B) The Proper Time for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:3-4)
Jehoshaphat was a man like us. His first response was fear. We should point out here that fear in its initial stage is not sin. Fear is a God-given alarm that calls us to pay special attention to something that threatens us. Our body starts generating special chemicals that cause us physically and otherwise to be totally alert. Like in King Jehoshaphat’s case, the alarm is sufficient that it finally draws your attention to what is most important. It is not like the alarm clock that rings and you let it go. Maybe it is like one of these super alarms that are made to get your attention.
Fears become sin when they persist in your life. They have done their job of alarming you and letting you know of their danger, but now the fears remain. Your body goes out of whack because it was not made to handle those extra chemicals for a long period. If fears do not lead to trust, then physical and emotional problems occur. Long-term fears always betray a lack of trust in God and this leads to grave side-effects. If you have unresolved fears, then be alarmed at this and call out to God as the king here did. Let fears have their impact on our lives by leading us to the Lord.
This is what they did for Jehoshaphat and the people. “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” This was a good leader. A good leader doesn’t always have the answer but he does always lead us to where the answer can be found. It is a shame that many of our political leaders look to budgets to solve our problems. We have spent our way into poverty and we still have not resolved our problems. We will soon find ourselves bankrupt. Don’t be alarmed. It is already a fact except no one is stating it. It is then we will have a strategic opportunity to turn to the Lord for help. If we turn to the other nations for help or to war or to trickery as we have been, we will be lost as a nation. And so it would have been if the people of God here did not turn to God.
We must understand that these were real bullets. This was a real war game. This was not a virtual threat which when you start loosing you can turn the computer off. No. Let me ask you, have you ever been so alarmed at something that it shook your being? Have you been so desirous of God’s help, that you fasted? Or as a leader, have you even desired something with those that you lead, that you would call them to fast? The king here led his people to fast and pay attention to the problem. I like how verse 4 states it, “So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord.” This is where help will come from.
Some people ask inquisitively, “What is different about Christianity and other religions?” They are typically asking on a scholarly level. They have studied all the major religions and comparing them. The difference is that God has revealed Himself through the scriptures. If we want to seek Him, we must seek Him His way. The difference is that those who seek the Lord in the name of Jesus Christ will find answers! God is alive. He is not at all frustrated with those things that alarm us. But we must seek Him and we must seek no other.
Application: Do you have any fears? Did you turn to the Lord? Why do you hold back your trust? If you cry out to God, He will answer.
Next => C) The Needed Substance of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:5-13) Prayer is where our trust is given to God.
Biblical Foundations for Freedom