2 Chronicles 20 Devotional

2 Chronicles 20 jumps in on King Jehoshaphat being approached by messengers and told “A vast army from Edom is marching against you from beyond the Dead Sea. They are already at Hazazon-tamar.” (v. 2). King Jehoshaphat’s response was terror (v.3). If we are being honest, you can probably see a similar situation play out weekly at your youth group. Maybe it goes something like this, “Hey Pastor Mike, Josh was outside on his skateboard and he was showing us this new thing he learned, and it was sweet, and then well you should just come outside and see, we called his mom and told her he was bleeding, but he was screaming in the background so I’m not sure she heard, so we thought maybe we should tell you, but do you know how much longer until the pizza gets here?”
Although comical, and potentially realistic on different levels for your personal experience, in 2 Chronicles 20 Jehoshaphat was faced with news that he wasn’t prepared for, news of a threat, news of a war, and news that struck terror in him. If you are a seasoned Youth Leader, there is probably a lot more that has to happen in order to bring to you to the point of being terrified. But, Jehoshaphat didn’t stop in fear, verse 3 goes on by saying he “begged the Lord for guidance.” Jehoshaphat’s fear of what was to come was real but covered by a reverent fear for his faithful God who would give him guidance. He didn’t stop there, “He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting.” Through fasting and praying together the Lord spoke to his people telling them “Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s... Tomorrow, march out against them. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory” (v. 15-17). In response to this, King Jehoshaphat followed by the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed low and worshiped the Lord. What is your youth group’s response to difficult situations? How do spiritual disciplines play an active role in that for them?

We see amazing leadership through King Jehoshaphat in this passage. We see the reality of his emotions and not being afraid to show them. But, we also see his immediate response in turning his eyes to the Lord and then calling his people to do the same. He led his people into the place where he already was. We see again after the Lord spoke that he bowed down and worshiped, and his people followed suit. What does your leading and following look like at your youth group? What are ways you see your youth mimic your spiritual lifestyle and focus on the Lord? How intentionally do you consider that with your words, actions, and responses?
Whether positive or negative you already know your youth look up to you and mimic you, as they should, you are awesome!! They see the way you respond when something goes well when something goes wrong, when something is serious, or when something is funny. They admire you! What a high compliment and heavy responsibility! They follow with confidence the leadership you provide for them. We see this as the passage continues into the battle the next morning. Jehoshaphat told his people to “believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm” (v. 20). After saying this we read that the King appointed the worship leaders to go ahead of the army and sing to the Lord, praising him for his holy splendor. They sang, “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever” (v.21). We don’t see a hesitation from the people throughout the entire passage, they trust the King, and more than that the Lord whom the King points them to, and they respond in confidence.

We read in verses 22 and 24, “At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies…to start fighting among themselves…not a single one of the enemy had escaped.” This is amazing! God caused the enemy armies (some of whom were allies) to turn and begin fighting one another, Jehoshaphat’s army didn’t even lift a finger and they were victorious. The Lord’s promises and faithfulness prevail! How are you giving your students the opportunity to “lead in worship” over the battle that is in front of them? How are you setting them up to have their eyes set on the Lord and not on what the situation seems to be in front of them?

We know you are a phenomenal youth leader and one that we thank the Lord students have the opportunity to follow. Our prayer for you as you consider this passage is to continue to point your students to say to the Lord, [today, tomorrow, always, even when, no matter what, when I feel like it or not] “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (v. 12).