When faced with multiple crises at once, where do you seek refuge? Do you seek God? Do you call up a family member or friend? Do you go for a walk or run? Do you try to pretend the problems do not exist? Do you or have you tried “self-medicating” with food, drugs, or alcohol? Your answer will determine where your faith lies. There is nothing wrong with talking to someone about a problem nor is it wrong to go exercise to relieve the stress. However, if our faith is in our abilities and we go alone in our own strength, the problems will weigh us down and we will be unable to face the situation, which can lead to isolation and bring on addiction, depression, or something worse.
Jehoshaphat was one of the righteous kings of Judah in the Old Testament and he faced a crisis where the very survival of Judah was at stake.
The Crisis: “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to wage war against Jehoshaphat. Some people came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side pf the Dead Sea. It is already in Hazezon Tamar’ (that is En Gedi).” (2 Chronicles 20:1-2, NIV).
Jehoshaphat’s Response: “Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, the came from every town in Judah to seek Him.” (2 Chronicles 20:3-4, NIV).
The Bible goes on to record Jehoshaphat’s prayer (2 Chronicles 5:5-13), where he acknowledged his and his nation’s complete dependence on God. Jehoshaphat was facing three armies that were coming at him and they were roughly thirty-five miles away from Jerusalem and he sought God with prayer and fasting.
The Revelation: A word of revelation came to a man named Jahaziel: “He said, ‘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.’” (2 Chronicles 20:15-17, NIV).
The Bible goes on to record that Jehoshaphat and all of Judah worshipped the Lord for the revelation. The next day Jehoshaphat appointed singers to go out before the army. The praise and worship of the singers brought confusion to camps of the enemies and the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Meunites began attacking each other and took out themselves. Judah did not have to fight as God had promised. The Bible states it took Judah three days to take the plunder from the enemy camps. When they returned to Jerusalem, they once again worshipped the Lord and the fear of the Lord came upon Judah’s enemies and Jehoshaphat’s reign was one of peace.
When we make God our refuge, we will find the shelter from the storms of life. When we seek God wholeheartedly, He will reassure us and show us a plan to conduct spiritual warfare against the tactics of the enemy. We serve a living God whom we can turn to in the midst of our trials and tribulations. We can take comfort in His Word. God is with us and will be with us. Though God’s revelation may not come quickly, we can find rest and a peace that passes all understanding during trials and tribulations.
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” (Psalm 46:1-3, 7, NIV).
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.” (Psalm 9:9, NIV).
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will says of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:1-2, NIV).