Set Our Eyes On the Lord

Set Our Eyes On the Lord

Set Our Eyes on the Lord: Revival under Jehoshaphat (2 Chronicles 20)

See also the following:

Our eyes are upon you, O God. 2 Chron. 20.5-12

Keep your eyes ever toward the Lord. Ps. 25.15, Ps. 121.1-2

Lift up your eyes to the Lord, who alone can show mercy to us. Ps. 123.1-2

Take refuge in God as you look to him for help. Ps. 141.8

Hold in yourselves the sentence of death and rely on God. 2 Cor. 1.8-9

God alone can vindicate his people when they are vulnerable and powerless.Deut. 32.36

The Lord arises to defend the poor and helpless. Ps. 3.7, Ps. 12.5, Ps. 35.1, Ps. 35.23, Ps. 44.26, Ps. 68.1-2

The Lord himself will fight for those who trust in him. Exod. 14.13-14, Exod. 14.25, 2 Chron. 20.22-23

No one can withstand those who fear the Lord and trust in his WordNum. 14.9, Deut. 20.3, 2 Chron. 20.17, Ps. 27:1-2, Ps. 46.1-3

God will keep us in perfect peace because we trust in him. Isa. 26.3, Isa. 30.15, Phil. 4.4-7

Take confidence in the words of Scripture – God will fight our battles2 Chron. 32.8, Ps. 46.7, Isa. 8.9-10, Isa 41.10

Believe in the Lord and you will be established. 2 Chron. 20.20, John 11.40, Rom. 8.31, Heb. 11.6

Believe in God, believe also in Jesus. John 14.1, Acts 3.15-16, 1 John 2.23, Exod. 14.31


Some individuals, who are basically well meaning and who strive to do what is right, are also very naive and easily misled. King Jehoshaphat fitted squarely into this category. … But for all of Jehoshaphat’s sins and weaknesses of character, he mastered the discipline of prayer. And few chapters in the Bible can better illustrate the effectiveness and power of prayer than 2 Chronicles 20. If 2 Chronicles 7.14 serves as the paradigm for the whole book, as I have argued, then chapter 20 and the events narrated from the life of Jehoshaphat focus on an important component of all revivals: prayer.  The preaching of the Word moves men and women to humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and to turn from their wicked ways and seek God’s face in a renewed way. Prayer moves God to graciously pour out the blessing of heaven on sinners, undeserving as we are.

                ~ Walter C. Kaiser,
Quest for Renewal
Chicago: Moody Bible Institute, 1986, pp. 89-90.

No matter how godly and sincere you may be, you can wind up depending on the wrong people, bad advice, and phony solutions. This is precisely the journey that King Jehoshaphat walked in his reign over Israel. What is significant is not that the man or woman of God may find themselves in trouble, but how do they handle that trouble, i.e., to whom do we look when we are in desperate need of help?

When you are in trouble, real trouble, who you gonna’ call?

Revival comes during times of recognized need, when trouble, calamity, and danger loom over us, and we are quite literally forced to seek the Lord as the ground of our life and the source of our hope. When Jehoshaphat was confronted with a huge malevolent army determined to wipe Israel from the face of the map, he did not seek human allies or military solutions. Jehoshaphat was afraid, and set his face to seek the Lord, and commanded the people to join him in that spirit of prayer, dependence, and humility:

2 Chron. 20.1-4 – After this the Moabites and Ammonites, and with them some of the Meunites, came against Jehoshaphat for battle. [2] Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude is coming against you from Edom, from beyond the sea; and, behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar” (that is, Engedi). [3] Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set his face to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. [4] And Judah assembled to seek help from the Lord; from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.

Growing up as a boy, my mother used to make it plain that the key to living in God is not confusing what your role in life is with God’s role. Truly, Jehoshaphat’s prayer reveals a deep understanding of who God is and what God (and only God) can do in the face of our enemies and eminent destruction.

Kaiser nicely summarizes Jehoshaphat’s vision of prayer in five propositions that underscore his view of God:

  1. God rules over all kingdoms of the nations (2 Chron. 20.6)
  2. God delights to do what he has promised to do (2 Chron. 20.7-11)
  3. God judges all who oppose his work (2 Chron. 20. 12)
  4. God delivers us from all our distresses (2 Chron. 20.14-17)
  5. God upholds those who believe him and his Word (2 Chron. 20.18-30)

What is striking in this simple outline is the focus: God and God alone must be the source of our hope, our life, and our strength. Amazingly, nothing reminds us of our neediness and finiteness before God more than real trouble, the kind we can’t easily shake loose and won’t simply be resolved or go away. The kind of trouble that keeps us awake at night, that gnaws on the spirit, and wearies our hearts and minds from anxious deliberation and overmuch thinking. The kind of trouble that no pat answer or glib comment can satisfy or silence.

In the midst of facing unusual horror and being on the brink of total annihilation, Jehoshaphat addressed the Lord. Standing in the assembly, he prayed a simple prayer to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and asked for his aid and deliverance:

2 Chron. 20.5-12 – And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, [6] and said, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. [7] Did you not, our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before your people Israel, and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham your friend? [8] And they have lived in it and have built for you in it a sanctuary for your name, saying, [9] ‘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.’ [10] And now behold, the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir, whom you would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they avoided and did not destroy— [11] behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of your possession, which you have given us to inherit. [12] 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.”

“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.” We are powerless; we are ignorant, but our eyes are on you.

Nothing reveals the heart of revival like the focus of the soul, where our hope is, where our eyes are. The one (or ones) to whom you turn when you are in trouble are revealed to be the sources of your hope and strength.

For Jehoshaphat, this source during the time of trouble was the Lord. I have always said that Jehoshaphat didn’t quite tell that truth in this prayer. Actually, he did have power–he was the king of Israel, and he did know what to do–he had plenty of generals who would have provided him a plan, if he had asked. Jehoshaphat didn’t care about his kingship or military power; when facing destruction, he went to the source, relied upon his God, and God, in a mighty deliverance, gave him the victory.

Ironically, God’s reply was given by Jahaziel, which was literally fulfilled the next morning: 2 Chron. 20.15: And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s.’” In a glorious scene with the choir marching before the army, God delivered the surrounding armies up to Judah without their aggression. God caused confusion among them, and they destroyed themselves–a striking end with none of the armies escaping, and so much bounty in terms of spoils that three days of gathering wasn’t sufficient to retrieve it all (cf. vv. 24-26). On the fourth day the people blessed the Lord for his amazing deliverance and great provision.

What an amazing picture of true revival! Simple yet profound. God does not need our help, he only needs our awareness of our helplessness, and our belief in his Word that if we trust in him and him alone, deliverance, victory, and provision will come. This is both the soil and the fruit of revival: believing the Lord, believing his prophets, and leading the army with a chorus of thanksgiving.

2 Chron. 20.20 – And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

What will it take for us to be made aware that we are powerless against the multitude coming against the city, nor do we know what to do? Truly, may we, like Jehoshaphat and the fasting nation, turn our eyes to the One who alone can provide us with grace and help in this, our desperate time of need.


Example of Believing Confidently in the Lord’s Word: Jehoshaphat

2 Chron. 20.20 – And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

Biblical Principle: Revival results from the deeply held conviction and realization that, in the

face of our spiritual enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) who seek our destruction, only one answer suffices. God through Christ alone is our source of victory and deliverance. We are powerless against our foes, and do not know what to do about them, but, if we turn our eyes toward God and believe his Word, he will come to us, deliver us, and lead us into his perfect will.

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