Fear causes all kinds of problems in our life.
We've all been there for either a few seconds or a few moments or maybe a few days or a few weeks and some people a lot longer than that. Living under this awesome horrible cloud of fear, what's going to happen next? I don't know what kind of decision to make. No child of God has ever been hopeless when it comes to the reality of things. You may feel fearful. You may feel absolutely helpless to change your circumstances. But if God is your God, you have no reason to be hopeless. Welcome to In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley.
Have you ever faced a difficult situation that left you with few or no options? Today we'll continue listening to one of Dr. Stanley's messages from 2001 and find encouragement to face trouble with strong faith in God. Like King Jehoshaphat, turn your attention to the Lord and closely follow Him. Here's part two of When We Feel Helpless. I want you to turn, if you will, to 2 Chronicles chapter 20.
Now I'll give you a little bit of background while you're turning there. We'll just read the first four verses of this chapter, but we'll take the whole chapter, at least most of it. What has happened is Jehoshaphat, who is the king of the nation of Israel, is a good king. In fact, the Bible says about him in the 19th chapter that he set his heart to seek the Lord God. The Bible says that the Lord had used him to bring the people back to the Lord, the God of their fathers.
And so he's a good king. And suddenly he gets this message. And the message is that there are three armies, three nations, three tribes that have come together. And their goal, their purpose is to attack him and his people and to destroy them and to take what belongs to them. And this passage of Scripture is Jehoshaphat's response to what he says is a very helpless, a very powerless situation, which he did not know what to do next.
So I want us to read these first four verses together to give us a little background. Now it came about after this that the sons of Moab and the sons of Ammon, together with some of the Munites, came to make war against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and reported to Jehoshaphat, saying, A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea out of Aram.
And behold, they are in Hazazan Tamar that is in Gedi. Jehoshaphat was afraid and turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed affairs throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to seek help from the Lord.
They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek the Lord. Anytime we feel helpless, what we have done is we are experiencing what it means to feel out of control. The feeling of being out of control is always a fearful position to be in. But those of us who have trusted Jesus Christ as our Savior, and we know the Almighty God of the universe personally as a result of our relationship to Jesus, we know what to do when gripped with fear and that that fear should only last a few moments. And what I want you to see in this first principle here is simply this, that Jehoshaphat was fearful for those moments, but he made the wisest decision he could ever have made. And this is the first thing that you and I should do whenever we feel helpless, and that is to turn our eyes to seek the Lord.
The first principle above all the rest, turn our eyes to seek the Lord. Because the first word that should come out of our mouth when we feel helpless is Father. Because what that does is this, it is a sudden recognition of Almighty God. It is a sudden recognition that we have help. It is a sudden recognition that we have someone to turn to. It is an instantaneous igniter of my faith.
When I know that I can turn to Him, look to Him, and respond to Him, I know in my heart I have someone that I can turn to that I may feel helpless at the moment, but I am not hopeless as long as there is a God. The second thing I want you to notice in this passage is this, that the second thing Jehoshaphat did is one of the wisest things you and I can do, and that is to recall God's past deliverances in our life. That is because all of us who are believers, we have a heritage. We've trusted the Lord Jesus Christ over the years. We've watched God work in our life. And those of us who keep a diary, we have recorded what He has done. And I say to you over and over and over again, you ought to keep a diary.
You ought to write it down. It'll make you become more sensitive to God's actions in your life daily, little things that He does, not just the big things, not just answered prayer, but you will begin to see and begin to observe things that you never saw before. So number one, what do we do? When we hit one of these helpless situations, we don't know what to do next, we turn our eyes to seek the Lord in prayer. And secondly, we begin to recall, Lord, when I was in a circumstance equal to this or like this in the past, God, here's what you did. You're a faithful God, a loving God, a true God. You don't give up. You said, I will be with you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. You said, I'll never forsake you.
