CONTEXT: Most folks I know can quote or at least paraphrase v.15 from this Chapter ‘the battle belongs to the Lord.’ While this makes a good theme it is not the central theme of this Chapter, by context Faith is the main theme. The Chapter can be divided as follows: The Enemy advances v.1-4; Jehoshaphat Prayers v.5-13; God answers prayer v.14-19; War and Victory v.20-29; End of Jehoshaphat’s reign v.30-37.
I say Faith is the main theme because of the facts we know from the text. The nation of Judah (Israel) was about to be invaded so what does Jehoshaphat do? Does he run, does he hide, does he wine and whimper, of course not he takes action. What kind of action, PRAYER v.3; And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord,… A wise ruler always seeks wise counsel in times of trouble. Jehoshaphat had 3 Armies coming against him I think this was a good time for seeking HELP!
Note that Jehoshaphat does not go it alone, v.4 And Judah gathered themselves together, to ask help of the Lord:… It is always wise to seek the support of like-minded individuals and those who may be experiencing similar issues to pray alongside you. Read v.5-13 Jehoshaphat’s Prayer (pleading with God) and you can see the heartfelt sincerety in it. Jehoshaphat confessed Judah’s (and his) inability to deal with the coming threat. That is the FAITH I was speaking about. Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah called upon the Lord to HELP, fully expecting His assistance.
I suppose I would be remiss if I failed to mention v.15 in context. Does ‘the battle always belong to the Lord’? One of the popular evangelical catchphrases that irks me to no end is “Let Go and let God.” While it may seem harmless it really is not very Biblical. In our text today (and throughout the Bible) God responds to prayer. I call this God’s Providential Grace. Unless God chose someone for a specific task, Jonah, for example, the application of this Grace is applied in every other example as a response to prayer. Yes, ‘the battle belongs to the Lord‘ it always has and always will, but we can not just give up the fight sit back in our lazy-boy recliner and expect God to do the work. We need, as individuals, churches, and a nation to be more like Jehoshaphat prayer warriors willing to fight the good fight.