8 Upward Steps of Faith to Victory and Joy!
2 Chronicles 19, 20
Although Jehoshaphat, through his like-mindedness with Ahab, fell into the mire, we do not find him wallowing in it. He must have been deeply ashamed on his return to Jerusalem, when Jehu, the son of the seer, met him with that sharp rebuke, “Should you help the ungodly?” But this good thing was found in him; he had already “prepared his heart to seek God” and God had already marked his repentance. After his steps down to failure and shame, we shall note now his upward steps of faith to victory and joy. Let us examine and learn from Jehoshaphat’s work of faith as seen below.
- He was seeking the Restoration of Others.
“Jehoshaphat went out again through the people and brought them back unto the Lord God”. If they had been led away from the Lord through his evil example, now that he was restored in heart, he loses no time in using his influence for their good. The best work we can do for our fellow men is to bring them back to God. In bringing them to Him, we bring them to the source of peace, power and plenty. We may bring them back to sobriety and to the Church, without bringing them back to God. Those who seek to bring men to God show their faith in Him.
- He was justifying the Ways of God.
“Now let the fear of the Lord be with you, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts”. These words were spoken to the judges in the land. The basis of their actions was to be the righteousness of God. There are no false dealings with Him, no respect of persons, no taking of bribes. Jehoshaphat found this out to his sorrow and loss when he joined kinship with Ahab, and went to war with him, although Micaiah had warned him in the Name of God about it. But he has learned a Life lesson, so he now testifies that there is no unrighteousness with God. He will not be bribed to “help the ungodly.” “He is the Rock, His work is perfect, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He” (Deuteronomy 32:4).
- He was Warning them of the Evils of Backsliding.
“Warn them that they trespass not against the Lord and so wrath comes upon you and upon your brethren”. The king has learned by bitter experience that there is a vital connection between the trespass of men and the wrath of God. Man cannot sin with exemption. He who goes over the fence of God’s will, the serpent of sin will surely bite him. Outside the will of God is always forbidden ground; it leads to a Doubting Castle and the tortures of Giant Despair.
- He was seeking the Help of God in the Day of Trouble.
“After this, the children of Moab and the children of Ammon came against Jehoshaphat to battle”. After this, he had decided to follow the Lord fully and then the testing time came. The trial of your faith is more precious than gold. The time was when he might have appealed to Ahab for help, having made a treaty with him, but he looks away from man, and “sets himself to seek the Lord”. His example is followed by the whole nation, for they “gathered themselves together to ask help of the Lord”. Nations, as well as individuals, must believe in the Lord to be saved. The man of faith knows no other refuge than God Himself (Psalm 46:1). He appeals to God as the Almighty One and as the Faithful One and as the Trusted One. “Our eyes are upon You”. Whatever your trouble is, seek help from God and expect it.
- He experienced Answered Prayer.
Jehoshaphat’s faith in God is further evidenced by this sudden answer to his prayer. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel, as he stood in the midst of the congregation, with this message, “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s”. As soon as Jehoshaphat had put his trust in the Lord the battle became His. God takes over the responsibilities of those who cast all their cares upon Him. All the man of faith had to do was to “stand still and see the salvation of the Lord”. How this was to be done they knew not; it was enough for him that God had promised to do it (Exod. 14:13, 14). Christ fought for us the battle of sin and death. “You shall not need to fight in this battle.”
- He received Humble Acceptance.
In acknowledgment of God’s wondrous grace, he “Bowed his head with his face to the ground and worshiping the Lord”. The revelation of God’s saving power has always a head-bowing and heart-hallowing effect upon those to whom it comes in answer to faith and prayer. The true attitude of spiritual victors is that of worshipers. The more deeply we drink of the river of His grace, the more readily shall we bow and worship. He who humbled Himself to the Cross for us has given the death-blow to our pride and self-sufficiency.
- He gave Faithful Testimony.
“Hear me, O Judah, Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established; believe His prophets, so shall you prosper”. Jehoshaphat has proved for himself the truth of this, he speaks from experience. Faith in God must lead to faith in His prophets. The fruit of faith is not weakness and instability, but strength and prosperity. The Bible affords us many examples of those who have been strengthened and made successful through their faith in God (see Hebrews 11). “Therefore be not slothful, but followers of them who, through faith and patience, inherit the promises” (Hebrews 6:12).
- He had Joyful Expectation.
“Faith laughs at impossibilities and says it shall be done.” He believed God and rejoiced in the hope of a glorious victory. This is seen in his “appointing singers unto the Lord, to go out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord”. Happy is that man who can sing praise to God for His bare word of promise and go on expecting miracles to be created. He shall not be disappointed. “Believe, and you shall see.” “When they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set attacks against the enemy and they were smitten”. “Then they returned with joy”. If the singers had been defeated then, might the enemies of the Bible rejoice; but the God of the Old Testament never fails to fulfill the expectations of all those who trust Him. This is the victory that overcomes the world, even our faith.