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Monday, August 18, 2014

Revival and Reformation Pt 18: From Panic to Prayer to Praise to Peace


{Audio File is here}

Revival and Reformation Pt 18
2 Chronicles 20
From Panic to Prayer to Praise to Peace
Righteous God, through your Spirit’s aid, grant us new eyes and new hearts to clearly comprehend what we have just heard, and to unmistakably absorb what we are about to receive; for the honor of Christ’s crown and covenant. Amen.

How do you respond to crisis situations? … Here we see a way to move from panic to prayer to praise to peace.
The Crisis: 1-2.
The Cry: 3-13.
Biblical – rehearses many prayers of earlier godly men; for example David in 1 Chronicles 29; Solomon at the Temple Dedication; Asa in 2 Chronicles 14.11.
Bold – This prayer is grounded on a relevant piece of God’s story (3-9); and lays out the present facts (10-11). But the basis of his boldness is the conviction of who God is (v. 6) and that he is “the God of our fathers” (v. 6) and is “our God” (v.7 and 12) – and thus that his words and deeds in the past may be appealed to as evidences and arguments for God to do again a similar work in the present.
Believing – Full-bodied conviction. Jehoshaphat declares his entire dependence upon God for deliverance (12). Because of the defeat in Chapter 18, his military strength is probably heavily diminished; so he said, [1] We are powerless against this great horde. No competence or strength without you, nowhere that we can expect any help. None to boast of, none to trust to; we are powerless against this great horde. [2] We do not know what to do. The distress is desperate! We’re quite at a loss, we are in dire straits; we acknowledge that we don’t have the cognitive or imaginative capacities to figure this out! Our vision statement is bankrupt and our mission statement is blank! We do not know what to do. [3] Nevertheless our eyes are upon you. This is another way to say what Asa said, “We rely upon you” (14.11!), and from you is all our expectation. Our eyes are upon YOU, which is a picturesque way of saying – we are seeking the Lord! This expression is an acknowledgment of humble submission, faith, entire dependence, desire, hope and patient anticipation; just like in Psalm 123.

The Comfort: 14-19. Jahaziel announces God’s answer, an answer that follows the prayer: “What I did in the past, I will do in the present!” The answer specifically harkens back to Asa (chapter 14), and runs even further back to Joshua (“Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed” – v.15 and 17, “And the LORD will be with you” – v. 17), and reaches all the way back to the crossing of the Red Sea (v.17 and Exodus 14.13: “And Moses said to the people, "Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.”). Jehoshaphat and his people received these assurances with thankful reverence (v. 18-19).

The Conquest: 20-30. 
A.  The next day, as they went forth, instead of Jehoshaphat calling them to take up arms, fall into formation, keep ranks, observe marching orders, and fight valiantly, Jehoshaphat bids them to believe in the Lord God and give full credit to his word in the mouth of His prophets, assuring them that they shall succeed and be established, v. 20. This is what rallies a man or a woman with true courage; and braces a person’s heart in shaky and shattered times: This resolute belief in the power, and mercy, and promise of God. In our spiritual conflicts, this is the victory; this is the reservoir of success, even our faith: 1 Jn. 5.4-5.

B.  See how rich God is in mercy to those that call upon him in truth, and how often he out-does the prayers and expectations of his people. Jehoshaphat and his people prayed to be delivered from being spoiled by the enemy; and God not only delivered them, but enriched them with the spoil of the enemy; “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, ( . . . )” (Ephesians 3:20-21). In the words of the Psalm writer: “You brought us into the net; you laid a crushing burden on our backs; you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance” (Psalm 66.11-12). // A memorial place (the Valley of Beracah – v. 26); Joy and rejoicing – v. 27-28; Security and rest – v. 29-30 (14.6-7, 15.15). They are now actually better off because of the crisis!

The Cloudy Blip – 33! It rises up out of nowhere, totally unexpected and puts a sobering undertone to the melodious music of merriment! Not everyone is on board with all of this religious showiness; this exuberant, demonstrable faith and faithfulness. Possibly these folks were saying or thinking, “Maybe it was fitting in the crisis – but please, don’t go overboard with your religious enthusiasms, all this reviving and reforming stuff! Now that the heat’s off, surely we can return to the status-quo!”

5.  How do you apply this Word of God?
A. In some ways Jehoshaphat is a demonstration of our Savior, Jesus Christ. [a] Notice Jehoshaphat’s indomitable trust in the Lord - it is a whole hearted and joyful trust in God. See Christ in the wilderness and see Christ in the Garden; “In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (Hebrews 5.7). [b] Notice that his faith leads him to face the kingdom enemies in powerlessness, in weakness, in “defeat” and political suicide (by the world’s standard). And see Christ Jesus, who could call down 12 Legions of Angels to deliver him, refuses all Angelic and Adamic help and goes to the cross, “He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7). “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pet. 2.22-24).

B. The importance of prayer: “The same providence that orders the end orders the means by which that end is obtained; and part of the means is our prayer. Therefore, just as God decreed the blessing, so he has decreed that the blessing should come by prayer. Hence prayer is not an optional, spiritual luxury; it is a must” (Walter J. Kaiser Jr., “Revive Us Again,” 106).


C. The point of the whole story: 2 Chronicles 7.14. What the reliable God says, the reliable God does! Embrace it; live it; bank on it!

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