F) The Blessed Reward of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:24-30)    

God always blesses those who seek Him.

When Judah came to the lookout of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude; and behold, they were corpses lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. And when Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including goods, garments, and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry. And they were three days taking the spoil because there was so much.

  Then on the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore they have named that place “The Valley of Beracah” until today. And every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres, and trumpets to the house of the LORD.

Lookout on the Valley of Beracah (Blessings)  And the dread of God was on all the kingdoms of the lands when they heard that the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel. So the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God gave him rest on all sides (2 Chronicles 20:24-30).

God’s stories are always so wonderful to hear, tell and live out. They had lots of goods to take from the enemy. They did not have to work for them except to gather them. It took them three days to get everything from all the scattered dead soldiers. On the fourth day, they had their greatest blessing. That valley got a special name meaning ‘blessing.’ For it was there they saw the glory of the Lord.

Just think of it. Why has secularism been able to grow so quickly? It has grown because people have not seen the works of the Lord! If they have seen such works of the Lord, then secularism will crumble in moments. Why is it that materialism so attracts people? It is because they have not met up with the great love of God. We should not fear the deadness of these theories but that we as the people of God have not met up with God. We no longer have praise services celebrating what great things God has done.

But it affects us in a lot of ways. Because many have not met God in one of His great works, we have an untried and untested faith. We wonder if what God’s Word is true. This is why I am very concerned for children brought up in Christian homes. Usually the first generation Christians are strong because they have seen God’s great work at least in their own lives. Second generation Christians just assume that is normal. They don’t see the work of the Holy Spirit. But they just the same, need to see the great works of the Lord. This event for Judah was a tremendous boost that brought renewal to God’s people. This is what the church so desperately needs today.

Then on the fourth day they assembled in the valley of Beracah, for there they blessed the LORD. Therefore they have named that place “The Valley of Beracah” until today. And every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the LORD had made them to rejoice over their enemies. And they came to Jerusalem with harps, lyres, and trumpets to the house of the LORD (20:26-28).

Do you see what they did on the fourth day? They praised God. “The Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies.” Who needed swords when they had harps, lyres and trumpets!

We need to recognize the Lord’s great grace in our lives. We need to strip away the doubt that has plagued our own souls. Do you want to see the Lord’s greatness? Do you want Him to reveal Himself to you? This is the time to step forth and reject a religious dogma and live in light of the Almighty God. We are not dismissing doctrine but only stating that doctrine must come from reality and though it preserves the truth to some degree, without a true faith in seeing God yourself, we can become much like the hypocritical Pharisees. They totally missed it even though they had the best of teaching.

Application: You might be wondering, “Yea, I would like to meet God. But how? I don't belong to some army facing defeat. You might not even be a Christian. But the Word says, “Draw near to God and God will draw near to you.” You could wait for God but then we would forget that if God is now impressing a desire on your heart to really know Him, then today God is calling you to some action. What is it that He wants you to do? Listen carefully. Write it down. What God says never contradicts His holy Word. For some of you, it might be that you are going to start more seriously reading the Bible and praying. Some of you might be led to join our church’s early Sunday prayer meeting. The point is just follow up what God has directed you to do. He will be meeting with you again. ]

A Real Life Example  • No money

God’s Greatness is displayed to Pastor Stephen and myself as we prepared for the STM 2004 to India.

God proves His faithfulness: Short term missions.We notice more of God’s greatness when we see our weakness. Just like we can see things stand out when the contrast is increased, so we could see more of God’s glorious ways when our frailties came to light. Being human, I run away from weakness as much as I can. I like to be in control, have power, be able to work through decisions that I have made. But God delights to use us in our weaknesses so that more glory might go to His name. 

We planned to leave around September 24. But from Sept. 11th we only had 14% of our budget. We didn’t even have enough to pay for a round trip ticket. The point was not whether we could find the money or get a loan. The issue is whether God really wanted us there. If He did, then He would provide. Everything changed in a week’s time.

We had our original deadline but just at that point we heard people saying that they would be giving. And in fact, they were faithful to their word. From Sept 12 - 20 we had $7,700 (86%) come in from many sources, just what we needed.

In the end we want to thank the Lord for just giving us two full-fledged pastor seminars where at least 300 pastors and evangelists were trained. God had His greater purposes. They reveal our weaknesses of faith but they are quickly forgotten when we meet ‘God who is Able.’

One can always trust God. He knew this training would be right up to the line. The Lord trained me as well as the national pastor in India who did all the planning. God specifically spoke to me as well as to pastor Stephen in different ways, but both of us knew God would arrange all. God helped us where our faith was weak. In the end God marvelously provided! You should have seen how happy pastor Stephen and I were when we finally met and hugged at the airport. On my part I needed to prepare things even when it didn’t look like I was going. I needed to act on what I believed. So did Pastor Stephen. And to the degree we acted, God greatly blessed.


Summary on Prayer

We have discussed many things here, but it would be a shame not to summarize some of the points on prayer. We do want to be God’s prayer center where God can accomplish His greatest plans through our lives. Here are seven principles on prayer from 2 Chronicles 20.

1)    We should seek God and His purpose’s now in prayer so that we will not need a crisis to ‘turn our attention’ to Him.  (20:3)

2)    Sincere prayer is always a right response to facing an impossible task. (20:4)

3)    Genuine prayer wrestles with God as we see the difference between what He said and what we now see around us. (20:6-12)

4)    We should anticipate God’s response to our sincere prayer to Him. (20:15-16).

5)    Answers to prayer often if not always call us to obey some aspect. (20:20).

6)    Doubts in prayer can often be thrown aside by praising God for His great works and person. (20:22-23).

7)    We should always remember to thank God for answering our prayers with praise and adoration. (20:26-27).

 

Prayer is not an option.

Prayer is the very means by which God reveals His will and gives strength to His people.

Are you praying?


Check out the Bible study on 2 Chronicles 20 next => :  Study Questions on 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

   Introduction to Prayer: 2 Chronicles 20:1-30
A) The Urgent Need for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:1-2)     Difficulties lead us back to God.
B) The Proper Time for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:3-4)               Fears always should lead us to trust God.
C)  The Needed Substance of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:5-13)          Prayer is where our trust is given to God.
D)  The Delightful Answer to Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:14-19)       Answers to prayer come when God speaks.
E)  The Required Faith for Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:20-23)           We always are asked to prove our faith.
F)   The Blessed Reward of Prayer (2 Chronicles 20:24-30)           God always blesses those who seek Him.
   Study Questions on 2 Chronicles 20:1-30

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Biblical Foundations for Freedom

Paul J. Bucknell

NASB used throughout unless otherwise noted.