Gaebelein's Annotated Bible
It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle.CHAPTER 20 Judah Invaded, Jehoshaphat’s Prayer and Deliverance
1. The invasion (2Chronicles 20:1-2)
2. Jehoshaphat’s great prayer (2Chronicles 20:3-13)
3. Jehovah’s answer through Jahaziel (2Chronicles 20:14-17)
4. Prostrated before the LORD (2Chronicles 20:18-19)
5. The great deliverance (2Chronicles 20:20-25)
6. In the valley of Berachah (2Chronicles 20:26-30)
7. The record of Jehoshaphat (2Chronicles 20:31-34)
8. Alliance with Ahaziah (2Chronicles 20:35-37)
An invasion of Judah by Moab, Ammon and others followed. Then Jehoshaphat feared and set himself to seek the LORD and proclaimed a fast throughout Judah. Though the enemy was nearing Jerusalem and the danger was great, there was no disorder or confusion. They all looked to Jehovah and that gave them calmness. In troubles and trials God’s people must always look first to the Lord and seek His face. A great company gathered together, even from the cities in Judah, to seek the LORD. It was one of the most remarkable prayer meetings reported in the Bible. The king stood in the midst of the large congregation. And what a prayer it was he uttered! What earnestness and faith breathes in every word! He addressed God as in heaven and as the ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations. In His hand there is power and might; none is able to withstand Him. It is a good way in approaching God to remember what a wonderful and almighty God and Lord He is. Then Jehoshaphat speaks of His dealing with His people Israel and speaks of Abraham--”thy friend forever.” The prayer of Solomon in dedicating the house is mentioned (verse 9). Then he tells the Lord of the invasion, and the object of Ammon and Moab “to cast us out of thy possession which thou hast given us to inherit.” Most beautiful is the ending of his prayer. “O, our God, wilt Thou not judge them?” They were His enemies, for they came against His land and His people. “For we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do; but our eyes are upon Thee.” Here is the spirit and soul-attitude which pleases God. Whenever and wherever it is manifested God’s answer and gracious help is not far away. But it is just this spirit of dependence and expectation from the Lord which is so little known among God’s people.
In the midst of the congregation was a Levite by name of Jahaziel (he will be seen of God), of the sons of Asaph. Upon him came the Spirit of the LORD and through him there came the answer, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle; set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem; fear not, nor be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD will be with you.” And the heavenly answer was believed. The king took the lead in bowing his head with his face to the ground. The people did likewise. In anticipation of the coming victory the Levites praised the Lord with a loud voice.
The next morning the divine direction was obeyed. The king addressed the people to have faith in God. Then he appointed singers arrayed in their official garments to go before the army and sing as if it were a triumphal procession: “Praise the LORD; for His mercy endureth forever.” (The expression, “beauty of holiness” is literally, “holy array.”) We read nothing of swords or spears. They needed no weapons. Probably they left them at home, for the Lord had said, “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle.” And when they began to sing and praise, trusting in the promise, the Lord began His work in overthrowing and destroying their enemies. The invading armies were annihilated and none escaped.
A great praise-service in the valley of Berachah (blessing) followed. Jehoshaphat in the forefront of them, with the people returned to Jerusalem with joy. They came to Jerusalem with psalteries and harps and trumpets unto the house of the LORD. And the kingdoms feared God when they heard what the Lord had done.
The prophetic application of all this is not difficult to make. Jehoshaphat and the people with him are typical of the remnant of God’s earthly people, that God-fearing remnant which dwells in the land and in Jerusalem during the great tribulation. The prayer of Jehoshaphat, the divine answer and the great deliverance, foreshadows the cry for help and deliverance of that remnant, while the overthrow of their enemies, with the coming of the Lord, is foreshadowed in the deliverance of Jehoshaphat and the people. The praise will be great in Jerusalem, when the Lord acts in behalf of His believing remnant, at the close of the times of the Gentiles. Then the kingdoms of the earth will fear God.
It would be well if Jehoshaphat’s life had ended with this beautiful scene. But it does not. He entered another unholy alliance, for commercial reasons, with wicked Ahaziah, King of Israel. The ships to go to Tarshish never reached their destination; they were broken. “Again had Jehoshaphat to learn in the destruction of his fleet at Ezion-Gaber that undertakings, however well planned and apparently unattended by outward danger, can only end in disappointment and failure, when they who are the children of God combine with those who walk in the ways of sin.”
And how many Christians have made the same experience! God cannot bless the believer when he is in fellowship with an unbeliever.