Our best days as Christians are right in front of us. And if you know me, that’s the motto I preach and strive to live by. Our best days as Christians are right in front of us. But exactly how far in front of us are they? Just when I thought there was light at the end of the Covid tunnel, there’s another tunnel. I don’t know about you sometimes I wonder if I can stomach any more bad news. I don’t know if that’s been your week or your month or your last year and a half.
For ua We’ve experienced heartbreak in our own family, including the death of our grandmother this past week. That’s two grandmothers this year. And we just want to thank the Church, though, for bringing us off the mission field in Scotland. So we would have this time with our family before they pass. I think God’s Providence, was wrapped up in that. And we thank you for that as well. Thank you for bringing us here, but it’s been difficult. Amy and I, I’ve been on the phone this week with Tyler, Molly, and they’re shattered.
You can imagine because of their baby Lucy and all that they’re going through and the unknowns and trying to process new information all the time and not even having complete clarity where all this is going. Good grief. My dog even got sick this week. I’m starting to sound like a country music song. M dogs sick too. I can relate with Moses when he cries out in Psalm 90, verse 13. Relent Lord. How long will it be? Have compassion on us. Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us for as much time as we’ve seen trouble.
Are you with me Church? Let’s face it. Maybe we’re sick of hearing about, but I feel we need to talk about these things and process together through the Scriptures. We’ve got to face it. We’ve been through a ton of distress over the last year and a half. I spoke of the global scene. Haiti, Afghanistan, racial division, political division, mask and vaccine division. Many of us here today are deeply concerned that the Church has been affected by all of this. Satan has attacked us, and we are scattered.
We’re beaten. We’re bruised. But I tell you what, many have stood firm. You are among those. I believe that I’ve been firm and faithful amen. We are here today because we love the Church. We love one another. And we’re willing to fight for this Church. We’re willing to fight for one another tooth and nail. But sadly, people we love have wandered away. Away to the pig slop of selfish desires of sin self-righteousness. It hurts. The world around us is hurting. The Church is hurting. You and I are in distress, and it’s exhausting.
We can feel powerless, afraid, even hopeless living in this broken world.
What do you do next? What are we gonna do about it? How do we fix this? What do we do? The good news is that God’s Word gives us hope. When we feel powerless and our backs are against the wall, God’s Word gives us the answer. Please turn with me to second Chronicles Chapter 20. Secind Chronicles, Chapter 20. Today we’re gonna step back from our equip series and study King Jehoshaphat. Pray for me because I’m gonna say his name many times today. Say his name three times quick Jehosophat right.
There you go. King Jehoshapaht. Really, he’s one of the unsung heroes of the Old Testament. He’s the King of Judah. As we pick up in our reading, he’s the great great grandson of King Solomon. And like his father, King Asa he is a religious reformer, he’s cut down idols. He’s fought against injustice in his court system. He’s establishing a traveling teaching Ministry in Israel so everyone will know God’s law. In summary, God’s Word tells us this, the second Chronicles 17 six, Jehoshaphat heart was courageous in the ways of the Lord.
So as we read in Second Chronicles 20, please keep this in mind. When you feel powerless, when you feel afraid, when you’re in distress, what do you do next? Let’s read here. Second Chronicles 20, verse one. The Bible reads after this and after this, after all the Kings reforms and many other things. After this, a Moabites and the ammonites. And with them, some of the Middianites came against Jehoshaphat for battle. So man came and told Jehoshaphat, A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea, in the hole they are in case they’ve gone to more that is Engedi.
Then Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he set his face to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah and Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord from all the cities of Judah. They came to seek the Lord. And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the Lord before the new court. And he prayed, and don’t miss this. Take note of this prayer. He prayed, oh Lord God of our fathers, are you not in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nation.
In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land, before your people, Israel, and given forever to the descendants of Abraham, your friends. If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence or famine, we will stand before the house before you. For your name is in this house, and we will cry out to you in our affliction. And you will hear and save. And now behold the men of Ammon and Moab mount Cir whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt and who they avoided and did not destroy. Behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inheritance. Oh, my God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great hoard that is coming against us. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you. So when you feel powerless, afraid in distress, when you face seemingly impossible situations, physically, emotionally, spiritually, what do you do next? We must cry out to God.
