This is a word released to the Destiny House community November 17, 2012 (see video below to see the worship that followed)
Are you ever not sure what to do when people come up against you, circumstances around you become out of control, or there’s no options for escape in sight? I am struck by the actions of a king when he got hit with some devastating news. He got word that an army bigger than he had ever seen was on their way to take him and his people down. By learning from his example and leadership, how we respond can in fact influence the outcome. Check this out…
“After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazan Tamar (that is En Gedi).” 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 NIV (throughout this story)
Has that ever happened to you? You hear news of a storm coming from around the corner, you hear of bad news coming to your workplace, you hear that someone has been offended by you and is coming after you, or that an army is preparing to take you down? King Jehoshaphat, along with the people God had entrusted him to lead, were about to be annihilated. I am blown away by his immediate response. “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord…” He did not run to other lovers, freak out and see himself as a failure, get depressed because of the looming destruction about to overtake him. No, the very first thing he did was to resolve to seek out the Lord to hear His heart on the matter. He had an understanding of the truth that God is over all. Even with this, while he my not have understood why God was allowing His people to be attacked by a massive army, he chose to seek Him still, understanding the supremacy of God Almighty above anything that could war against him.
Responses to Looming Disasters
The second thing he did was that “he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek Him.” I notice here the solid leadership of the king. First of all, he did not go to his confidants to seek advice, although this can be good at times. He ran first to the Lord and led the people to the same place so much so that they came from every single town under his leadership for the sole purpose of seeking the true King of Kings. He was not afraid to lead. He did not ask everyone their opinions on what they should do, get a group consensus, and then move forward. He did not care if people would jump on board or not, he knew what needed to be done and he honored God by the first fruits of his response. The first fruits of our responses to God after horrible things come towards us or even after great blessings are important. The Father gave us His first fruits by sending His first and only Son for us.
Right View of God
“Then Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem at the temple of the Lord in the front of the new courtyard and said: 'O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.” How did King Jehoshaphat view God here? As a king, he recognized who the true King of kings truly was. He recognized that the only power given to him was given from above.
He went on, “O our God. Did you not drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend?” The king saw the power of the testimony. He recognized that recapturing God’s history could be a source of strength and breakthrough for the present and the future. He also saw the sweet connection between God and his friend Abraham. Okay, so you know when you have a good friend and because you are such great friends with that person, you have favor with some of the people that know that person? It’s almost the same here. The king sees a kindred connection between Abraham and the living God. To even mention friend here demonstrates that he believed it could happen again. Could he be known as a friend of God too? How wonderful would it be to be known as a close friend of God and also that those around us might get some of the benefits from our relationship with the Lord?
Honoring Generations who have come before
He continued to call out to God and told Him that the descendents of Abraham, who is His friend, “have lived in it and have built in it a sanctuary for Your Name, saying ‘If calamity comes upon us, whether the sword of judgment, or plague, or famine, we will stand in Your presence before this temple that bears Your Name and will cry out to You in our distress, and you will hear us and save us.’” He honored generations of the past who honored God. He honored and learned from their legacy and in turn stepped into some of their inheritance in that process. He reminded God of what has already been promised by Him in past generations. He reminded God of the position he was being put in at that moment with armies en route to destroy what generations from past had contended to build and protect.
Calling God Out
After the king honored God with His rightful place in the kingdom, reminding God and the people about promises from the past, he talked to God about their present situation. “But now here we are men from Ammom, Moab and Mount Seir, whose territory You would not allow Israel to invade when they came from Egypt; so they turned away from them and did not destroy them. See how they are repaying us by coming to drive us out of the possession You gave us as an inheritance. O our God, will You not judge them?” It was God who gave them the land in the first place, not their own strength. Would He not be faithful to continue to give them the strength to inhabit it for His glory? The king was pretty much calling the Lord out and saying, “we did everything You asked, will You not come and defend us, it’s time for You to step in."
The Humility of a king
The king continued, “For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” In front of all the people he was leading, the king admitted that without God, he had no power of his own. He was outnumbered. There was no way in the natural that his army could even put a dent in the army approaching to annihilate them. He admitted before all the people that he did not know what to do; he didn’t have a solution to the problem approaching. How many leaders do we know who would ever admit before all their people that they had absolutely no idea how to face the problem heading their way? What if the president called a state address and told the people that the financial crisis is too great, or a large country has just declared war on us and our country is going to be in ruins and he confessed that he had no idea what to do. What if he admitted that we are greatly outnumbered and there is no hope for coming out of this unless the God in whom we trust intervened? What if he called a fast and called people to wait on the Lord for the direction of the nation? How many people would through “stones” at him? King Jehoshaphat humbled himself before the people and the Lord, became vulnerable and did not hide the facts. In the midst of not knowing what to do, his eyes remained on the true King of kings.
When Jehoshaphat stood before the Lord, it caused the people to follow suit. “All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the Lord.” It was after this whole community humbled themselves and stood before the Lord that “then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant from Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.” I find it interesting how specific the Lord is at describing where this man came from. It was ordained since the time of Asaph that his descendant would stand up in a solemn assembly for such a time as this to shift the direction of a whole generation and help to save them from the oncoming onslaught.
Jahaziel said, “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 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.”
Who is this Jahaziel?
