Bible Insights

Jehoshaphat’s Prayer

Psalm 174 from Beyond Psalm 150

Several nations come to wage war against the nation of Judah. King Jehoshaphat declares a fast, and the people come together to seek God. Jehoshaphat stands before the people and says this prayer.

It sounds much like a psalm seeking deliverance (such as Psalm 86 and many others).

Yahweh, the God of our fathers, aren’t you God in heaven? Aren’t you ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in your hand, so that no one is able to withstand you. Didn’t you, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it to the offspring of Abraham your friend forever? They lived in it, and have built you a sanctuary in it for your name, saying, ‘If evil comes on us—the sword, judgment, pestilence, or famine—we will stand before this house, and before you (for your name is in this house), and cry to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save.’ Now, behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned away from them, and didn’t destroy them; behold, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no might against this great company that comes against us. We don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.

2 Chronicles 20:6–12 (WEB)

Reflections on Jehoshaphat’s Prayer

With the enemy army approaching, the logical reaction is to gather the troops and mount a response. Yet Jehoshaphat doesn’t do this. Instead, he tells the people to fast and gather. Then he prays.

When faced with a tangible threat, do we plan a human defense or first seek Yahweh?

When confronted with opposition, do we fast and pray or fret and worry?

May we discern a God-honoring balance of when we should seek him and when we should move forward under his power.

Explore the other psalms—sacred songs of praise, petition, and lament—scattered throughout the Bible in Peter’s book Beyond Psalm 150.

Peter DeHaan writes about biblical Christianity to confront status quo religion and live a life that matters. He seeks a fresh approach to following Jesus through the lens of Scripture, without the baggage of made-up traditions and meaningless practices.

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