2 Chronicles 20:22-25
As we think about the walk of faith, we want to see continual improvement in a person like Jehoshaphat. We expect people to have some struggles of faith early on in their spiritual life or during a time of crisis. We also expect them to finish well. When I think of finishing well, I seem to hear the voice of my high school cross-country coach yelling to us, “Kick it in! Kick it in!” However, like cross-country races, we do not always kick it in. We want to rest before the race is over. We want to think that because we have climbed one mountain, the journey is complete. The story of Jehoshaphat urges us to persevere in obedient faith to the end of our journey. When the cross-country race was occurring, the only thing our coach could do was to encourage us to run faster. In this section, we see that the Lord did much more than offer encouragement. He acted to provide clear evidence of his protection and provision for his people.
The Lord defeated the enemy (20:22-24). God used an unexplained method. Whatever to “set ambushes” means, it was some action by God to turn the invaders against themselves. The Lord has many weapons in his arsenal to use against his enemies. At times, he might use angels, and at other times, victory might come through environmental means. In this case, the Lord somehow threw them into a panic, and they began to kill each other until everyone was dead.
God doesn’t need our wisdom or strength for victory. He simply calls us to depend on him to bring the victory as he wills.
The Lord achieved total victory. He delivered the remnant of the southern kingdom of Judah when all seemed hopeless. This was part of his plan of salvation, leading up to the time that Jesus the Messiah would come. So, it was important in the history of salvation, just like the exodus from Egypt, the conquest of the Promised Land, and similar victories through Gideon, Samson, Samuel and David. God achieved our salvation in real history. Without acts like this, Jesus would not have come, because the line of the Messiah would have perished.
The victory serves a signpost, pointing from that time to other victories by the Lord. We can think of the victory at the cross (Colossians 2:13-15). We should also think of another future victory when King Jesus comes again (Revelation 19:11-21).
The Lord provided great riches. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it (20:25 NIV)
The plunder left by the defeated army was of three kinds: equipment, clothing, and valuables (gold, silver, copper and jewelry). Besides the loss of the enemy army, which crushed those other nations, Judah was strengthened by gaining the weapons of war, which are only produced at great cost. Think of the billions we spend yearly on our military. It would take years for those nations to overcome such economic loss. The clothing and the valuables would create a tremendous economic upturn for Judah. The Lord lifted them up above their neighbors. Used wisely, it would have made Judah dominant economically for a long time. They also should have remembered the underlying covenant relationship with the utterly wealthy God, who gives people wealth (Deuteronomy 18:11-20).
Has the Lord Jesus provided for us in his victory at the cross? Yes, he has (Ephesians 4:7-16). Then we should make wise investments of the gifts he has given to the church for its growth. The question is not, “Are you attending church?” Simply attending church and going your own merry way squanders the wealth of the cross. Are you involved with a group of believers, of gospel partners, to see others become worshipers of the Lord God? Please read the passage from Ephesians just referenced and think about the contributions you are supposed to make to the cause of God and truth. More on that Ephesians passage another time.
Grace and peace, David