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2 Chronicles 20:1-25

God's Help in Times of Trouble

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • November 06, 2022

In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat faced the greatest and most difficult troubles of his life. Not just one army, but an alliance of armies was coming against him. He turned to God for help in times of trouble. But it wasn’t just the fact that he turned to God for help, it’s how he did it. The story is filled with great spiritual application and life lessons.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

God’s Help in Times of Trouble
2 Chronicles 20:1-25
November 5-6, 2022         

            Life here on this earth has many troubles. And there are many types of troubles. There are troubles that come from our own foolish choices and there are troubles that come from the troubled world in which we live.

            As I mentioned last week, God wants to keep us from the troubles that come from our own foolish choices. This world has enough troubles of its own and we don’t need to add troubles of our own foolish making.

            One of the great lessons of life, however, is to know that if you do something foolish and it brings great troubles, God is the One you must rely on for help. He will not turn you away, He will help if you trust in His hand to lead you.

Illus – Many people plant the weeds of poor decisions in their lives and then when those weeds grow up, they have nothing but trouble all around. Here’s the answer. God may not have led you into that field of weeds, but he certainly knows the way out! There was a children’s song we used to sing in Sunday School, “The Lord knows the way through the wilderness, all I have to do is follow.”

            Then there are troubles that come not from our own doing, but from the fact that this is a messed up and troubled world.

            God wants you to look to Him in times of trouble, regardless of where that trouble came from. There are life lessons for how to respond in times of trouble. If you are not facing troubles now, you must still take hold of these principles. You will surely one day need them.

That brings us to 2 Chronicles 20. The story takes place in the southern kingdom of Judah. Jehoshaphat reigned as king. He had pursued the ways of God in his life and therefore the Lord strengthened the kingdom in his control and Jehoshaphat was blessed of God. He did well for much of his life.

            As we studied last week, however, he brought trouble upon himself when he decided to build an alliance with the king of Israel in the north by having his son marry Ahab’s daughter. This was not good. Jehoshaphat never asked God and this alliance got him into the thick of great trouble. Only with the help of God did he get out of that trouble.

            He learned a valuable lesson. He learned from his mistake, which is a valuable lesson unto itself. Some people are so stubborn they refuse to take hold of the lessons of life. But Jehoshaphat did learn from his mistake and the lessons he learned would serve him well.

            In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat faced the greatest and most difficult troubles of his life. Not just one army, but an alliance of armies was coming against him. He turned to God for help in times of trouble. But it wasn’t just the fact that he turned to God for help, it’s how he did it. The story is filled with great spiritual application and life lessons.

I. Face Your Troubles with Faith

  • It’s very common for people to ignore their troubles, to avoid them, to pretend they will go away all on their own. But they won’t go away on their own, and the more you avoid them, the greater they become.
  • Face your troubles head-on and face them with faith, believing that God will be your help.
  • If anyone understood troubles, it would have been David. He understood where help comes from…

Psalm 121:1-2, I will lift up mine eyes to the hills, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, maker of heaven and earth.

  • Jehoshaphat heard the report that a great multitude was coming against him from beyond the Dead Sea. It was even reported that they had already encroached as far as Engedi. This problem wasn’t going away, it was coming after him!
  • How Jehoshaphat responded to that trouble is the unfolding of great principles of life…

A. Seek the Lord first

  • Verse 3 – before Jehoshaphat faced the trouble, he turned his attention to seek the Lord.
  • This was the error of his father King Asa. No doubt Jehoshaphat was there when the land of Judah was invaded by the Ethiopian army of 1 million fighting men.
  • He was there when his father, King Asa cried out to God for help. He was there when the armies of Judah, greatly outnumbered, defeated and plundered the invading army from Ethiopia.
  • But wasn’t he also there when his father relied on his own clever plan when they were threatened by the king of Israel in the north?
  • Wasn’t he there when his father was confronted by Hanani the prophet with one of the greatest truths known to man?

2 Chronicles 16:9, “The eyes of the Lord search and fro throughout the whole earth to strongly support those whose heart is fully His.”

  • Jehoshaphat has taken hold of this lesson. Not only did he seek the Lord first, he also called a national prayer meeting.

B. Seek help with a humble heart

  • Jehoshaphat called the nation to fast before the Lord. Fasting is a way of humbling oneself before God, the setting aside of the craving for food to seek God with the heart singularly focused on seeking God’s help.

2 Chronicles 7:14, “And if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven, I will forgive their sin, and I will heal their land.”

  • Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, and prayed. There is something powerful about praying as a nation, or people, or church in a great assembly with one heart seeking God.

Illus – When the Allied forces stormed the beaches at Normandy, the president of United States, FDR, led the nation in prayer.… “Almighty God, our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.

            Lead them straight and true, give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, and steadfastness in their faith. They will need Thy blessings. The road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph.”