God, here's where I am. I need your help. When you and I can refer back to, recall His hand in the past, something begins to happen that our helpless situation does not leave us hopeless. What is the third principle here? Look at this if you will. The third thing I want you to notice is this, that He affirmed His faith in the living God. It is not enough to pray and say, Lord, here's my need, here's my situation, here's my circumstance.
There's something about affirming that faith. When you and I are crying out to God, we're recognizing who He is. That is, as Jehoshaphat said, He's the God, He's the sovereign of this universe. He's not only, listen, ruler over all kingdoms, but He's the ruler over every single person. He allows people to wreck and ruin their lives when they choose to. He reaches down to redeem the most wicked and vile, sinful human being when they're willing to respond to His love.
That's the kind of God He is. And what happens is when we come to the place of saying, God, I'm hopeless, I'm helpless, I don't know what to do, which way to turn. That's the wisest thing you can do is to tell Him, God, I don't know which way to turn. You're acknowledging that He is the one person who can help you. You're acknowledging that you can't do anything for yourself. You're acknowledging that He's the God He says He is.
That's why you're coming to Him. Well, another principle I want you to check on, that's this. And that is that God will encourage us in the times of our helplessness. Listen to this passage. I want you to notice where Jehoshaphat is in this passage. Look at this, verse twelve.
O our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us. Nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on you. Now most of the time when you're praying or talking and you put a but at the end of something, that's bad news. When people say, I love you, but. I know God answers prayer, but. I know He works those people's lives, but.
I know He can change circumstances, but. And usually but means, but you can't do it for me. You won't do it for me. And but usually is a, is the prelude to an expression of my doubt. But oh, God, what about my situation?
But look at this but. He says, O our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us. Nor we do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon you. When you and I get in those circumstances, those situations, whatever may be the cause, that's the time when we need to open our eyes to look for the evidence of the presence of God in this circumstance in our life. Secondly, listen, we need to open our ears to listen to what God may be trying to say to us. God is always speaking in difficult circumstances. He wants us to keep our eyes open to see what He wants us to see.
Is He working out something here? He wants us to keep our ears alert to the voice of God. Sometimes His voice may come through someone else. Or it may come through His Word.
Or it may come through a change of circumstance. We think certainly this is the work of God in my life. So that whenever we face one of those situations, that's the time to be very sensitive to what we're listening to and who we're listening to. Very sensitive to what we see going on around us. Because God is an encourager by heart.
Listen to what He says. And my favorite word of encouragement is in Isaiah forty-one when He says, Do not fear, I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, I am your God. I will help you, I will strengthen you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.
All those who are insensitive about you, He says, will be as nothing. He's a God of righteousness and holiness, but He's a God of compassion and love and oneness and empathy with us and He desires to take our hand and walk us through those valleys of helplessness so that He can walk us through it with His unconditional love so that when we come out on the other side, we praise Him and adore Him and worship Him and realize we were at the end of our rope and not only at the end of our rope, but the rope was unwinding and it was about to snap at any moment and God rescued us. That's the kind of God He is. Well, when we get in those circumstances, listen to this carefully, most of the time, ninety-nine point nine percent if not a hundred percent of the time, God is going to require us to act in some fashion. It's not a matter of just crying out to God, but He's going to command us to obey Him in some act.
Now let's think about what these people were. First of all, they felt absolutely helpless, but now they're becoming encouraged. And as a result of their encouragement and trust in God, something happens here. Because I want you to notice how encouraged Jehoshaphat became. Because in verse twelve he says, we're powerless before this great multitude's coming upon us.
But verse twenty says, they arose early in the morning, went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. When they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, listen to me, O Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem, put your faith in the Lord your God and you will be a established in this land. Put your trust in His prophets and succeed.
Something happened to his faith. God encouraged him in the most, in the most trying, distressful time of his life. And what is he saying to them? He's saying, put your faith in God, trust Him. He will establish us in this land. And he says, listen, give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness is everlasting.
