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Don’t Do Something; Just Stand There!

Key References: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30; Prophets and Kings, chap. 15, pp. 190-203; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 5, pp. 107-110; Our Beliefs, nos. 14, 10, 22

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“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you” (2 Chronicles 20:17).

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When we praise God together, He wins the victory for us.

Have you ever been, or seen anyone, “frozen with fear”? Many times we need to stand as still as if we were frozen in order for God to fight our battle and win the victory for us. A long time ago an entire army won a battle that way, just by standing still and praising God.

King Jehoshaphat knew that the Moabites and Ammonites, warlike neighboring tribes, were moving quickly toward Jerusalem. He knew he had no time to waste. Turning to his aide, the king said, “Get this message out to all the people. Tomorrow we will all fast and ask God to tell us what He wants us to do. Tell everyone to meet me at the Temple in the morning.”

Jehoshaphat went out to walk on his terrace and be alone with God. He had enough troops to fight the battle, but when he had relied on his own strength in the past, nothing had gone right. This time he would ask God first, before planning.

The morning sun reflected from the white columns surrounding the Temple. As Jehoshaphat watched the crowds gather, he felt God’s presence with him.

A hush fell over the crowd as the king stood up to speak. Fathers lifted their children to their shoulders for a better look. Jehoshaphat raised his hands to quiet everyone, then he began to pray:

“Lord, the God of our ancestors, 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. 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? They 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.’

“But now here are men from Ammon, 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. Our God, will you not judge them? 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 on you” (2 Chronicles 20:6-12).

Everyone wondered what would happen next. Suddenly a man named Jahaziel pushed his way toward the center of the crowd.

“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, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you’ ” (verses 15-17).

Jehoshaphat fell to his knees and bowed low to worship God. Everyone followed his example and thanked God for His promise of victory. They knew God had heard their prayers, and they would see a mighty victory.

The next day men, women, and children streamed toward the meeting point. Once again Jehoshaphat stood before the people. “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem!” the king said. “Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful” (verse 20).

Jehoshaphat appointed singers to lead the army as they made their way toward the battle place. Together they sang, “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever” (verse 21).

As Judah began to sing, God set ambushes for their enemies. This confused the Moabites and the Ammonites.

They all began to fight each other. When Jehoshaphat and his singing army came over the crest of the hill and looked out over the desert, not a single soldier was left standing. Their enemies had killed each other!

King Jehoshaphat led his people back to Jerusalem. Arriving at the city, they gathered at the Temple to thank God for the victory He gave them. Accompanied by harps, flutes, and trumpets, the people sang praises to God.

Soon word of God’s victory for Judah spread to other countries surrounding Judah. For many years those countries left Judah alone. Because the people had asked God to fight the battle, they lived in peace for many years.