Jehoshaphat’s Prayer Request

img_16692 Chronicles 20:10-12

The Lord communicates with his people through the Holy Spirit using his word. He opens up the word to us, makes us feel the power of God’s word, and applies it to our minds and hearts, so that our thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and actions are transformed by it. God’s people communicate with him through prayer, praise, and worship. We express our delight in him and share our lives with him. Since we are dependent created beings, part of sharing our lives with God involves making requests of him. We must be clear about this, because some contemporary Christians assert that God gives them messages during prayer. If this wrong idea was true, it would have been recorded on numerous occasions in the Scriptures. Please don’t form your doctrines from wrong ideas that you suppose make you feel good and spice up prayer. Communicating with the living God is all the “spice” that anyone needs!

Many times in the Bible, the Lord God asks and encourages us to ask him. We should never feel reluctant to bring our requests to the throne of grace. To draw back because we sense our sinfulness exchanges grace for pride in our performance. Clearly, Jehoshaphat was not a perfect man, but that did not stop him from presenting his needs and the great need of his people to the Lord. So then, let us listen to Jehoshaphat present an important request.

Jehoshaphat spoke about their problem (20:10-11). Yes, God fully knows our needs. We do not pray to provide information to the One who knows everything. We talk with God, because he has graciously brought us into a covenantal relationship with him, and he wants us to share our lives with him. Consider a couple awaiting the birth of their first child… or grandchild. One might ask the other, “How do you feel about this?” The purpose of the question is not find out some information that he or she is ignorant about. Instead, it is to draw out the experience of the other’s excitement about the coming blessed event. It is to share the wonder of new life with each other. God wants us to make known our thoughts and ideas about our problems. It is what prayer does. Read John 17, the great prayer of Jesus, in which he talked with the Father about his concerns as the cross drew near. Jesus knew that joy would come through the cross (Hebrews 12:2), and so he talked about the glory ahead with his Father.

Notice that what Jehoshaphat said is based on his prior worship of the Lord. He expected God to help, because he had given them the land (cf. 20:7, 11). Helping them would be consistent with his gracious gift. God can judge his enemies, because he is all-powerful and no one can successfully oppose him (20:6, 12). They, however, are weak and in desperate need.

Jehoshaphat asked God to judge the enemy and to rescue them (20:12). Here is a request that must be read with an understanding of salvation history. At that time, God’s people were a physical nation that God had promised to protect, if they obeyed him. As we have said before, God does not promise his new covenant people physical protection, but his presence with his suffering people, as they serve God and others self-sacrificially. See how Jehoshaphat threw himself humbly and completely on God’s mercy (20:12b). And in the clash of fear and faith, while his fear assaulted him, his faith looked up to the Lord for rescue!

Have you ever asked God to rescue you? Do you know why you need to be rescued? Let’s think about this. Because Christ has died for sinners and has risen that whoever believes in him may be right with God, we encourage you to ask the Lord Jesus to rescue you today. This is an eternal rescue that meets your greatest need, which is to right with God. If you trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, God will declare you right with him. Read Romans 3:21-4:5.

Grace and peace, David

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