Jehoshaphat ruled over a kingdom of Judah looking to make them stronger. He began by teaching the people to play strong and celebrate who God is. He taught them to Study God’s Law. He taught to Hear God’s Will vs Their Own will in a painful story of bickering WWF type prophet fights two weeks ago. He felt the family pressure and need for accolades that comes from conquering a big enemy and refused to do God’s Will. The result was a battle where the king of Israel, Ahab died a brutal death and Jehoshaphat barely survived.
31 So it was, when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, that they said, “It is the king of Israel!” Therefore they surrounded him to attack; but Jehoshaphat cried out, and the LORD helped him, and God diverted them from him. 32 For so it was, when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, that they turned back from pursuing him. 33 Now a certain man drew a bow at random, and struck the king of Israel between the joints of his armor. So he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and take me out of the battle, for I am wounded.” 34 The battle increased that day, and the king of Israel propped himself up in his chariot facing the Syrians until evening; and about the time of sunset he died.
Jehoshaphat had been close to God, instituted time of prayer/Bible study, then tried his own “way” hearing from another god… and the result was Ahab is dead by a random arrow in the chest. Jehoshaphat had a near death encounter. He felt the pain of walking in rebellion, and knew he was back to training himself to follow God. He realized that to Know Pain.. is to need to KNOW TRAIN.
Know Pain, Know Train
We’ve all heard the phrase, “No pain, No gain…” But often most of us operate in the “No Pain, No Train, No Gain.” We decide whatever “gains” are offered to us through the pain of training, it’s not worth it, until we have a Jehoshaphat moment. We know pain, and we realize we need to “know” train. We need different skills, deeper faith, stronger perseverance, better communication skills, and better coping skills.
- When you have a heart attack… Know Pain…Time to Know Train.
- When you feel hopelessly lonely in marriage…Know Pain…Time to Know Marriage Training.
- When you feel desperate that you aren’t married…Know Pain…Then it’s time to Know Train that my self confidence rests in who God says I am.
- When you feel stressed all the time… Know Pain…Then, how can I give this over to God? How do I train myself to do this?
- When your teens rebel, kids disobey… Know pain… Then you plead with God to train you to parent and for His patience and grace.
In 2 Chronicles chapter 20, Jehoshaphat ready to get stronger, ready to engage, ready to reconnect with God. He Knows Pain…and now wants to Know how to Train. He offers us several training exercises to follow. Let’s look at three aspects of training: Seeking, Fasting, and Silence.
I. KNOW TRAIN: Seeking
1 It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. 2 Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, from Syria; and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi). 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD,
20:1-2. Shortly after the disastrous adventure at Ramoth Gilead , Moabites … Ammonites, and Meunites launched an attack on Jehoshaphat from across the Jordan. The Meunites were an Arabian tribe living in Edom and elsewhere east and south of the Dead Sea. The army mentioned in 20:2, then, was from Edom , not from Aram. Jehoshaphat learned that this great host was already at Hazazon Tamar, on the west shore of the Dead Sea, and would soon head for Jerusalem.
Jehoshaphat feared… and then “set himself” to seek God. This word “set” is used throughout 2 Chronicles to Strategically Rise and Position Something. Here are just three examples:
2 Chron 3:17 “set up pillars”
2 Chron 14:10 “set the troops in battle”
2 Chron 19:5 “set judges in the land”
Bottom line, Jehoshaphat did to his life what an architect does in constructing a building. You strategically position or set pillars to hold up the weight. A general sets troops in strategic positions to defend, to attack, to position, to guard soft spots. A king sets up positions throughout the land where people can access judges and the law that need it. In Chapter 20, Jehoshaphat, Sets himself, literally his face, to seek the Lord. He strategically and intentionally puts training, habits, practices in his life and the structure around him to seek God. He develops and institutes new patterns to help him seek God. These are spiritual disciplines.
II. Know Train: Fasting
and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. 4 So Judah gathered together to ask help from the LORD; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the LORD.
What is a fast, and why would that be part of training? Why would a national fast lead to people seeking the Lord? I call this the “Jehosha-fast.” This is an all country, national day of seeking God. Isaiah 58 says there are several benefits that come from fasting.
When we fast Biblically, according to the fast The LORD has chosen, Isaiah 58 says we can expect the following results:
- Bands of wickedness are broken
- Heavy burdens are lifted
- The oppressed go free
- Health Springs forth speedily
- The glory of the Lord protects us
- The Lord guides us continually
A friend took me to lunch a few years ago and told me that he had just finished a fast. He had gone without solid food, just drank water or juice, for one week. This “extended” fast was a deliberate decision to seek God for the week. I asked him, why? He said that he had found the temptation to lust had really taken hold of his life, heart, and eyes recently. The usual habits or “looking away,” and “changing the channel” in his brain weren’t working. So he took one week to seek God for spiritual victory over lust through prayer and skipping solid food. Every time his stomach growled, he took that as a reminder to pray and seek God. He told me that this habit resulted in a major breakthrough in his spiritual life and pursuit of Purity as a 40 year old single man.
Many of us may not be ready for a one week no-solid-food fast. We may want to start with a “once a week, skip a meal fast.” This is a way to know that “lunches on Thursday” are a time we use for prayer, seeking God. When your stomach aches and growls, let that remind you that your soul/spirit feels the same way to God. It is also a training to your body that you won’t let your appetites control you, you want God to control you.
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