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In case you didn’t know, the last part of Jehoshaphat’s name, “phat” is an old slang term that means “cool.” Our 6th graders loved it; because they thought his slightly freaky story was indeed, pretty cool–a little freaky, but pretty cool nonetheless.
Last week I shared this story with the 6th graders my husband and I disciple. We were skimming through the Old Testament as part of learning key words for the O.T. books. As we learn a key word, we always take a few minutes to look through the books for things we may not have seen before, and when you take preteens through the Old Testament, there’s a lot they haven’t seen.
But they agreed that the account of Jehoshaphat and the people of God in 2 Chronicles 20 had a pretty freaky ending–one they definitely didn’t see coming.
The story in a nutshell is that the Moabites and Ammonites were coming to make war against the people of Judah. (Really? Weren’t they always??!) The enemy was close and King Jehoshaphat was alarmed.
Being the awesome king he was, he resolved to inquire of the Lord, and called all the people to fast. The people came together from every town and sought the Lord.
Jehoshaphat knew God. I mean, he knew Him. He knew what God had done in the past, and knew what He was capable of doing today. So when the Spirit of God spoke through Jahaziel, he listened. The words were powerful, strengthening and gave the people courage and joy.
“Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours but God’s. . . . You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow and the Lord will be with you.” verses 15-17
And with that, Jehoshaphat and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord, praising God with a very loud voice.
The next morning they set out and decided to have a group of singers to go before the people singing to the Lord and praising Him for the splendor of His holiness. And as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mt Seir, and they were defeated.
Then the men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they destroyed the men from Mt Seir they destroyed one another.
When the men of Judah got there, all they saw were the bodies of their enemies. No one had escaped. The King and his people collected the plunder and headed back to Jerusalem praising God with harps, flutes and trumpets because He had given them victory over their enemies.
This part of the story ends with these words:
“The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for His God had given him rest on every side.” verses 29-30
Our kids were like, “No, way! They just stayed there and sang and God gave them the victory?” We reminded them that they didn’t exactly stay. Verse 20 says they went out early in the morning. They did more than stay. They obeyed; they prayed; they praised; and then they waited and watched for God to do what He had promised.
We praise and God fights for us. Freaky. Well, not really. Because God reminds us often in His Word that He will fight our battles, we just need to trust Him. He promises to go before us. He promises to protect us from behind. Maybe the freakiest part of this story is how His people trusted Him, and let Him fight.
We finished up by talking about how many “freaky” things we might encounter if we, like Jehoshaphat, when given cause for alarm went to God first, waited for His instruction and then did what He said. It’s just so simple. . . .It’s freaky!