“Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, “A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar” (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, 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.”
Jehoshaphat was king of Judah, son of Asa and a descendant of David, “The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the ways of his father David before him.” (2 Chronicles 17:3). His heart was “devoted to the ways of the Lord” (v. 6). The Lord blessed him and he grew in wealth and power.
We can all think of examples of historical leaders that (when they became wealthy and/ or powerful) relied on their own earthly wisdom.
This would have been especially dangerous for Judah and Jehoshaphat, as they were informed of a massive invading army moving into their territory.
On hearing the terrifying news, Jehoshaphat’s first move was to declare a fast for the kingdom, a “shutting of the mouth” as the Hebrew root word “tsuwm” describes. As they were fasting, all the people of Judah came together to pray for help from the Lord.
The Spirit of the Lord does indeed meet the people, telling them through the prophet Jahaziel, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 15).
The Lord then miraculously caused the invading armies to fall on each other and destroy themselves, not only saving the kingdom but bringing enormous riches into the kingdom.
What “invading force” is attempting to move into your territory? Maybe a habit or hang up, maybe a fear that you struggle with. Is your first reaction to fast and pray? I can tell you that hasn’t been mine.
But… what if it were? What if fasting and prayer helped me turn over my fear and life’s challenges to God? What if we all did it together? What might God do?
PRAY: “Lord God, You are all-powerful and all-knowing. Thank You for Your provision for me. You see my fears, You see my challenges. You see my family and friends. Please Lord, prompt me to fast and pray, to look to You first for help. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”