Summary: What do we do in a crisis? The answer is worship God and He will bless you with victory!
KJV: “Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; believe his prophets, so shall ye prosper.”
MSG: “Listen Judah and Jerusalem! Listen to what I have to say! Believe firmly in GOD, your God, and your lives will be firm! Believe in your prophets and you’ll come out on top!"
NLT: "Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed."
CEV: "Listen my friends, if we trust the LORD God and believe what these prophets have told us, the LORD will help us, and we will be successful."
I have reflected on this verse much in the past weeks and ended up at the obvious question that perhaps I should have started with: How do I apply this verse to my life? How do I create the atmosphere in my life to be firm in the Lord and to be successful? How? This morning I would like to take a look at the whole passage that surrounds this verse and understand its place and then we may get some answers to our questions.
I. THE SITUATION
The Books of 1st and 2nd Kings and 1st and 2nd Chronicles give us a broad view of the history of Israel. After the death of King Solomon (David’s son), the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms: Israel in the north and Judah in the south. We could characterize the Northern Kingdom of Israel as having evil kings and were mostly drawn away from the worship of God. We could characterize the southern Kingdom of Judah as having good and evil kings and they swayed back and forth between worshipping the One True God and idols. In Judah, it all depended on the king.
The passage we have read this morning, 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 (quickview) , falls in a time in Judah’s history when they have had a series of good godly kings. King Asa (the father of King Jehoshaphat) was a godly king who fortified the nation as well as their faith in God. We find his story recorded in 2 Chronicles 14-16 (quickview) . Judah was at peace and controlled key ports and was prosperous during his reign (Bright, John. A History of Israel. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1959. pg 239-240).
We are focused on Asa’s son, King Jehoshaphat. The report about him at his death (2 Chronicles 20:31-21:3 (quickview) ) is mixed. He followed God and followed the faith his father had instilled in him, but did make some mistakes by making allies with enemies of God and did not purge idol worship when he found it among his people. As I said, his reign was mixed. To summarize this man, I would describe Jehoshaphat as godly, persevering, and flawed (just like anyone else).
II. THE COMPLICATION
King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah find themselves in deep trouble and peril. Judah does not seem to have done anything to provoke this attack nor should they expect it. This trouble came upon them suddenly. Perhaps you have been in that situation… trouble or hardship has come upon you and your family all of a sudden.