This is quite possibly the only time we see this person in the whole Bible. There is another Jahaziel of a different family line that was one of David’s mighty men, however the one mentioned here is different. This Jahaziel was born and positioned for such a time at this. He was known by this community and therefore his word could be received. He did not come as a lone ranger to release this word then flee. No, he journeyed with this community and was known by them. His time for greatness had come in that moment. What if he hadn’t come to stand before the Lord with the others? What if he was afraid to release what God had been burning inside of him? Addressing the king and all the people is quite an act of courage. What if he thought someone else would reveal what was on God’s heart? Why did it have to be him? Whatever battles he faced and overcame to get to this point of speaking up in the midst of a congregation before the king is a tremendous breakthrough. I wonder how many times before this he spoke up. Or how many times he got shut down. Whatever courage he had to overcome challenges from the past prepared him for this moment of destiny.
Jahaziel spoke confidently as a mouthpiece of heaven. He released a very specific word, including even details of where the enemy’s camp would be stationed. And while deliverance would come from the Lord, they were still called to take up their positions, stand firm, prepare for battle and go out and face the army. They still had to position themselves for victory. Even though the battle was already won according to the prophetic word released within that community, they still had to face their enemies. Can you imagine God telling you that you already have victory but you still need to prepare, put your armor on, and then go to face your enemies head on?
Worshipping when the Armies are surrounding
Johoshaphat responded to this word and “bowed his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.”
Had this community seen the victory of the Lord over their enemies? At this point there was still a massive army on their way to attack and destroy them all. One word from God changed everything for them. The only reason it changed everything was because they had come before the Lord with open hearts ready to receive the word and they believed Him. Even in the midst of their enemies en route to destroy them, in response to the prophetic word for this community and after the king became vulnerable with his people, the worship leaders stood up and praise the Lord with a very loud voice. The king bowed down first and all the people followed. The worship leaders could do nothing but praise with very loud voices. They were releasing the response to what God was going to do. They led this congregation in praise songs as loud as they could sing. The victory had not yet happened. However, because Jehoshaphat saw that Abraham was God’s friend, he knew that God would show him favor as well.
Early in the Morning
“Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, ‘Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.”
Have faith in God to be upheld, to be stable, to not fall. Have faith in His prophets to be successful, have victory, have more than enough. It is interesting to notice the call to trust both the Lord and His mouthpieces. Jahaziel must have felt some relief after hearing the king respond like that. A prophet honored in his home community. That alone is remarkable in itself. Praise God.
Singing about God’s Love at a time like this?
“After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
‘Give thanks to the Lord, For His love endures forever.’”
So why in the world was this community singing about God’s love when they were about to face the biggest army they had seen in their lives? I wonder what we can learn from this community of believers in how to respond to major crises when they approach us. When the enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy, is our response to sing of God's love and to give Him thanks? I wonder what things would shift in the atmosphere if every time we were about the face the enemies attacking us that our focus was on God’s love? What if worship led our procession into the fires and storms of life?
Can you imagine what this community must have felt as they marched towards the hill, about to face the largest army they had ever seen? Were they crazy for marching and singing songs of love to God based on one prophetic word? I wonder how confident they were at this point. Would they get to the top of the hill and see the massive army coming straight at them? Did they hear wrong from the Lord? Could they really put their hope in that one prophetic word to save their lives? Would God really come through for them this time? Why did they have to put all this armor on if God already had the victory?
Worship Disarms powers of darkness
Look at what happened when worship was released. In the process of this community gearing up to face their enemies, “as they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” Songs of thanksgiving and love to God disarmed their enemies. As they kept their eyes on Him and not their circumstances, as they walked by faith and not sight, they were able to rise above the fear. Giving God thanks and singing about His love in the midst of near destruction is completely counterculture to their situation. They were not singing battle, war cry, or intercessory songs rebuking the enemy; they didn’t sing about fighting against darkness or even make declarations of their victory. No, they simply remembered what God had done in the past and thanked Him; they put their focus on His enduring love.
Maybe the first thing we should do when faced with challenging circumstances, when the enemy opposes us, or when things of this world try to take us down, is to sing songs of thanksgiving to God for His faithfulness and focus on His great love.
“The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.” All of this was happening in the midst of worship and unbeknownst to men of Judah. They did not see any of this. They simply released worship into the atmosphere and trusted in the Lord as they marched towards the army.
Because they honored God and the prophets, they received a greater reward
“When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 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.
On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah (Valley of Praise), where they praised the Lord. This is why it is called Valley of Beracah to this day. Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets.
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.”
Responding to what comes up against us by offering a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to God for what He has done in the past and celebrating ahead of time for what He is going to do in the future, is probably one of the best ways to face any trial. Going in the complete opposite spirit towards the things that come up against us and keeping our focus on loving God will cause us to rise above our circumstances and give us a greater capacity to see God and trust in His mighty strength for our lives. As you seek Him for His leading, as you continue to step out in faith, fully prepared to face your enemies, thanking and worshiping Him at every corner, do not fear, He will fight on your behalf. Worshiping Him because He is worthy despite our present circumstances can be on the most powerful weapons to disarm the enemy and release the breakthrough God is waiting to release. May fierce worship be stirred up and released within you as you victoriously rise above your circumstance by seeking His face.
Below is the worship explosion that released after this word was deposited in the Destiny House family November 17, 2012. May it release joy unspeakable in you today as you rise above your circumstances in glory, setting your affections on the One who is worthy of it all.
See also God Holds the Key to Our Destiny