Summary: Many Christians are not prepared spiritually for the attacks of the enemy. This message, taken from 2 Chronicles 20, gives six things we can do to prepare ourselves from the enemy's attacks.
Many of you are much too young to remember the 1965 title bout between the Heavyweight Champion Muhammad Ali and the man he defeated for the title, Sonny Liston a year earlier. Ali knocked Liston out in the first round with a right cross to his left temple that he never saw coming.
Ali’s punch was unexpected, unforeseen and not anticipated – by anyone who was watching the fight. But here’s the key: Ali was looking for an opportunity to throw that particular punch. He had studied Liston’s fighting style and how he anticipated punches.
Ladies and gentlemen, in this example, the enemy of the soul, Satan, is just like Muhammad Ali. He studies us. He looks for weaknesses. He looks for vulnerabilities. Then he decides on a plan of attack. And often, just like Muhammad Ali, he lands the unexpected, unforeseen and unanticipated punch that has the spiritual force to take us out.
How many of you have been in situations like this? Well, tonight we’re going to talk about how to respond to the unexpected.
Now I want you to hear what I’m about to say next. How we respond to the unexpected is determined by how we’ve prepared ourselves in advanced.
We know we have an adversary who walks about seeking people to devour. When we’re not prepared, he Johnny-on-the-spot ready to devour us. But when we are prepared, we respond in such a way that opens up the floodgates of heaven so God can move on our behalf.
We’re going to be in 2 Chronicles 20 and looking at Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah who was a descendant of Asa, who was a descendant of David.
When you look at 2 Chronicles 17, 18 and 19 you’ll see in Jehoshaphat a humble heart and a relationship with the Lord. This is where our victories begin – by humble before the Lord and having a relationship with Him that has been developed by spending time in His presence.
So, in 2 Chronicles 20 let’s begin with verse one.
(1) It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
(2) Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and, behold, they be in Hazazontamar, which is Engedi.
(3) And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.
When Jehoshaphat hears about the armies coming against him, his first response was fear. But that was not his last response. The phrase “set himself” paints the image of him physically turning his back to the problem so that he could “see the Lord’s face” and receive His counsel.
The word “seek” in this verse is best understood by looking at Deuteronomy 4:29-31.
(29) But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.
Notice that the very first time the word “seek” is used it’s referring to finding God. That’s a promise.
(30) When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the LORD thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
What did Jehoshaphat do? He from the problem and to the Lord.
(31) (For the LORD thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.
Jehoshaphat sought the Lord knowing that he would answer him. How often have we approached God knowing that He’d answer our prayers? Many of us go to Him thinking or hoping He’ll answer our prayers. Thinking and hoping is not knowing.
Now I want you listen to what I’m about to say. Placing doubt in our minds about God’s goodness and willingness to bless is one of Satan’s most effective strategies. He knows that doubt attached to prayer means unanswered prayer.
So, how do we focus on God when the unexpected, the unforeseen or the unanticipated happens?
The first key: Focus on God and not the problem.
(4) And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the LORD: even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
The second key: Ask others to seek God with you.
(5) And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the LORD, before the new court,
(6) And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?