  • Our church has gathered many times to pray as one people, crying out to God, interceding on behalf of our broken nation and for this troubled world and on behalf of those we know and love who need God in their lives.
  • The prayer of Jehoshaphat is also an example in how to pray…
  • Declare God’s power over the trouble.
  • Verse 6 – “O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You.”
  • Remember what God has done in your life.
  • Verse 7 – “Did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land for Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham, your friend, forever?”
  • Proclaim God’s name in your life.
  • Verse 9 – “Your name is in this house and we cry to You in our distress, and we know you will hear and deliver us.”
  • Your prayer and mine could be much like it; “Your name is in my heart. You are my Father, I am your son or daughter. I cry out to You in my distress because I know that as my Father, you will hear and deliver.”

C. Wait on the Lord

  • Verse 12 – “We are powerless before this great multitude; we do not know what to do. Our eyes are on You.”
  • Then it says that all Judah was standing there before the Lord, with their infants, their wives, and their children. Just standing there, waiting.
  • Don’t move until you have direction from the Lord. Wait on the Lord.

Isaiah 40:28-31, Do you not know? Have you not heard?… It is He who gives strength to the weary, and to him who lacks might He increases power. Though youths grow weary and tired, and vigorous young men stumble badly, yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not faint.

II. The Battle Belongs to the Lord

  • All the people were standing before the Lord, waiting. Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of their leaders who answered with a word from the Lord…
  • Verse 15 – “Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’”
  • Verse 17 – “You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf.”
  • God promised to deliver them and that the battle belonged to the Lord. They only need to station themselves and to watch and wait for the salvation of the Lord.
  • As we know from the story, God set the armies of these nations into confusion, and they attacked one another while the armies of Judah watched the scene unfold before them.
  • It’s a powerful example of how God can move in your behalf. God does not always move the same way. That’s why you pray and ask God to reveal Himself in your circumstance.
  • There are many ways God may bring victory in your circumstance.
    • God may strengthen you in the midst of the trouble. David wrote, “By You I can run upon a troop; by my God I can leap over a wall. He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze… Your help makes me great.”
    • God may tell you not to fight at all, but to stand by and watch as God fights on your behalf… There are many examples. Later in the history of Israel, when the army of Assyria surrounded the walls of Jerusalem and their captain called out to the people standing on the wall, the King had instructed the people, saying, “Do not answer him a word.” There are times when silence is the most powerful answer.
    • God may bring help by bringing things to your mind when you pray.
    • I recently ran into an obstacle in our remodel project. God brought someone to mind who had helped us almost 15 years ago…
    • I remember when I was in Bible college, and we ran out of money for groceries. God brought someone to mind…

A. Firmly stand and you will be supported

  • Verse 20 – They rose early in the morning and went out to face their great enemy, and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will be established.”
  • There is an interesting play on words that is easier to see in the Hebrew. A more literal translation could be, “Rely, stand firmly on the strong support of God and He will firmly establish you.”
  • The eyes of the Lord are searching for those whose heart is fully His that He might strongly support them.

Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

  • When you’ve walked with God through many troubles and you’ve seen His strong support in your life, you will begin to build your life on that foundation and will strongly rely on His strong support…
  • You will be able to say, “I know my God, I know how He moves, I know He helps and that I can rely on His strong support in my life.”

B. There is power in praise

  • Verse 21 – When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and who praised Him in holy attire and they went out before the army singing and praising God.
  • Then it says that when they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the enemy and they were routed.
  • It was a lesson in the power of praise. It’s an expression of faith to praise God even in the midst of great trouble because it establishes your heart. It gives expression to your faith.
  • In other words, something powerful happens when God’s people sing praises. Faith is given expression. The soul is stirred. Something beautiful is given to God…
  • And God answers. God inhabits the praises of His people.

Illus – When we gathered for a night of worship, something powerful happened.

  • Notice that they sang and praised God before the victory. They believed God’s promise and they gave thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness to Him in advance. They didn’t wait for the victory to give Him praise!

2 Chronicles 20:1-25              NASB

1 Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the [a]Meunites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, out of [b]Aram and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is Engedi).” Jehoshaphat was afraid and [c]turned his attention to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord; they even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord.

Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord before the new court, and he said, “O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You. Did You not, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever? They have lived in it, and have built You a sanctuary there for Your name, saying, ‘Should evil come upon us, the sword, or judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You (for Your name is in this house) and cry to You in our distress, and You will hear and deliver us.’ 10 Now behold, the sons of Ammon and Moab and [d]Mount Seir, whom You did not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt (they turned aside from them and did not destroy them), 11 see how they are rewarding us by coming to drive us out from Your possession which You have given us as an inheritance. 12 O our God, will You not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You.”

13 All Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives and their children.

14 Then in the midst of the assembly the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, the Levite of the sons of Asaph; 15 and he said, “Listen, all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s. 16 Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the valley in front of the wilderness of Jeruel. 17 You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.”

18 Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. 19 The Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel, with a very loud voice.

20 They rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa; and when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your trust in the Lord your God and you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.” 21 When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in holy attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His lovingkindness is everlasting.” 22 When they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were [e]routed. 23 For the sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir destroying them completely; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

24 When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. 25 When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, [f]garments and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much.

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