Now here's what I want you to see. God used this prophet to encourage, listen, not only the nation, but the king. And now we see the king coming out and saying, trust the living God. Before he was saying, oh God, we don't know what to, trust the living God. Now he required of them something that would appear absolutely ridiculous and listen, a sure, a sure plan of total defeat. He said, here's what we're going to do. God has spoken to him in the night. He said, we're going to get all of our army together.
We've already heard the message. We won't have to fight. We're getting the army together. But we're going to put the choir and the orchestra in front.
They all got together and they went out. Verse twenty-one, when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the Lord and those who praised Him in the holy attire as they went out before the army and said, give thanks to the Lord for His loving kindness is everlasting and here they are going to battle. And what are they doing? They're just praising God and giving thanks.
What are they giving thanks for? For what they believe God is going to do in their life. Not what reason tells them. Not what history has told them.
Not what rationality tells them. But we're going to trust God. We've heard the message of God from the prophet of God who says, this is not our battle.
We can stand, listen, we can take our stand and we can watch God do His awesome work in our life. And to me personally, I don't like difficulty and hardship and pain any more than anybody else. I don't like to be in those hopeless or helpless situations any more than anyone else, but I will have to confess this. I love to watch God do His work when I know that there's not one thing under God's heaven I can do about it. There is the most thrilling joy with the pain. It's like this joy and pain come together. And the pain of how you hurt, but the joy of watching God work in your life and manipulate, not so much manipulate with God, but move and change the circumstances right in front of your eyes.
There is something gloriously exciting about being helpless and standing and, listen, taking your position of faith and watching God work in your life. Well, one last principle I'd mention, that's simply this, that we can expect God to miraculously intervene in our circumstances. We can expect, we can anticipate that.
Now that's exactly what's going on here. They anticipated what God was going to do because they said, put your trust in the Lord, Jehoshaphat said, you will be established. Put your trust in His prophets and you will succeed. Now there is a declaration, He says, He says, I am confident this is what's going to happen. We will succeed in this battle because it's not our battle, it's God's. He's the sovereign of the universe.
We're trusting Him. Here's what He's told us to do. He's told us to arm ourselves, put the choir and the orchestra or the singers out front, and march toward the enemy.
Now listen to what happens. Verse twenty-two, when they began singing and praising the Lord, praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who'd come against Judas, so they were routed. Here's what God did. He so confused them. Look what He did to them. The sons of Ammon and Moab rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir. That was part of the army, destroying them completely. And when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. They turned on each other. Probably gotten some argument about who's going to have what when we destroy all these people in this room.
What happens? When they came to look out on the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground and no one had escaped. Hallelujah, amen. What is God doing? He's just being Himself.
Now that's a big deal to us, but in God's eyes, He's just being Himself. You know what He was doing? Acting in behalf of those who waited for Him.
Watch this. Waited for Him. You see, Jehoshaphat didn't call his soldiers, his generals to the war room. He called the whole nation to the prayer room.
And what happened? They waited to respond until they got a message from God. What did God do? Isaiah sixty-four, four. He acted in behalf of those who waited for Him. And what did we find? We find now, verse twenty-five, when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them things which they took for themselves and more, listen, more than they could carry.
And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much of it. What did God do? Watch this. Remember this. Now you listen and say amen. Amen. Remember this. When you and I wait upon the Lord and we do it His way, and we respond to our helpless, hopeless situation in the way that honors and pleases Him, you'll always come out with more than you expect and more than you could ever possibly deserve.
It's always that way. He always has the best for those who wait for Him. He always gets involved for those who wait for Him. He is willing to do whatever is necessary when you and I are willing to wait till we get a clear message from God.
And when we get His message, He's going to make it just right. Now there's one big key to this whole thing. And I want you to look at this passage. They move on back of course to Jerusalem carrying all these goods and they couldn't even do it one day and they praise the Lord and so forth. Then I want you to notice something. Something about Jehoshaphat because here is the ultimate key.
