When We Don't Know What to Do
Friday - September 24th
Scripture to Read Today: 2 Chronicles 20:1-12
"We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you."
2 Chronicles 20:12
Have you ever been at the point you had no idea what to do? Unfortunately, life often deals us a hand that leaves us with many questions and few answers. Certain events in life make it hard to see a way forward. As a result, there are times when we feel like we have no idea what to do. In the ninth century B.C., the fourth king of Judah, Jehoshaphat, came to one of those places in life.
According to 2 Chronicles 20, the three greatest enemies of Judah joined together to destroy Jehoshaphat's kingdom. Any one of the nations would be a challenge alone, but together they felt insurmountable for Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. So the king gathered the people together to stand before God outside the Temple and seek God's help. They prayed, fasted, and stood waiting for God to meet them in their hour of need.
Jehoshaphat himself led in the prayer and the days of fasting. The people heard him pray, "We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you" (2 Chronicles 20:12). Prayer, of course, was a common practice of God's people as they walked in covenant with their God. So, likewise, fasting often appeared in the story of Abraham's descendants. We do see them praying at the most critical points in the Old Testament. Fasting was never practiced apart from prayer. Prayer shows up often in the pages of Scripture without fasting accompanying it. But, fasting never appears without prayer.
When fasting appears alongside prayer in the stories of the Bible, it implies an intense searching through prayer for God's help. Fasting suggests prayer on steroids. When King Jehoshaphat called the people of Judah to fast, stand together outside the Temple, and pray, he, with his people, sought the help of his God intensely.
We often think that fasting, abstaining from food, drink, sex, or even social media, helps us get God's attention. On the contrary, fasting helps God get our attention. When fasting, we stop to focus on our need, God's ability to help us, and God's will and direction for our lives. Ultimately, fasting is more about God getting our attention than it is about us getting His.
If you read verses thirteen through forty of 2 Chronicles, you will discover that once God had Jehoshaphat's attention, God spoke to him through a man in the crowd. God told Jehoshaphat to go out the next day with the people of Judah, ready for war and then to stand still. They were to do nothing except get in position for battle. They were not to engage in combat. Instead, God stirred trouble among the three enemies attacking Judah, and they got irritated with each other - to the point they destroyed one another. Not one soldier of the enemies survived. Not one member of the army of Judah lifted a finger in battle. But they got all of the spoils of war.
God got the attention of Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah through their prayers AND fasting. When you are in a time of deep need and do not know what to do, look to God. Get serious, pray, and fast. Fast. Let the absence of food for a meal or two and the hunger that accompanies it draw your focus on God. As God gets your attention, He will direct your life forward through whatever you face.
Ultimately, fasting is more about God getting our attention than it is about us getting His.