America’s Greatest Need
“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is
coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” 2Ch 20:12
In the story of King Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20, there are many parallels to the conditions prevailing in America at the present time and what the people of God should be doing.
God is Judge
Jehoshaphat has been informed that the armies of the Moabites, Ammonites, Syrians, and a “great multitude” of the East had come up against the kingdom of Judah. His immediate response was to seek the God of his ancestor, David.
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the LORD, and proclaimed a fast throughout Judah.” 2Ch 20:3
Now, having gathered the people together before the temple, he leads them in a prayer of dependence on the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He was rightly named, for “Jehoshaphat” translates “The LORD (Jehovah) is Judge.” He therefore recited his case, and that of his people, before the Judge of the world.
The Battle is the Lord’s
In response to the king’s prayer, “the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel … a Levite … in the midst of the assembly” (2Ch 20:14). His inspired message to the king is a message much needed by believers in America today.
“Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s …
You will not need to fight in this battle … stand still and see the salvation of the LORD.” (2Ch 20: 15, 17)
It is clear that Jehoshaphat’s immediate submission to God and his prayer of humble dependence was the pre-emptive strike on the enemies of Judah. When God’s people humble themselves in true repentance from the arrogance of independence, and pray, God will fight on their behalf as He has promised (2Ch 7:14). By a return to faith in God, His Word, and those who proclaim it, the spiritual battle was won—the need for fighting physically was avoided.
“Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets and you shall prosper.” (2Ch 20:20b)
The God of Angel Armies
As we learned recently in the classes at Arkansas Youth Camp, God is not called “The Lord of Armies” for nothing. Repeatedly, He is seen marshaling angel armies for the deliverance of His people (see Gen 32:1–2; 2Sa 5:23–24; 1Ch 14:14–15; Dan 10:10–21; Rev 12:7–11). These spirit warriors are mobilized in every case in response to the prayers of God’s people! In the case of Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah, just as the Levitical choir began to sing the age-old refrain of Israel, “Praise the LORD, for His mercy endures forever” (2Ch 20:21), the angel army went into action:
“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab,
and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated … they helped to destroy one another.
So when Judah came to a place overlooking the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude,
and there were their dead bodies, fallen to the earth. No one had escaped.” (2Ch 20:22–24)
It took the people of Judah three days to carry away the spoils, after which they gathered “in the valley of Berachah” (blessing, 2Ch 20:26), to bless and praise the Lord for His great victory.
While God at times fights while His people stand still, there are many other cases when the people have to join in the fight, as the spiritual and the physical armies clash (2Sa 5:17–25). Such was the case in the founding of this country.
The Declaration of Independence, 1776
Although the thirteen American colonies declared independence from Britain in the “Declaration” which was signed on 4 July 1776, it was also a “declaration of dependence” upon Almighty God. The signers of the Declaration could not have been more clear about their intent.
Their stated purpose was to take their place among the powers of the world according to “the laws of Nature, and of Nature’s God.”
This bold venture was not done without careful consideration of Scripture and history, which led them to conclude that “all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights …” that is, rights which cannot be abrogated by man, nor even lost through surrender. They stand true of all men at all times, whether they claim them or not!
Due to the study of the Holy Scriptures, they rightly concluded “that to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed …” It was on the basis of these convictions, drawn from the Word of God, that our forefathers were willing to risk everything, while they still had the chance (emphasis added).
Thus, they made their stand “appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world (i.e., “Jehoshaphat”—The LORD is Judge) for the rectitude of our intentions … with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.” They could not have been more clear that their independence from the growing tyranny of Britain was due to their dependence upon Almighty God.
America—4 July 2013
Never in all her history has America been so close to those dark days of our Founding Fathers. Never has there been a greater need for deep searchings of the Scriptures to meet our present crises. Never before, since our founding as a nation, has the cause of liberty been so threatened—not only for America, but also for the whole world. For without a free and strong America, the “lamp of freedom” will be extinguished throughout the world. Show me one nation that can long withstand its enemies without a stronger America to join their fight.
This is why the present spiritual struggle is so crucial. And this is precisely why those who believe and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ across this nation must “set ourselves to seek the Lord” in humble and repentant prayer. I am often asked, “Why do we need to repent, and repent of what?” My answer is, “Read Daniel 9.” In praying for his nation, the prophet Daniel—of whom nothing wrong is ever recorded—identifies with the sins of his people. As Jesus Christ, the “one Mediator between God and men” (1Ti 2:5) was willing, by both His baptism and the cross, to identify with the sins of His people and the world, so we are called to do the same. Furthermore, none of us are guiltless in this generation. We have all contributed, both in sins of commission and omission, to the present sorry state of our once-great land. It is high time we began to take our calling seriously—as priests “according to the order of Melchizedek” (Heb 5:6)—and to intercede on behalf of our nation.
I believe with all my soul that God is able to yet deliver this nation, and to restore us to our founding principles. But I do not believe He will do this apart from the intercessory prayers of His people. And the thing that truly scares me is when believers seem inclined to scoff at such an idea! If this attitude continues, my reading of both Scripture and history tells me that the spiritual battle will move into the physical arena in this land. Then the cost will no longer be seen in spiritual dedication, serious Bible study, and prevailing prayer. For then the insatiable appetite for tyranny taking root in this land will only be curbed at the price of blood. As was said by one far more eloquent than I, in dark years gone by:
“Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight
when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight
with all odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case—
you may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves.”
~ Sir Winston Churchill, The Gathering Storm, p. 348
Stay in the battle!