Summary: Lessons from Jehoshaphat in how to handle life’s unpleasant surprises.
Praise Through to Victory!
Attention: You get home. The house is dark. You turn the key and open the door expecting to sit down and rest when…“SURPRISE!” All of your friends are there. They’ve thrown you a surprise party! OR: Someone calls you out of the blue and invites you to join them on their vacation…they’re buyin’! OR: You turn to the Lord after wasted years and WOW, you can’t believe what you’ve been missin’.
Need: The problem is, life’s surprises are not always pleasant. The surprises of life are not always a birthday or a holiday! I remember when I was fishing in a neighborhood pond as a teenager. The weather was lovely. All of the sudden things changed. What an eerie feeling. The sky quickly went from blue to gray. The sense of foreboding was intense. How often do we have such experiences in life?
The scripture records many surprises. Many of them are good. Like the Emmaus road. Or Matthew 25. Some are not so good. Josephs brothers. Haman (Esther 6). The Damascus road. A snake bites Paul.
The question is: what do you do when the surprise is unwanted?
When the surprise is a bill, cancer, drug addiction, a spouse addicted to pornography, a child sick (Pearl S. Buck), how should we react?
Text: 2 Chron. 20:1-26
Transition: Jehoshaphat was a godly man. He “sought the Lord with all his heart” (2 Chron 22:9). That didn’t mean that he was exempt from unwanted surprises. What was different about Jehoshaphat is how he responded to those surprises.
I. Jehoshaphat Meets a Shaking Surprise (1-3a)
a. Jehoshaphat was scared
i. They were at Engedi (1 day away)
b. Fear natural in such a situation
c. He did not rely on himself in the time of fear
d. We must not rely on ourselves in the time of fear
II. Jehoshaphat Turns to the Sovereign Savior (3b-13)
a. A model prayer
i. Person of God
ii. Past Victories
iii. Promises of God
b. God is not your servant
c. Necessary to answered prayer – dependence (v. 12)
d. When surprises come “our eyes are upon HIM”
III. Jehoshaphat Wins Battle With Songs Instead of Swords
a. He admonishes the people to believe
b. I believe it will rain today…I packed an umbrella
c. He did not wait to see the victory before he praised
d. We need not wait to see victory before we praise!
i. There is a valley of blessing coming for all true believers.
Visualization: You can follow Jehosophat’s example…pray and then praise your way to victory
I. Unwanted surprises come to us all
II. Turn to the Sovereign Savior
III. Praise Through to Victory!
Action: Start living a life of praise rather than fear. The two just won’t go along together. Take your burden to the Lord and then start to praise Him.
Appeal: If you’ve been franticly trying to fix the situation without the help of the Lord make a decision to turn to eyes upon Him. If you’ve been plagued by worry decide tonight to leave it behind and choose to praise Him.