We don’t know what to do. But our eyes look to you. And that’s the title of today’s lesson. Lord, our eyes are on you. To set the scene here, I think, similar to the Church in Orlando a couple of years ago, a Southern Israel at this point in time, they are set up perfectly to grow and prosper. This seemingly out of nowhere three border nations that they have been somewhat friendly with. These three border nations consolidate their forces and come to attack Jerusalem. And you can see it here.
I know it’s a little fuzzy. It’s not just your eye sight if you’re older, but you have these three nations here. They all consolidate. And then they gather all of their armies, their forces, and they’re coming to attack they’re right in this area here. And they’re ready to take over Jerusalem. It’s three armies versus one. And we see in verse three, the King is afraid and rightly so. But I love this in his fear, he set his face to seek the Lord. That’s very deliberate wording there.
This means, like his whole face, like I am setting my face. If there’s all these other things I could look at and be doing to be distracted by and worry about, I’m now going to set my face to seek the Lord. He’s determined. He’s resolved. He turns his complete attention to find God in this traumatic situation. He set his face to seek the Lord. Next, he proclaims a fast for the entire country, then calls for an assembly. All the tribes, everyone all over the place. All the different groups, all come together as one nation to seek help from the Lord.
There’s a great lesson there for us when there’s a community crisis. When there’s a crisis in our world around us, we must make every effort to come together to seek the face of the Lord. There’s power in that. So imagine the scene now. By the King’s orders, tens of thousands of people come from all the cities of Judah to gather together. Then in verses six through twelve, the King, he that stands up among the thousands of people, and he prays for all to hear and really what this is this is the model prayer of distress. This is how you sit is stressing to be God first and go back and study this later. It’s astounding the way to do it first to remind God his prayer of this universal power and sovereignty. And it’s not like God needed reminding. I think the King needed reminding the people needed reminding. So he says it out loud and praise. Next, he testified, the God’s promise to hear the people’s prayers and save them. So, God, you promised you would hear us.
You promised you would save us. You promised you would deliver us. Here I am. Then at the end, he saves his complaint for last. All right? He complains to God about this injustice of this sudden attack. How could this be, God? This is how we’re rewarded for not attacking them hundreds of years ago? They’re coming after us. How can this be? And then finally, in verse twelve, visualize this in verse twelve, your King, your leader, the one you’re looking to at this moment for strength, confidence, a victorious strategy.
He stands before everyone. And the last word he says in his prayer, concludes his prayer by claiming these words in front of thousands. We are powerless against this great hoard that is coming against us. We don’t know what to do. Our eyes look to you God. When you feel powerless, when you feel afraid, when you’re overwhelmed with distress, what you do next? Well, many times the most courageous thing you can do is to admit, honestly, I’m at the end of my rope here, God.
I’ve exhausted my strength. I’ve exhausted my ideas, my resources. I don’t know what to do. But come what may my eyes are fixed on the Lord. And this is not the prayer of self pity. This is not a prayer of a victim who’s quitting. That’s not what it is. That’s not all of this. Rather, this is a prayer of a man or a woman whose confidence depends on the Almighty God. God alone. And this is exactly what I’ve been wrestling with recently. How about you? In this pandemic I’m running out of solutions as a Church leader. I don’t know what to do, but I hold on to this hope. That my eyes are on you, Lord. Many times I don’t know what to do as a father or a husband or a friend. But I do have this hope. My eyes are on God. I don’t think I can take another dose of bad news. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how I’ll respond. I don’t know if I can be what I need to be when I hear it. But I do have this hope.
My eyes are on God. And when you and I can get to this vulnerable place, that’s a bold and courageous prayer. And sooner or later, I tell you what God will honor the man or woman who prays that prayer. Let’s read how God responds to Jehoshaphats prayer in verse 13. Says Meanwhile, all Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, their wives and their children. And the spirit of the Lord came upon Jehazeal, the son of Zecchariah, the son of Anniah sone of Jeob, son of Mattenaiah a levite of the Sons of Aseph. A Levite of the sons of Aseph. Reggie, Melik, Mignonne did you catch that?He was a musician not a solider. All right. The spirit comes upon Jahazeal in the midst of the assembly, verse 15. And Jehazeal said, Listen all Judah, inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat thus says the Lord to you, do not be afraid, and do not be dismayed at this great war, for the battle is not yours but Gods. Tomorrow you go down against them.
Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Zis. You will find them at the end of the Valley East of the wilderness of Jerial.
