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What To Do When You Don't Know What Else to Do

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In humble dependence, pursue God with ALL your heart, soul, mind and strength while OBEYING HIS REVEALED WILL and praising Him for the guidance and direction that is to come!

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Scripture Introduction: Jehoshaphat was Asa’s son, and overall was a good king of Judah. We find his reign mentioned throughout . He begins his kingdom by removing the pagan worship from the land and he commissions the priests to teach the Law of Moses throughout the towns of Judah.
Jehoshaphat was certainly not perfect…He made a grave mistake by making an alliance with the wicked King Ahab. To make a long story short, God’s judgment falls on Ahab and the prophet Jehu rebukes Jehoshaphat for his poor decision. Jehoshaphat begins making better decisions, both governmentally and spiritually (The Bible Guide).
In , Jehoshaphat and his people are faced with a grave military threat. They find themselves as the target of military aggression by their enemies on the Eastern border—the Moabites and the Ammonites.
What are they to do? Jehoshaphat makes some very interesting decisions as they are faced with insurmountable odds.
Introduction: The information God includes in His Word about this event are intended to be far more than a history lesson or information to use in a Bible trivia game. This information is recorded in God’s Word for our benefit! There are times in our lives, when we too are faced with insurmountable dilemmas. There are times in our lives when we feel as if we are surrounded by enemy forces and we do not know what to do, where to turn, or how to respond.
Many times in my life, when I have been faced with these types of feelings, I often “go with my gut.” More often than not, my decisions during times like these have only made the situation worse than it was to begin with. When we are faced with a dilemma that leaves us with feelings of being punched in the gut, or when we feel like we are surrounded with problems and insurmountable odds, we are prone to act without thinking, make split-second decisions without praying, and depend upon our own ingenuity or the bad advice of well meaning friends.
However, I believe there is MUCH to learn from Jehoshaphat’s response that can help US know “WHAT TO DO WHEN WE DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE TO DO.”
Notice Jehoshaphat’s response in :

Seek God’s Face and His Help, FIRST

Explanation: The FIRST thing Jehoshaphat did was to seek God’s face and to seek God’s help! The phrase “set his face” is also translated “determined” or “resolved.” Nothing was going to stand in his way of seeking the Lord. He was determined to look to God about this matter and find out what God wanted him to do!
His determination is seen in his proclamation of a fast throughout all of Judah. Don Green says this about fasting:
...fasting in the Old Testament expressed a mournful, urgent seeking of God in distressing circumstances...Greatly distressed and conscious of their utter helplessness, they suspended their normal eating habits in an urgent, extraordinary seeking of God who alone could deliver them from their distress...In other words, their fasting naturally flowed from profound spiritual urgency. It was not the product of routine spiritual ritual. It expressed deep dependence on God in times of uncommon anguish...Fasting was an outward expression of the inward reality of a shattered heart. It was an urgent response of repentance and great humility. It was the seeking of deliverance from a gracious God in profoundly desperate situations. (https://www.gty.org/library/blog/B110107/)
When Jehoshaphat led the way by his example, and called for a fast, the people responded by coming together from all over Judah to do the same. They fasted, they prayed, and they urgently sought for God’s intervention in their situation.
Illustration:
Application: Too often, as bad as I hate to admit it, I neglect to seek God’s face and His help, FIRST! It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that many of us in this room have the very same problem. When we are faced with overwhelming circumstances, difficult decisions, agonizing problems, insurmountable odds . . . far too often God is turned to AFTER we have exhausted every other option, and many times after we have made the situation far worse than it was previously.
Application: Too often, as bad as I hate to admit it, neglect to seek God’s face and His help, FIRST! It wouldn’t surprise me to find out that many of us in this room have the very same problem. When we are faced with overwhelming circumstances, difficult decisions, agonizing problems, insurmountable odds . . . far too often God is turned to AFTER we have exhuasted every other option, and many times after we have made the situation far worse than it was previously.
God MUST be TOP priority in our lives. Over and over again Scripture reminds us that He is to have FIRST place! Seeking Him FIRST, is not only important, but it will save us much grief and regret. Here are just a few examples of from Scripture of our responsibility to seek God...
Illustration:
:
Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV
But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.
:
1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV
Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually!
:
Psalm 63:1 ESV
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
:
Jeremiah 29:12 ESV
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.
Jeremiah 29:12–13 ESV
Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.
In we are warned against worrying about the everyday necessities of life. In contrast Jesus commanded in these words:
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
The FIRST thing we need to do when we don’t know what to do…and EVERYDAY for that matter…is to SEEK GOD FIRST!
As they seek the Lord, Jehoshaphat begins to pray and in versse 5-6 He begins to . . .

