Introduction to 2 Chronicles 20
This past week I’ve had to pray with people battling overwhelming odds against cancer, children’s health issues, relationship problems, addictions, emotional distress, and many other issues. And of course, concerns about the shortages we face today bring daily challenges. People feel overwhelmed and discouraged. What about you? Are you struggling against overwhelming odds today? In that case, this story taken from 2 Chronicles 20 will definitely inspire you.
As we read 2 Chronicles 20, we find that a coalition of armies had come against King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah. It was a strong, vast army (verse 2-4) that brought a sense of terror upon the inhabitants of Judah. King Jehoshaphat realizing the seriousness of the challenge before him, cried in desperation, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do…” (verse 12). Maybe you too are in a similar situation?
Proposition – Through God’s help, we can have victory against overwhelming odds.
In our scripture passage, God brought about an amazing victory for Judah. We can therefore learn how to find victory against overwhelming odds by looking at 4 responses shown by King Jehoshaphat. They are:
Resolve to trust God completely in Prayer ( 2 Chronicles 20 : 3-12)
Prayer is the greatest weapon we have as God’s children. It is the powerful key that gives us victory against every oppression. A famous quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson says, “More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” So, when facing overwhelming odds and when you may not even feel like praying, there is only one thing to do. Keep on praying!
Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout the land. The people responded in unison as the King cried out to God at the temple (2 Chronicles 20:3-5). Jehoshaphat said, “Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you. …You will hear us and save us. … Our eyes are upon you (2 Chronicles 20:6,9,12).” He was depending completely on God’s strength!!
God sometimes permits staggering odds to come against us to drive us to our knees in prayer.
(Find an encouraging series of sermons on Nehemiah’s prayer life that brought victory when rebuilding the ruined walls of Jerusalem, here.)
Receive a specific word for the situation (Verses 14-15)
Verse 14 and 15 tells us that the Prophet Jahaziel, under the anointing of God’s Spirit, began to prophesy over the situation. He said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. … stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.” He encourages the people to take up their battle positions and to face the enemy without fear (2 Chronicles 20:16-17).
How true is the following quote that I came across, although I’m not sure who penned it. It says, ‘What a nation needs more than anything else today… is a Christian Prophet within earshot.’ We need men like Jahaziel to speak to our rulers and our nations!
God has a specific word for every challenge we face; especially when overwhelming odds are against us. It can come through a scripture, a song, a sermon, a prayer, wise counsel or a prophetic word. Once we receive such a specific word from God, we should hold on to it and not give up till the victory is final (refer verse 20).
Realize the battle is the Lord’s – (2 Chronicles 20:15)
In verse 17, the Prophet Jahaziel said, “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.” He further emphasized “the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20:15). Therefore, if you are battling overwhelming odds today, realize that the Lord is fighting for you and that the banner of ‘Jehovah Nissi’ is always over His children.
I once heard a testimony from a lady who had been praying for a child for 19 years. She had seen every available Doctor and tried everything possible to conceive. After 13 years of disappointment, she decided that she would only trust the Lord thereafter for a miracle. Around 6 years later she gave birth to a son who is now in his twenties!! The battle is the Lord’s.
Reflect on God’s unfailing love (Verses 20:21)
As the people of Judah began to praise God and fall down in worship before Him (2 Chronicles 20:18-19), God began a mighty work. When the army went out for battle the following morning, Jehoshaphat “appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness (2 Chronicles 20:21).” In fact it was this worship team, and not the battle-hardened soldiers, that were placed at the head of the army!! Seeing this strange phenomenon, the enemy may have been laughing their sides out!!
What were the singers focusing on? It was on a well known worship refrain that spoke about God’s enduring love. They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever ( 2 Chronicles 20:21).”
As the worship team began to sing and praise God, reflecting on His unfailing love, the Lord brought disarray and confusion to the enemy’s camp. The enemy armies began to annihilate each other and an amazing victory unfolded (2 Chronicles 20:22-23)!! As you stand against overwhelming odds, will you too reflect on God’s unfailing love which endures forever? He will come through for you, often in unexpected ways! His love never fails!!
God will give you victory against the overwhelming odds that are against you at present.
To find encouragement for the Christmas Season, you can order our inspirational Christmas devotional here. It would make a meaningful Christmas gift as well.