I love an incident in the Old Testament from 2nd Chronicles 20 involving King Jehoshaphat, one of Judah's few godly kings. Jehoshaphat gets news that Judah is about to be overrun by a coalition of armies. The situation looked completely hopeless. Jehoshaphat's initial reaction was to fear (a natural occurrence). But being a godly king, he turned his attention to seek God. In the face of imminent annihilation, realizing he was completely powerless, Jehoshaphat determined to focus his attention on seeking the face of God for help. He understood that God had the power.
I know you'll agree it's tempting to succumb to fear when we are overcome with negative circumstances. It's tempting to panic and take matters (which are impossible) into our own hands. Sometimes we learn the hard way! But Jehoshaphat gives us a great example of focusing on God, even when a flood of evil comes upon us. Remember, he turned his attention from the mountain to God.
We must understand that the place of powerlessness is the place of power...God's power. He can do so much more in, and through you and me as we admit our powerlessness, and seek His face. You may be facing insurmountable, impossible circumstances this very minute. But God is greater. However, the only way He can be greater in your behalf is that you turn your attention from your circumstances to seek His face.
"How I do that?" you may ask. Follow the example of Jehoshaphat. What happened next in 2 Chronicles 20? Jehoshaphat gathered the whole nation of Judah together to fast and pray. This was no small, nor insignificant event. People from every corner of the nation showed up to fast, pray, and seek God's face for help. As Jehoshaphat and the whole nation prayed, they prayed the prayer of faith. What is the prayer of faith? It's a prayer in which you admit your helplessness and declare the power and the works of God over your circumstances. (For you and me it's praying the powerful Word of God, and what the Word declares God will accomplish.)
Listen to the essence of Jehoshaphat's prayer: He declared God to be the "Lord of our fathers", the "God of the heavens", and "Ruler over all the kingdom of the nations". He acknowledged to God that "Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You." He acknowledged that God cleared the inhabitants of the land and gave it to the descendants of Abraham (Israel), God's friend forever! Powerful prayer so far. There's more.
In this prayer Jehoshaphat remembers that his fathers built the sanctuary of God, and that should evil come upon the nation they would stand before this house (where God dwells) and "cry to You in our distress", and..."You will hear us and deliver us". This is the prayer of faith. It is a God-moving prayer. Jehoshaphat acknowledges to God the enemies involved in the attack, the ones the children of Israel were not allowed to drive out (but let live) when they came out of Egypt. Jehoshaphat's prayer of faith leads to these most powerful words; in my opinion, the key to God moving in behalf of their nation. "For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."
Have you ever been there? Perhaps you are there now. The place of complete powerlessness. It is the place where the power of being powerless becomes a reality! How did Judah's powerlessness invoke the supernatural power of our mighty God? Jehoshaphat was at the place of utter helplessness. He and the whole nation acknowledged this to God. God's first words of response to the prayer were the catalyst for the nation's mighty deliverance. "The battle is not yours but God's". Listen to 2 Chronicles 20: 17. "You need not fight in this battle; station yourselves, stand and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out to face them, for the Lord is with you."
The prayer of faith produced the word of victory through the prophet. This word of victory brought forth a worship celebration the day before they went out, and a victory celebration on the way out to face their enemies the next day. God was faithful to deliver Jehoshaphat and the armies of Judah in a miraculous way. It took them three days to gather up the spoils!
Never forget, God will fight your battles for you if you will simply acknowledge that you desperately need Him. His power flows through our powerlessness. Jesus put it this way. "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." When Jesus spoke this to Paul, he confidently stated "Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me." (See 2 Corinthians 12: 9) God's mighty strength and power are found in our own powerlessness.
|The Power of Weakness: Embracing the True Source of Strength
By Dan Schaeffer
The Power of Weakness encourages you to grasp the biblical truth that God longs to use your limitations to display His greatness. This careful examiniation of Paul's statement helps you shift your focus from your abilities and inabilities to God and encourages you to give God the glory when he accomplishes what you could never orchestrate or predict. Plunge into the pages of this insightful book, embrace the true source of strength, and find relief from the wearying pursuit of success.