Jehoshaphat discovered the secret but it was only after he came face to face with an unbeatable foe. The story is told in 2 Chronicles 20, and once King Jehoshaphat became aware of the threat he immediately turned to the Lord. He declared a fast and all of Judah gathered to seek the Lord.
The king stood in the assembly and prayed. After remembering who God was and what he promised his people he handed the enemy over to him saying, “O our God, will you not judge them?” Most Christians I know understand they have to let God have their worries and fears because he’s the only one who can fix them. The next statement Jehoshaphat made was the one that sealed the deal though. He said, “For we are powerless before this great multitude that are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”
Powerlessness is what addicts in recovery programs know as step one. The very first thing an addict has to learn is they are addicted which means they, in themselves, have no power to overcome it on their own. This is where God has to come in to the equation. The truth though is all of us are powerless to overcome our adversities alone and that’s the big secret. God has not left us to fight this battle on our own but most of us only discover this like Jehoshaphat did. We confront, get around or even overcome some opposition in our lives, but eventually the enemy or obstacle becomes too great. It is usually only then that we finally turn to seek the Lord. In a way our enemy actually becomes helpful to us.
The Apostle Paul discovered powerlessness to be an ally too. In 2 Corinthians 12 He tells us of a man, meaning himself, that had been given grand visions of the third heaven. He said, “Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me—to keep me from exalting myself!” So Paul came to see this messenger as a good thing. He tells us he asked God three times to remove it but God’s response was “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.”
There you have it. The secret is out. God’s strength is perfected in us when we are weak! What a revelation to receive. Therefore it stands to reason that all that are deemed “addicts” are in a great place to receive God’s power. Jehoshaphat learned of his powerlessness when he was facing an impossible adversary and Paul too learned of his inability only after having the “messenger of Satan” torment him.
Let’s return for a moment to 2 Chronicles. Jehoshaphat gave us the answer to our problem in very simple language. He said, “We are powerless against this great multitude…we don’t know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” Could it be that the reason God doesn’t remove all of the opposition in our lives is because he knows that is what it’s going to take to get us to look to him? I know for me I “handled” substance abuse for many, many years before it became unmanageable enough, in my mind. Of course for many around me it had become out of control long before but it wasn’t until I saw it that I looked for help. The good news is once we finally see our powerlessness we learn to let God fight for us.
Eventually Jehoshaphat was going to have to face the enemies but he now had a new perspective. A man stepped up and spoke a word from God saying, “Thus says the Lord to you, Do not fear or be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours but God’s” God then gave them a very unconventional way to face the enemy. He told them to send out the choir first. The way to defeat the enemy, even today, is to not let him take our praise. No matter what we’re going through we can still praise God for who he is regardless of the outcome.
Written by Louie