When We Are Powerless
2 Chronicles 20:1-30
June 27th, 2010
Opening illustration: Beyond the Mist (Part 1)
· What do we do when we are powerless to stand against what comes our way?
o Illness- You have cancer and the prognosis seems hopeless
o Jobs- You have lost your job or you cannot find a job every lead turns into a dead end.
o Marriage- Your marriage has hit a major snag and the end seems inevitable even though you don't want to see it end everything is pointing to this.
o Finances- You have been hit with an unexpected bill and you have no idea how to pay it off.
o Future- everything was set for your future until something came along and derailed all of your plans. Now all that you have to show for your dreams and plans are ashes and pain.
o Children- Your children have told you they do not want anything to do with God, their life and plans could not be farther from the Lord yet there is nothing you can do to stop the drift away from the Lord.
o What do we do when we are powerless to stand against what comes our way?
· Today we are going to look at what Jehoshaphat did when he faced just such a situation.
I) When trouble comes (v. 1-12)
A) When trouble comes- after this- Jehoshaphat is faced with an overwhelming problem Three nations are converging on him to destroy him. They were a "vast army" it looked totally hopeless.
1) Jehoshaphat had gone through a time of where he had gotten right with the Lord, yet this happened. Hard times come when we are walking with the Lord and when we are not. (2Chr 32:1) Hezekiah
2) Jesus said that troubling times would come- (John 16:33) The time to prepare is before the trouble comes not when you are in the midst.
3) When your back is to the wall where do you turn? What will your response be?
B) Jehoshaphat's response (v. 3)
1) He was afraid- of course he was! He was staring down the barrel of an army that vastly outnumbered him, it was a hopeless situation. Fear is not a sin- staying there is.
(a) Ps. 56:3-4 When I am afraid I will trust in You…
2) He turned his attention to the LORD. Lit. He turned his face to the LORD
(a) One of the primary tools that the enemy uses against us is fear and doubt. (Eph. 6:16, 2 Cor 10:3-4- the shield of faith)
3) He resolve to inquire of the LORD (Ps 34:4, Is 55:6)
4) He called for a national time of fasting
(a) Done during times of great distress.
(b) This involves the voluntary abstaining from food for the purpose of humbly seeking the LORD's hand. (Ps. 35:13b)
II) Look to the LORD-(v. 6)
A) Why did Jehoshaphat call for a time of nationwide fasting?
1) It was not to get God to give them what they wanted, it was to seek to involve the LORD in what He had already started. As well it was to seek the LORD for His hand to move in what would otherwise have been a hopeless situation.
(a) Why does God do this? Why does He allow His children to go through such times?
(b) To let us know just how much we really need the Lord. "we will not realize that God all that we need until God is all that we have"
B) Some truths about fasting:
1) It should be centered on God. (v. 6)Lit. Recognizes who God is.
(a) LORD, God of our Father's
(b) Are you not in heaven? (Ps. 11:4, Is 6:1, Rev. 4:10-11)
(c) You rule the nations. (Is. 14:27)
2) It is initiated by God. (Amos 3:7)
(a) There are circumstances that God allows so that our hearts will be drawn back to His.
(b) Fasting reveals what is in our hearts.
(c) Reinforces the idea that we are not sustained by food but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. (Matt. 4:4)
3) It is ordained by God. (Matt. 6:16)"When you fast"
(a) God desires that we would fast and pray
(b) It is often in the midst of these times God's very clear direction comes.
(c) Fasting is an opportunity to put ourselves aside for the express purpose of listening to God.
III) Wait for the Lord's answer
A) Jehoshaphat showed his absolute trust in God.
1) Power and might are in your hand and no one can withstand You. (v. 6b)
2) David proclaimed the very same thing. (Ps. 20:7, 125:1-2)
3) The Early Church declared this truth as well. (Acts 4:23,29-31)
B) Jehoshaphat declared his absolute need for God(v. 12)
1) We have no power
2) We do not know what to do
3) But our eyes are on you. (he turned his attention to the LORD)
C) When the LORD directs we have but one option- To obey, not to question, not to rethink
1) Do not be afraid or discouraged. (11 times in three books Josh, Duet, and 2 Chron)
2) This battle is not yours
3) When God speaks we must worship as well. Prayer, Fasting, and Worship
A) We as elders have felt led to call for a day of fasting and prayer. To humbly seek the LORD for His direction in implementing His vision for this church.
B) We are having a time of fasting and prayer to prepare the ground for the July 4th service.
C) We are having a time of fasting and prayer to seek the LORD's gracious hand for physical healing within the church.
Conclusion to the story "Beyond the Mist"2 Chronicles 20:1–2 (NIV)