Praise God for Who He Is

Explanation: Jehoshaphat begins his prayer with the simple phrase, “O Lord.” The Hebrew word used for Lord here, is “Yahweh” and it refers to God’s “self-existence.” It recognizes God’s eternality. John Piper says there are several things the name Yahweh tells us about WHO God is:
It reminds us that God never had a beginning.
It reminds us that God will never have an end.
God is absolute reality.
God is utterly independent.
Everything that is not God, depends totally upon God.
All the universe, compared to God is nothing.
God is constant. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
God is the absolute standard of truth and goodness and beauty. (http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/10-things-yahweh-means)
Don’t just gloss over the phrase, “O Lord.” When Jehoshaphat said, “O Lord” he was saying a mouthful! He was recognizing WHO God was and he was praising Him for it!
God does whatever He pleases
Then he says, “God of our fathers.” The name for “God” in the Hebrew is “Elohim.” Gotanswers.org says, “The basic meaning behind the name Elohim is one of strength or power … Elohim is the infinite, all-powerful God who shows by His works that He is the creator, sustainer, and supreme judge of the world.”
Just think a moment what Jehoshaphat has said, just by uttering these two words: Yahweh and Elohim! He has recognized the Self-existent, Creator of the universe! That is WHO he is talking to. That is WHO he is depending upon. That is WHO he is praying to and praising!
Then He begins to reflect even more upon who God is in verse 6.
Illustration: When you first met the love of your life you knew very little about them. You may have heard about them, you may have heard what other people had to say about them, but it was only until you met them, and spent time with them, and sat down and talked with them, that you came to really know them. You came to know their strengths and weaknesses. You came to know their mannerisms. You came to know their habits. You came to know what you could depend upon them for. You went beyond knowing them on a surface level and you came to know them on a deep, personal level.
Application: I believe one of the reasons we do not depend upon God like Jehoshaphat depended upon God is because we do not take the time and effort to know God and to praise God for WHO HE IS! We cannot praise God for WHO HE IS if we do not TAKE THE TIME to get to know WHO HE IS! Theology is the study of God. It is the study of WHO GOD IS! Theology, correctly understood, is not boring, but exciting! We are getting to KNOW the Creator of the universe! We learn His strengths and we find He has no weaknesses. We learn He is faithful. We learn He is dependable. We learn He is powerful. We learn He is the Great I Am. The more we know Him, the more we love Him. The more we know Him the more we will want to praise Him!
When you come to a place in your life, just STOP and take the time to PRAISE GOD FOR WHO HE IS! Not who He used to be, not Who He will become, but for WHO HE IS…Because He is the same yesterday, today and forever! When you stop to praise God for WHO HE IS you will be reminding yourself that even though YOU may not know what to do, you are expressing confidence and faith in Him that He knows what to do and He’s got this!
Another thing we see in Jehoshaphat’s prayer (vv. 7-9) is that we need to take time to...

Reflect Upon What God Has Done

Explanation: As Jehoshaphat continues to pray he begins to reflect upon God’s powerful intervention in the past. He remembers how God drove out Israel’s enemies. He remembers how God gave the descendants of Abraham the land. He reflects upon the sanctuary that the children of Israel built as a place to worship God and offer sacrifices! He also takes the time to reflect upon the prayer of Solomon when he dedicated the temple to God in . In Solomon’s prayer of dedication, he indicated that God would hear His people’s cries when they came to him during times of disaster, famine, or trouble and He would not only hear their prayers, but He would intervene on their behalf!
King Jehoshaphat takes the time to reflect upon God’s past blessings and God’s past promises to give him hope and encouragement for their present situation!
Application: We must learn to do the same! We should not only reflect upon all the things that God has done for us in our past…like pursuing us when we were running from Him, saving our lives time and again, loving us when we were unlovable, loving us enough to confront us about the things we were doing to cause ourselves to self-destruct, but how about FORGIVING US of ALL of our wickedness, saving our Hell deserving souls, restoring the relationship with Him that had been broken, giving us life abundantly, and providing for us life eternal in a place called the New Heaven and the New Earth! We should think OFTEN about all He has done for us! But we should also think often of His power demonstrated throughout HISTORY!
Illustration: For instance says:
Romans 15:4 ESV
For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.
You can’t reflect on the things “written in former days” without reading, studying, and knowing the Word of the Living God! Why were those things written? They were written for “OUR INSTRUCTION!” You can’t reflect on something you didn’t know! You’ve got to know it to reflect upon it. You can’t use a TOOL that you don’t have. You put the tool in your “tool box” so when you need it, it’s there. The same is true with Scripture . . . you have to put Scripture in your heart and in your mind, so when you need it, it’s there to reflect upon!
Notice the next part of Jehoshaphat’s prayer in verses 10-12…One of the other things we need to do is to . . .