You will not need to fight this battle. Stand firm, hold your position and see the Salvation of the Lord on your behalf. Oh, Judah and Jerusalem, do not be afraid. Do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you. Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground. And all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord worshipping the Lord. And the Levites of the Coaphites and the corahites stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a loud voice.
Now check out this immediate obedience in verse 20. And so they rose early in the morning and went out to the wilderness of Tecoa. Let me stop there for one moment. If you think you drive a long way to gather for Church reality check here.
From Jerusalem to Tecoa that’s a twelve mile walk. You better hope you had a donkey or mule or something, which most people didn’t. 12 miles. I know I’m preaching to the choir here, but bear with me. What if you got a group me text last night that said, all the Church is gathering tomorrow at 07:00 a.m.. At Cocoa Beach. That’s where we must meet tomorrow morning.
okay, silence on the group me. There’s a few one or two heart clicks. You know, the emoji heart gets a few little clicks. Next comes a question on the group me thread from a Church member. Is there a live stream? Will it be recorded? What about Kingdom kids? Do I have to wear a mask? But here in our text today, the people gather as one. The people showed up for God. The people showed up for their leaders. The people showed up for one another in their weakness. They still push through with toughness. They travel nearly a half marathon in the morning just to show up. That’s unity.
Let’s keep reading second half of verse 20. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established. Believe his prophets. In other words, trust your spiritual leaders and you will succeed. And when he had taken counsel with the people, and don’t miss this worship team. Okay? When you’re taking counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise Him in Holy attire as they went before the army and say, Give thanks to the Lord for his steadfast love endures forever. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, we’re gonna fight this battle together on our knees. More on that in a moment. First of all, you and I must understand none of us are in any kind of distress alone. We’re in this together. We’re better together. And they’re suffering. All Judah made the effort to stand together before the Lord, including their children and little ones. Our children are watching. They’re learning what unity is or is not. What it is to come together during tough times.
In 2021, life is too hard right now to stand alone or just in your small circle. When you go through suffering times of fear, when you feel weak or powerless. Satan wants nothing more than you isolate us, whether it’s into little factions or just to make sure we’re all alone.
We must stand together. All of us, arm in arm. All eyes on the Lord. And then God will answer our desperate prayers by showing us we’re not really alone. Envision how vulnerable Jehoshaphat must have felt after he prayed this prayer of weakness.
He’s the King. He’s supposed to have the answers. He’s from the line of David. But he basically says, I am your leader. I have no idea what to do. And you could have heard a pin drop. But I love it. God answers the King’s humble, courageous prayer in verse 14. And he answers it with a person. The spirit comes upon Jehazeal. He comes up. He stands with Jehoshaphat. He has his back.
Jehazeal is a musician. He’s not a soldier ready for war. He’s Khalid with a keyboard, which is awesome, by the way. This man backs up his leader. He preaches the truth for everyone to hear. He preaches, don’t be afraid. The battle belongs to the Lord. All of us need a profit in our lives to give a spiritual perspective. We need help getting recalibrated. We get weird really quick. I mean, come on, let’s just go about 100ft above what’s happened the last year and a half.
you know, she’s not here today. She’s on a well deserved vacation with Eddie. But Lepatic Francis has been that for me. Lepatic will tell me the same thing Jehazeal told the nation of Judah. All you need to do, Marcus, is get up. Stand firm and hold your position.
God will save us.
I can see the work of God right now, Marcus. And that’s what she’ll tell me. And that’s a vital point for us today. Don’t get me wrong when we say, I don’t know what to do.
My eyes are on you, Lord.
That does not you mean. We say, hey, it’s the pandemic. Times are bad. God’s in control. I’ll just sit here and chill, or I’ll just choose to do what’s best for me and my people. No, here’s what we need to do.
We pray this prayer. And then we have a battle plan and we can copy the one right here. Jahazeal tells us the battle belongs to the Lord. But here’s what you need to do. There was action with this. The first thing is, get up, get up and engage in the battle and pick the right battle. Build the Church.
That’s the main, we’re battling against Satan here, right? He says this twice in a speech. Get up and go. So people got up and they went to the Valley in the morning. They had no idea what to do, but they were ready. All they knew is okay. The worship team is going to be up front, and we’re just gonna praise God really loudly and we’re gonna be there in position and something may happen. They showed up. And I do think the hardest thing each day, maybe you can relate to this is just getting up and engaging.
