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Jehoshaphat's Reaction to Fear

  • Priscilla Evans Shirer Motivational speaker, singer, and author
  • 2001 11 Nov
  • COMMENTS
Jehoshaphat's Reaction to Fear
What do you do when you are afraid? What is your natural tendency? When fearful or bewildering situations arise, we often revert to some natural habit that soothes us. A businessman might become introspective and unconsciously isolate himself from his family. Or a wife in turmoil may immediately call a friend to share her thoughts. The sound of thunder during a rainstorm might motivate spouses to huddle together in bed or a child might run to the shelter of her parents' bed in the middle of the night. Whatever our natural reaction is to fear, it gives us a sense of normalcy and security. We unconsciously revert to these behaviors and -- without a second thought -- we have eaten that whole carton of ice cream! We're usually not even aware that we're doing it, but taking note of these patterns is imperative.

When Jehoshaphat was king over Judah he found himself in a precarious position that caused him great anxiety. He was surrounded on all sides by an army that wanted desperately to destroy the entire nation. As militarily strong as Judah had been in the past, Jehoshaphat was aware of his inability to fight this war alone; unless Judah received some supernatural help, they would be in trouble. It amazes me that when Jehoshaphat heard the news of the impending danger he did not become secluded away from the masses, he did not pick up the phone to call a friend, nor did he find refuge by snuggling up to his spouse for comfort. 2 Chronicles 20:3 says, "Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord ..." That was his natural tendency.

Here is the greatest man in the nation, the king, with everything at his disposal in times of trouble. But and the first and only thing that captured his attention in a time of fear was the Lord. Communication with God was so incorporated into the fabric of his life that it was immediately on his mind when he became afraid. Such a habit wasn't a spur-of-the-moment kind of thing, it was the product of years of complete reliance on God. He sought the Lord because he knew that was the only place where his situation could be rectified. What a lesson we can learn from this man who chose Jesus over all else! His default position was on his knees calling out to the Master for help.

Jehoshaphat was so serious about his desire to see the Lord supernaturally come through for the people of Judah that he even went a step further and "proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah." Fear is one emotion that will draw us to a point of desperation. We have to be so desperate for the Lord to work in our lives that not only do we turn our attention toward Him but we do whatever is necessary to make sure that His attention is also turned toward us! To fast is to give up the needs of the flesh for a greater need of the spirit. It shows the Lord that you are so serious about what you are asking Him to do that you are willing to give up something you really want in order to ensure God's hand in your situation. Traditionally, Christians give up food, but you can also give up television, movies, certain books or even chocolate for a season. The point is to give up something that you long for to show the Lord how serious you are. The Lord declares that when we proclaim a fast, "Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry and He will say, 'Here I am.'"(Isaiah 58:8-9) The Lord takes it seriously when His children fast. If you want to see God for real, turn your attention to Him and then give up something to show the Lord that He is indeed more important.

When God's people are afraid, it should move us toward God. Jehoshaphat's reactions show that he was serious about seeing God work. This is what fear should do to God's people. It should move us toward God. Our default position in times of need should be one of kneeling, seriously seeking the Father.

As life's battles cause me to fear, my desire is that my subconscious habit will be to call out to the Lord and allow all else to fall by the wayside as I look expectantly to God for answers. Let's pray that we will become like Jehoshaphat in times of uncertainty and immediately turn our attention to the Lord.