Admit Our Insufficiency

Explanation: King Jo realizes, logically speaking, they are helpless against the men of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir! He says in verse 12, “We are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us.” He admits their insufficiency. He doesn’t try to figure anything out, he doesn’t gather the strategists and try to come up with a battle plan…He simply says, “God, unless you intervene, we are DOOMED!”
The end of verse 12 has become the soundtrack of my life lately. I want you to see this verse. Notice again :
2 Chronicles 20:12 ESV
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.”
You see that last part? “We do not know what to do, BUT OUR EYES ARE ON YOU!”
Illustration & Application: Have you ever been there? Can you relate? God I don’t know what to do! But how many times do we try to figure it out on our own, rather than say, “but our eyes are on YOU!” How many times do we run to others for advice, rather than say, “but our eyes are on YOU.” How many times do we just follow our heart and our emotions, rather than to admit our insufficiency and say, “but our eyes are on YOU!”
TODAY, FLAGSHIP CHURCH, WE NEED TO COME TO THE END OF OURSELVES AND SAY, “God, I don’t know what to do, but my eyes are on YOU!”
I don’t know how to fix my marriage, God, but my eyes are on YOU!
I don’t know how to kick this habit, God, but my eyes are on YOU!
I don’t know how to get out of this depression I find myself in, but my eyes are on YOU!
I don’t know how to help the person I love from self-destructing, but my eyes are on YOU!
I don’t know what to do about our building situation, but God our eyes are on YOU!
So many times we try to take things in our own hands, and make them WORK, when God wants us to take it out of our hands, and recognize He’s in control and it’s in His hands and let Him do in and through us what we cannot do for ourselves! IT IS TIME WE KICK PRIDE AND SELF-SUFFICIENCY TO THE CURB, HUMBLE OURSELVES, SEEK HIS FACE, TURN FROM OUR WICKED WAYS, AND BEG GOD TO HEAL OUR LAND, OUR MARRIAGES, OUR COMMUNITY, OUR CHURCH, OUR CHILDREN AND WHATEVER ELSE ONLY HE CAN DO!
Not only have they taken time to reflect upon God’s power and promises of the past, but now the Spirit of God comes upon Jahaziel and he reminds them of some important truths in verses 13-17. And that is what we must do as well. We must . . .

Remind Ourselves of the Truth

Explanation: As they are gathered together praying and seeking God’s face, the Spirit of God comes upon a man named Jahaziel. Notice what he says again in :
2 Chronicles 20:15–17 ESV
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. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.”
He reminds them of the truth that the battle is not theirs, but God’s! They are God’s people and if they will trust and obey God, they will see God fight their battles for them, just like He has done many, many times in the past.
Because the battle is not theirs, but God’s, they do not have to be afraid and they do not have to be dismayed! The word dismayed can also be translated “discouraged.” It literally means, “to be shattered or to be filled with terror.” Because God is for them and not against them, because God is going to fight this battle, they do not have to give up hope and they do not have to fear! They can remind themselves of this truth and experience the “peace of God that passes all human understanding.”
Illustration: When we face circumstances and situations in life that cause us to not know what to do, we must also reminds ourselves of the TRUTH! When God told Joshua to be of good courage and not to be dismayed, that command was connected with Joshua having the TRUTH of God to reflect upon! What are some TRUTHS from God’s Word that can help us not to be afraid, discouraged, shattered or filled with terror:
When I don’t know WHAT to do I can remind myself of the TRUTH of :
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
When I feel like circumstances are robbing me of my PEACE I can remember the truth found in :
John 16:33 ESV
I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
When I don’t know WHAT TO PRAY FOR I can remember the TRUTH found in :
Romans 8:26 ESV
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.
When I feel OVERWHELMED by circumstances I can remind myself of the TRUTH found in :
2 Corinthians 12:9 ESV
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When I feel like I’m just SPINNING MY WHEELS and I be reminded of the TRUTH found in :
1 Corinthians 15:58 ESV
Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.
When my ANXIETIES seem to be out of control I can remember the TRUTH found in :
1 Peter 5:7 ESV
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
We MUST remind ourselves of the TRUTH and we must SURROUND OURSELVES with PEOPLE, MUSIC & MEDIA that will constantly remind us of the TRUTH of God’s Word!
The final thing we find Jehoshaphat and the people doing is found in vv. 18-23 . . .