Jehoshaphat. He, verse thirty-two, he walked in the way of his father, Asa, and did not depart from it, doing right in the sight of God. You want these principles to work in your life? They'll work in your life not sometimes but every single time that you and I come to Him in one of those circumstances when we're walking right with Him. And God is simply saying to you, whatever the circumstance in your life in which you feel helpless, here's the guidebook.
Here are the principles. This is life's compass. Unfailing, unchanging, unalterable, eternal compass of truth. And God will walk you through what you're facing and you'll walk through it. And what you'll realize is this, that for the child of God the best is always what God gives His obedient children. And Father, how grateful we are that you can take a simple incident as in the life of Jehoshaphat.
Thousands of years later we can apply these simple principles in our lives and they work every single time. I pray the Holy Spirit will sink this message, drive it home, drive it deep, ignite faith, change attitudes, transform lives, save people. Turn their hearts to the one true God, to you, Jehovah, Yahweh, Elohim, Adoniah. The one true God and to your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose shed-blooded Calvary has paid man's sin debt in full and makes it possible for the lowest, worst, most evil being on the face of this earth to experience forgiveness, experience your love, experience your redemption, your reconciliation, your justification, your sanctification, your awesome forgiveness for every sin and to experience a wonderful, intimate relationship with you. This is my prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.
You're listening to In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. Humility is a sign of strength, not weakness. When challenges come, admit your inability to God and declare your reliance on Him.
Then trust Him to resolve your situation in His perfect way. To find out more about what Jesus has done for you, log on to intouch.org. You'll find a variety of resources that will help you know how to begin or deepen a relationship with the Lord. And for a copy of Dr. Stanley's complete message, When We Feel Helpless, open the bookstore page to place your order. Again, you'll find these resources at intouch.org, or call 1-800-IN-TOUCH. To write to us, address your letter to Many people wonder why it's so important to read the Word of God.
The answer is coming up in today's moment with Charles Stanley. In Lebanon, families that had fled civil war, leaving homes made of burlap, cardboard, and tin. But Ammar and his sisters are seeing Christ through the love of missionaries. Now he has a school, and his parents can hear God's Word through the In Touch Messenger, an audio Bible that is discipling new believers in Lebanon.
Learn more at intouch.org slash messenger. The Christian life is an exciting journey with great joys and challenges. We don't always know the right questions to ask or the best way to approach Scripture in search of answers. Dr. Stanley's Handbook for Christian Living is an easy-to-use help system that will bring Scripture to life so you can see God moving powerfully in your life.
To order, call 1-800-IN-TOUCH, or go to intouch.org slash store. The Bible says, Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the Word of Christ. Don't underestimate the importance of Scripture.
Here's A Moment with Charles Stanley. Do you know what this book is? Somebody says, well, that's the Word of God.
Well, that's true. The infallible, inerrant Word of God. It is the revelation of God. But listen, the revelation of God is also the account. That is the written-down account of how God thought down through these years and what He did down through these years, how He acted, how He worked, how He involved Himself in the life of individuals as well as in the life of a nation. This is the written account of the actions and the attitude of Almighty God down through history.
And so how do you and I get blessed? We open this book, and what do we read? We read what God says about how He thinks and how He has thought. And we see what He did in the life of the nation of Israel and in the life of the men like Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and David and Daniel and Paul and Peter and all the rest of them. We have an account of how He worked.
So what happens? We read how He worked in their lives, and we get blessed. So when you and I keep a diary, we can go back and read our own diary of how God has worked in our own life in the past and what does that do when we come to present day and future day events that cause us to feel helpless, we likewise again are encouraged by what we read.
Learn more about the faithfulness of God at InTouch.org. Would you like to hear today's message again? You can stream it on our website or download podcasts and take InTouch with you. Our web address again is InTouch.org. Thank you for joining us today. We trust King Jehoshaphat's example has challenged you to trust the Lord with every situation you face. And join us next time for more encouragement and challenge from the pages of God's Word on In Touch, the teaching ministry of Dr. Charles Stanley. This program is a presentation of In Touch Ministries, Atlanta, Georgia, and remains on this station through the grace of God and your faithful prayers and gifts.
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