God Set an Ambush

“And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed” (2 Chronicles 20:22).

We have discussed this story many times about the battle which Jehoshaphat and Israel fought against the armies who came up against them. There are many nuggets to be taken from this story so that it is difficult to exhaust the revelations from it. To summarise for anyone who may not be familiar; a few armies of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir teamed up against Israel when Jehoshaphat was King. The armies jointly made such a big troupe that Israel were physically outnumbered. Jehoshaphat’s prayer strategy was to remind God that the lands that they lived on were their own possession which God promised to Abraham.

God had used Joshua and Caleb to lead the people in driving out the inhabitants. The armies that had now teamed up against Israel were the people who Isreal spared and decided to allow to live alongside them. Jehoshaphat reminded God of the promise to his people after they built his sanctuary. “‘If disaster comes upon us, the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before you—for your name is in this house—and cry out to you in our affliction, and you will hear and save’” (2 Chronicles 20:9). Jehoshaphat understood spiritual laws and covenants and he stood on the covenant promises of God.

Jehoshaphat then prayed for God’s vengeance and judgement. “O our God, will you not execute judgment on them? For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you” (2 Chronicles 20:12). Vengeance belongs to God and recompense and his people can cry out to God to execute judgement and vengeance. While Jehoshaphat prayed, the people also stood in prayer before God. God’s response was the battle strategy, “stand firm and hold your position and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf” (2 Chronicles 20:17).

God did not want his people wasting any of their energy on this army. Their position was one of rest, trust and confidence. They could rest in the eternal confidence of God which had given them their land of promise and rest. “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty” (Zachariah 4:6). Jehoshaphat went a bit further and added music and singing as a way to celebrate what God had already done. God set the ambush and the armies devoured each other so that his people were saved.

“I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: So shall I be saved from mine enemies” (Psalm 18:3).


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