Demonstrate Your Trust

Explanation: God had revealed to them what they were to do and now they had an opportunity to exercise their faith. At this point they were still surrounded, they still had no where to run, they were still outnumbered and out-manned. However, they had something the enemy did not have—THEY HAD GOD ON THEIR SIDE AND THEY HAD GOD’S SOLUTION!
God could have wiped the enemy out by just speaking the word, but He did not. He told Judah and its inhabitants to “go down against them” in verse 16. God gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their faith and trust in Him. They do not respond with fear and doubt, but they respond with WORSHIP (v. 18) and then they respond with PRAISE(v. 19).
Notice WHEN they decide to PRAISE the Lord. Do they wait and praise Him once the problem is passed, NO they praise Him WHILE the problem is still confronting them. They PRAISE Him BEFORE the victory has been won! They PRAISE Him in the VERY MIDDLE of the problem! Not only that, they Bible says they PRAISE HIM WITH A VERY LOUD VOICE (v. 19)!
The next morning they gather together and Jehoshaphat delivers one final message in verse 20! He tells them to believe! This belief is not just “believing God can,” but it’s taking God at His Word and DEMONSTRATING that belief by DOING what He says!
Then they begin to sing and praise God for WHO He is and WHAT He is going to do! As they demonstrate their faith, through praise and obedience, God moves on their behalf and takes care of the enemy (vv. 22-23)!
Illustration & Application: God is going to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your faith in Him as well. That faith is most often demonstrated through simply doing what God has already called you to do. That faith is demonstrated by WORSHIPING GOD for WHO He is BEFORE He gives you the solution to the problem you face. That faith is demonstrated by DOING what He had already revealed to YOU in His Word and trusting Him to do what you cannot.
Over and over and over again God calls on us to demonstrate our faith in Him by OBEYING Him BEFORE He works and PRAISING Him BEFORE He works . . .
Too often we want God to simply give us the solution. We want God to dismiss the problem. We want God to take care of the issue. Quite often God allows us to come to the place of “Not Knowing What To Do” to draw us closer to Himself, deepen our trust in His power and love, and conform us and shape us into the image of Christ.
He’s not just some miracle working God who is interested in entertaining us with His power, He is a loving Heavenly Father who is passionate about CHANGING us as a result of His power!
So what is it He is asking YOU to do today to stretch your faith and demonstrate your trust in Him? Most likely YOU already know the answer, or if you don’t it is readily available in His Word . . . the question is WOULD YOU DO IT if He showed you? Do you trust Him enough and do you love Him enough to say, “YES, LORD.”
Here are a few examples of ways YOU can demonstrate YOUR trust in Him:
Matthew 5:16 ESV
In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:44 ESV
But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
Matthew 6:33 ESV
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 22:39 ESV
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Matthew 22:37–39 ESV
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
Mark 16:15 ESV
And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.
John 15:12 ESV
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
Yes, there will be times in our lives we will not know what to do. There will be decisions that we will have to make and we will not clearly be able to determine from Scripture the path we need to take. There will be overwhelming circumstances we will face that will leave us with confusion and despair.
But when those times come, one of the things we can do and need to do, is to demonstrate our faith and trust in God BY DOING THE THINGS THAT HE HAS CLEARLY TOLD US TO DO IN HIS WORD AND SEEK HIM FIRST AND WATCH HIM TAKE CARE OF THE REST!
Many wives say, “I will respect my husband, when he steps up and becomes the man I need him to be.” God says, YOU RESPECT HIM, regardless. Many husbands say, “I will love my wife as Christ loves the church, when she steps up and stops nagging me and starts respecting me,” but God says you love her regardless. Many of us say, “God I will give more, when you bless me with more,” but God says, “Give and it will be given unto you!”
Many times, I afraid, it’s not always the fact that we don’t know what to do, it’s that we wouldn’t do what revealed to us even if we did know it! We can’t ask God to show us what to do when we don’t know what to do, if we aren’t doing what He’s already told us to do to begin with! That’s is HOW we demonstrate our FAITH!
One pastor said this: “It's not the things I don't understand about the Bible that bother me; it's the things I understand with perfect clarity and don't comply with that keep me up at night.
When you don’t know WHAT to do, do what YOU know God wants you to do, otherwise you probably wouldn’t do what He does want you to do when you don’t know what to do.
Many times, I afraid, it’s not always the fact that we don’t know what to do, it’s that we wouldn’t do what revealed to us even if we did know it! We can’t ask God to show us what to do when we don’t know what to do, if we aren’t doing what He’s already told us to do to begin with! That’s is HOW we demonstrate our FAITH!
So what do you do when you don’t know what to do? If I could summarize everything I’ve said today in one sentence it would be this:
In humble dependence, wholeheartedly and intently pursue the God of the Bible, while OBEYING HIS REVEALED WILL, and praising Him for the guidance and direction of the past and that is to come!
I can tell YOU for sure there are a couple of things GOD does want YOU to do:
He wants you to surrender to Him as YOUR personal Lord and Savior.
If you know Him as YOUR personal Lord & Savior He wants YOU to follow Him in believer’s baptism, be a part of a body of believers, learn as much as YOU can about WHO He is and His Word (your toolbox) and learn to love Him and others more and more everyday!
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