Get up and engage. Get out of bed. Get time with God. Get up and get time with other Christians. Get up and walk around your neighborhood. Greet your neighbors. Engage the today. College students get up that first week of school. Engage in those outreach events that have been planned for you. What’s in the box that’s coming up? What would do you use for a Klondike bar? Some of the events they’ll have to make disciples. Creativity. But engage in these events. Fall 2021 only comes once. Don’t miss it.
Now, for those of you today, they are not baptized by faith into the Christ today I appeal to you, you need to get up afterwards and appeal to someone to show you how to follow Jesus. Know who Jesus really is. We have tons of people here that will help you with that. So we need to get up. We also need to stand firm. Don’t let your convictions from God’s word waver. It’s always been right and still right. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. God’s word does not change, stay in God’s work.
Eat it up. Don’t let the winds and waves of every news report move you. I’ve had family and friends leave the Church. Leave the faith. That’s heartbreaking, even this year. But I must stand firm. I must keep the vow that I made to Jesus 21 years ago. If everything and everyone else crumbles you stand firm in the faith. Never, ever give up on Jesus. Never outlive your love for Jesus. The quote from the movie Goblet of Fire, dark and difficult times lie ahead. Soon we must all face the choice between what is right and what is easy.
Those times are here from Church. We must choose between what is right and what is easy. You and I must stand firm. Hold your position. Make every effort to meet with the body. When we gather, you gather half the battle is showing up. Show up for the midweek classes. Show up on Zoom with your camera on ready to give and not just take and eat Fritos and pizza and whatever else in your refrigerator. Come ready to give. I know I’m preaching to the choir. Call on others then that you haven’t seen in a while to show up, you be the Jahazeal for someone else. Find ways to serve and build the Church. Hold your position on righteousness. Don’t compromise. And then king Jehoshophat gives two more commands in verse 20. In essence he says trust God trust your leadership? Okay, there’s definitely a culture of not trusting the leadership all around us, and we can bring this into the Church. These two go hand in hand. If you trust God and that he’s got this, then you’re going to trust the leaders that somehow some way he’s kept in place or put in place.
Am I right? Can I get an amen on that? I know that’s difficult for me to say in my position, but if you trust God, you trust your leaders. As a Church let’s try to survive this pandemic. Let’s find a way to thrive during this pandemic. Get up, stand firm and hold your position. To conclude this leads us to the all important question of why. Why put forth this effort? Why admit we feel powerless in prayer? Why get up, stand firm, hold your position day after day, year after year, as a Christian?
Well, here’s why in 2 chronicles, verse 22. Here’s the why. Second Chronicles 20 verse 22. When they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, Mount Cir, who had come against Judah so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Cir, devoting them to destruction when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Cir, they all helped to destroy one another. When Judah came to the watch tower of the wilderness, they looked toward the hoar and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground. None hesitated. When Jehoshophat and his people came to take their spoil they found upon them in great numbers goods clothing and precious things which they took for themselves until they could carry no more. They were three days to take the spoils it was so much. On the fourth day, they assembled in the Valley of Beracah. For there they blessed the Lord. Therefore, the name of that place has been called the Valley of Beracah to this day. Then they returned every man of Judah and Jerusalem and Jehoshophat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy.
The Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies. They came to Jerusalem with harps and lyres and trumpets to the house of the Lord. And the fear of God came on all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And I love this. This is what I want. So the realm of Jehoshophat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around. I love this battle plan because I never would think of it. let’s just go to the battle. Stand firm. Hold our position.
Next let’s have the worship team be the charge. We don’t need swords. We don’t need a hundred different strategies at this point. We don’t know what to do here’s what we’ll do, though. We may be outnumbered three to one, but we’ll just March into battle, praising God as loud as we can. We will just think if thanks to the Lord for he gets good, is love endures forever. And that’s exactly what happened here. And this narrative demonstrates why we must never, ever quit as Christians. We must never, never quit on the Church.
This shows us why we put forth all the effort. Why we must pray those embarrassing yet bold prayers to Jesus. I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are looking to you. This is why we must get up stand firm hold our position during this pandemic. If you’re going through hell, keep going. Because the battle belongs to the Lord. It always has and always will. And if we stand firm til the end, you and I will see the Salvation of the Lord. Don’t you dare miss it.
We’re going to have some amazing and miraculous stories to tell once all of this is over. Brothers and sisters, we don’t know what to do. But our eyes must be on the Lord. We will see the Salvation of the Lord. Or best days as Christians are right in front of us.