Warfare Worship: Responding Spiritually to Attack
We meet Jehoshaphat in the book of 2 Chronicles. He became king of Judah, the southern kingdom, after the death of his father, Asa. The Bible tells us that God was with Jehoshaphat because he walked in the way of David (2 Chronicles 17:3). King Jehoshaphat sought the Lord God of his father and walked in His commandments. As a result of the king’s faithfulness, the Lord blessed and prospered him (2 Chronicles 17:1–5).
In 2 Chronicles 20 king Jehoshaphat was informed that a great multitude had come against him. The children of Moab and Ammonites and some of the Meunites came against Judah though they had previously shown them mercy. When Jehoshaphat heard the report that these people were coming against him and his kingdom, he became afraid (2 Chronicles 20:1–4).
We can learn some valuable lessons from Jehoshaphat.
The more we do the right thing, the more we can expect the enemy coming against us. Jehoshaphat was a great and godly leader. He was walking in the ways of the Lord. He was showing kindness to his enemies. Yet, he is attacked. Don’t we often face the same challenge? We’re working hard to walk in the ways of the Lord. We’re rightly balancing family, church, work and other things and the enemy attacks.
What we need to realize is that spiritual battles are inevitable. The enemy is never going to stop coming after us. 1 Peter 5:8 reminds us, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Our enemy is always looking for ways to attack us. We need to learn from Jehoshaphat and realize it’s not the fact that we’re in a battle, it’s how we respond that is critical.
Jehoshaphat also teaches us that fear by itself doesn’t mean we are defeated. The king’s first response was fear, but immediately he “set himself to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” Jehoshaphat did not let his fear paralyze him or defeat him. Instead, his fear motivated him to seek the Lord through prayer and fasting. His fear drove him to ask the Lord for help.
You see, here’s what we must remember and apply to our lives: Jehoshaphat’s answer to the physical, natural battle he faced was a spiritual response. He put to work what Paul many centuries later would write in 2 Corinthians 10:4, “For I am afraid otherwise that I shall have to do some plain speaking to those of you who will persist in reckoning that our activities are on the purely human level. The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds (J.B. Phillips New Testament).”
Many of us would choose to fight a natural calamity with a natural response. Jehoshaphat didn’t and neither should we. Friends, fighting the enemy is not a natural battle. We can’t fight it that way. Quoting Paul again, “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12, NKJV).” We cannot fight a natural battle because our enemy is not “of flesh and blood.” It’s a spiritual battle.
We must learn to quickly turn to a spiritual response to a natural attack. We must learn to turn to the Lord in prayer and immediately seek His help as Jehoshaphat did. Will we be under attack even when we’re going things right? Yes. Will we be fearful? Yes. But, responding spiritually is critical. It’s biblical and must be part of living our lives in the flow of the Spirit.
What do you do when unwelcome news, sudden battles, trials or sorrows enter your life? Do you doubt God? Internalize your fear? Deny the battle exists? OR, do you choose to do what Jehoshaphat did and seek God’s help in the spiritual battle?