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Turn your eyes upon Jesus, like Jehoshaphat

There are names in the Old Testament that fit nicely under the category of “humdingers.”  Jehoshaphat is one of them, but he’s one of my favorite characters, and his name has nothing to do with it.  It’s his wisdom as a leader.  My dad would call it plain, common sense.

This main man of Judah was king in some rough times — reminds me of our times in fact. Judah had been a mess, but King Jehoshaphat knew the answer. Scripture says he traveled through his country and turned his people back to the Lord. He appointed judges and told them to judge for the Lord, not for man and to keep the fear of the Lord upon them. That meant no injustice, partiality or bribery.

The wise king gave instructions to the spiritual leaders to serve faithfully and whole heartedly in the fear of the Lord and to warn all not to sin against the Lord.

What a king leader. The stage was set for a “happily ever after” kingdom, but those places don’t exist in our sin-contaminated world. A warring bunch of “—ites” came to make havoc of Jehoshaphat and his kingdom. He didn’t pick up his red phone or call a meeting of the Pentagon. He called the people together to seek help from the Lord. Then he stood up in front of the temple where they gathered  and  prayed a powerful prayer.

My favorite part: “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”

And God answered his prayer: “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.”

Then God told them to march out toward the invading armies but just watch, stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord would give. The people believed God, fell down and worshiped Him. (This is not a fairy tale even though it sounds like one.)

The next morning the wise king led his people toward the battle field with the tanks in the lead. 

Just kidding.

A group of men singing and praising the Lord were heading the troops. While they sang, the Lord set ambushes, and the enemy warriors began killing each other.

When Jehoshaphat’s army reached the battlefield, there was nothing but dead bodies. All they had to do was gather the plunder for three days. On the fourth day they assembled and praised the Lord.

We may never have a King Jehoshaphat, but we are a people that can pray and cry out to God. And our anthem should be the old hymn: “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.”

Letters to Camille Anding can be sent to P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, MS, 39602, or e-mailed to camilleanding@gmail.com.