "But now here are men from Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory you would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. 11 See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession you gave us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you." 13 All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.^ Jehoshaphat closed his impassioned appeal, and with all Judah . . . stood before the LORD, awaiting His answer.
  • 2Ch 20:14-19 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. 15 He said: "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.'” 18 Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. 19 Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. Jahaziel was a descendant of the chief Levitical musician Asaph (wrote many Psalms). The Spirit of the LORD spoke through Jahaziel. He exhorted the people not to be afraid (see v. 3) and informed them that God – not Judah – would do the fighting. The people must confront the enemy, but as prayerful spectators, not combatants. Verse 17 is based very closely on Ex. 14:13–14 ("Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord.  .  .  . The Lord will fight for you, and you only have to be silent"). The battle was God's; the people had only to go out the next day and see what He had done.We sing a song that comes from vs. 15 in this text.
  • 2Ch 20:20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful."Tekoa, the town from which the shepherd- prophet Amos came, was located 10 miles (16 km) south of Jerusalem.Jehoshaphat’s encouragement is aparticularly apt word for the Chronicler's contemporaries to hear from this son of David – at a time when their only hope for the future lay with the Lord and the reassuring words of his prophets.
  • 2Ch 20:21, 26 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." … 26 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Beracah to this day. By faith the people rejoiced in their victory even before it came to pass. The next morning they were up at dawn to see what the LORD had done. They marched to the battlefield as though they were going to a festival.Singers "went out at the head of the army," just as the ark of God and the priestly trumpeters had at Jericho (Josh 6:9). Iwonder how the choir of Levites felt about going out before the army. But worship is a great weapon against the enemy.Valley of Beracah. "Beracah" means "blessing." There may be a recollection of this event in the prophecy in Joel 3:2, 12 ("the Valley of Jehoshaphat").
  • 2 Chronicles 20:22-26 When they began to shout and praise, the LORD suddenly attacked the Ammonites, Moabites, and men from Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. [23] The Ammonites and Moabites attacked the men from Mount Seir and annihilated them. When they had finished off the men of Seir, they attacked and destroyed one another. [24] When the men of Judah arrived at the observation post overlooking the desert and looked at the huge army, they saw dead bodies on the ground; there were no survivors! [25] Jehoshaphat and his men went to gather the plunder; they found a huge amount of supplies, clothing and valuable items. They carried away everything they could. There was so much plunder, it took them three days to haul it off. Ambushes. Their nature is indicated in v. 23: Israel's foes destroyed each other in the confusion of battle, similar to the victory under Gideon (Jdg 7:22). The Lord caused such confusion among the enemy troops that they turned on one another. The Ammonites and the Moabites fought against the Meunites until the latter were annihilated, and after that the Ammonites fought against the Moabites. Verse 24 calls to mind Israel's sight of the dead Egyptians in Ex. 14:30.
  • 2 Chronicles 20:27-28 On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the LORD. This is why it is called the Valley of Beracah to this day. [27] Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. [28] They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the LORD with harps and lutes and trumpets.God confounded the enemy when He heard His people singing their song of faith. He stirred up the opposition so that they fought and destroyed one another. When Judah arrived, the only thing left to do was to collect the spoil, a task requiring three days. With unbounded joy they praised the LORD and returned to Jerusalem singing. The return to Jerusalem takes the form of a triumphal procession, which ends appropriately in the temple, where the people had first sought God's deliverance (2 Chron. 20:5). the fear of God.Important that they went back to the temple, from whence they came. Too often, we go to God when there appears to be no hope – only to forget him when he delivers us!Do you wonder what they were singing? Verse 21 gives us a hint. On the way to Tekoa, they had been singing from the Psalms. They were probably singing the same thing on the way home!2Ch 20:21 … "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever."
  • Antiphonal Psalm. Marching out to Tekoa at the beginning – and on the way back to the temple at the end.Leader says the part in white. Congregation says the part in yellow italics in unison.
  • The neighboring countries took notice, and Judah enjoyed peace.What is the message of 2 Chronicles 20? Maybe it is this: God is bigger than our biggest problem.
  • When faced by a combined army of the Moabites and the Ammonites, two ancient enemies of Israel, Jehoshaphat put his faith in the Lord, and God gave him a great victory. The combination of prayer (2Ch_20:3-13), prophecy (2Ch_20:14-17), and praise (2Ch_20:18-22) brought him the victory. How will you face your biggest fears and find success in overcoming them?Follow the example of Jehoshaphat.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Enthroned at age 35 Reigned 25 years Died at age 60 A righteous king Sought to bring reform God blessed his reign
    • 2. A vast army coming from Edom & the other side of the Dead Sea
    • 3. When informed of the threat to his nation, King Jehoshaphat was “alarmed”
    • 4. Seek reinforcements? Hunker down and hope for the best? Go on the offensive?
    • 5. “Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek Him.”
    • 6. All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord. Vs. 13
    • 7. The Battle Belongs to the Lord (v. 1) In heavenly armor we’ll enter the land, The battle belongs to the Lord. No weapon that’s fashioned against us shall stand, The battle belongs to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power & strength to the Lord! (Repeat)
    • 8. The Battle Belongs to the Lord (v. 2) The power of darkness comes in like a flood, The battle belongs to the Lord. He’s raised up a standard, the power of his blood, The battle belongs to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power & strength to the Lord! (Repeat)
    • 9. The Battle Belongs to the Lord (v. 3) When your enemy presses in hard do not fear, The battle belongs to the Lord. Take courage my friend, your redemption is near, The battle belongs to the Lord. We sing glory, honor, power & strength to the Lord! (Repeat)
    • 10. Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.
    • 11. While the people worshiped the Lord, the Lord fought for the people!
    • 12. Psalms 136 [1] Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good. His love endures forever. [2] Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever. [3] Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
    • 13. Psalms 136 [4] to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever. [5] who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever. [6] who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.
    • 14. Psalms 136 [7] who made the great lights— His love endures forever. [8] the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever. [9] the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
    • 15. Psalms 136 [10] to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever. [11] and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever. [12] with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.
    • 16. Psalms 136 [13] to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever. [14] and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever. [15] but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.
    • 17. Psalms 136 [16] to him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever. [17] who struck down great kings, His love endures forever. [18] and killed mighty kings— His love endures forever.
    • 18. Psalms 136 [19] Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever. [20] and Og king of Bashan— His love endures forever. [21] and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever.
    • 19. Psalms 136 [22] an inheritance to his servant Israel; His love endures forever. [23] to the One who remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever. [24] and freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever.
    • 20. Psalms 136 [25] and who gives food to every creature. His love endures forever. [26] Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.
    • 21. The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.