Summary: Part two focuses on what we should be doing while we are going through and when we have successfully come through something.
In The Mean Time Part 2
Last week I introduced this series by explaining how each of us are either getting ready to go through something; are currently going through something; or just came through something. Regardless of which situation we are in, there is a time when all we can do is think about the situation. During this time of waiting and contemplation, there is something that we should be doing. This is the time that I call “In the Mean Time.” It is what we do during this time that can dictate the outcome of what we are going through. Last week I talked about what we should do as we are preparing to go through. We looked at Matthew the sixth chapter. In verse thirty-three of that chapter, Jesus said “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” This is what we should be doing continuously – but especially when we are preparing to go through something. When we seek God first, we have the assurance that whatever we will be dealing with, He is there handling the situation. He is there ready to help and to deliver us. If we do this part right, what I am about to share with you today will be a lot easier. Remember: first seek God and His righteousness and then everything else will take care of itself and we will have the confidence that we need to go through any situation. This morning we will examine scripturally what we should be doing “in the mean time” while we are going through and also when we have come through to the other side. Turn with me to 2 Chronicles the 20th chapter.
I. Jehoshaphat’s Response As He Went Through
In 2 Chronicles the 20th chapter we find the story of Jehoshaphat when Judah was bout to be invaded. The earlier chapters of 2 Chronicles tell us of Jehoshaphat life and the fact that he had a humble heart and a secure relationship with God (he had done the first part right, he had sought out God and His righteousness). This relationship that he had with God was the foundation for his response to the situation he found himself in. When chapter 20 opens, we find these words: “Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat.” Out of no where, without any warning, three nations joined together to start a war against Jehoshaphat and Judah. When Jehoshaphat learns of this impending attack through his servants he became alarmed. The first thing he did was seek out God through a fast. Verse 3 says “Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” The first thing that he did was seek out God through prayer. He focused on God and not his problem. He could do this because of the relationship that he had with God. Jehoshaphat decided within himself to go directly to God for advice. He also called upon the people to fast. (Sometimes eating can be a comfort during times of stress.) But if you are truly seeking God, this might would be a good time to fast instead. Jehoshaphat went to God in prayer. He focused on God immediately and not on the impending attackers.
Now notice what took place in verse 4. Verse 4 says, “So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord.” In this verse we see all of the people coming together to seek God. Although they were entering into a time of battle, everyone turned their face to God. Understand that when you are going through it is a good thing to ask others to intercede with you. Jehoshaphat had all of the people calling out to God. Now we come to the part when we get a glimpse of how secure Jehoshaphat was in his relationship with God. Look at what he says in verses 6-9; “And he said, ‘O Lord , the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham, Your friend forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.” In these verses, Jehoshaphat, in the midst of all the people of Judah, reminds the Lord of His covenant relationship with Israel. He wanted the people to know what he already knew, that the Lord would keep His promise. In reminding God of His promise, he begins by asking God questions. These questions implied the following in reference to the sons of Moab who was preparing to attack them: “How dare they come against us when we serve the God who is in control. God do they know understand that it is you who we serve and it is you who will protect us? How dare they come against You!” When you are in such a tight relationship with God, there will be times when you go through something and you will wonder, “Don’t these people understand whom I serve?”