20/20 VISION: What are Your Eyes Fixed Upon? 2 Chronicles 20:1-30
Have you ever had a problem finding something? Maybe it’s your wallet or your keys. Perhaps you can’t remember where you last put them or even worse where someone moved them to … what I find even more frustrating is not being able to see it when it is right in front of my face!
I think if we are completely honest, we’re always looking for something and finding that “SOMETHING” always seems to be a battle. It may not be as tangible as our keys or wallet … maybe you’re looking for success or acceptance … perhaps its love or friendship … you against the job or you against the sickness or you against (fill in the blank). No matter what you may call it, I think it all comes down to one thing: We’re all looking for victory. We all want to win! Win over the family situation or win over the habit or win over the anger or bitterness.
Regardless of our “SOMETHING”, we all want victory. And every time we look at scripture and the problems that people faced, the key to their victory was prayer and calling on the Name of the Lord. Today we’re going to look at the life of a man who found victory in the face of huge opposition … and the key to this victory was keeping his eyes fixed on the Lord and calling on the only one who is able to save. Let’s read 2 Chronicles 20: 1-3 and 30 … Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah found victory through prayer!
So before I totally give the message away, I want us to consider the context of the story. Jehoshaphat was terrified for the sake of his country. We don’t know much about the opposition armies but we do know that the army was already on the move and heading towards them. Now I don’t want to be an alarmist but let’s look at a reality here today, several of us are going through struggles in families, jobs and our health … we’re even going through struggles here in the Church. The key to our victory is PRAYER! We need prayer. I believe the scripture we are going to look at today is going to give us 4 Secrets to finding Victory.
There is a story about a man who was walking through the forest when he came upon huge grizzly bear. He was terrified and thought to himself what am I going to do? He remembered that years ago in Sunday School class, Jack Cooke told him that whenever he was in trouble, he should pray. He hadn’t prayed in years but he was desperate so he fell to the ground and called out to the Lord … “O Lord, please make this a Christian bear!” He opened his eyes to see the bear on his knees also praying, “For what I am about to receive, make me truly thankful!
I believe we … like the man … have a lot to learn about prayer. So before we go any further, let’s pray and ask God to teach us how to have 20/20 VISION … how to find VICTORY. << PRAY >>
Secret # 1: When the battle is at hand, pray!
Look at verse 3. Jehoshaphat was scared … alarmed maybe even petrified. The first thing he did was resolve himself to seek (inquire of) the Lord. He ordered the people of Judah to fast.
- The people of Judah were in trouble. A huge army was up against them … probably several hundred thousand men strong. Immediately they went to God in prayer. It was not that they didn’t have a big army themselves … chapter 17:1-18 tells us that Judah’s army was also huge … over 1million strong! But they knew that victory did not come in the strength of their army, VICTORY COMES FROM THE LORD!
- Immediately, they turned to the Lord in prayer
- Prayer was not just an option … PRAYER WAS THEIR PRIORITY!
- If we are going to find victory in our families, victory with our children, victory with our finances, victory with our community and victory with our Church and victory for Christ in this world, PRAYER NEEDS TO BECOME OUR PRIORITY here at BAC
- Prayer is NOT a last ditch effort and it is not something to do if you get around to it. We must make the time to pray … not find the time.
- There is a story of a church that was going through some difficult times. The pastor called all of the elders together and asked them to call a church-wide week of prayer. Shocked, one of the elders replied, O NO, HAS IT GOTTEN THAT BAD?
- Sadly, many of us are in that same situation. Prayer is a last-chance effort. If all else fails, then we should pray. O, if we only knew that prayer is the lifeblood of every believer and the lifeblood of the Church. Without prayer, we die!
- When prayer becomes the priority in a family, they will make time for it … they will PRACTICE it … regularly. Prayer is your key to victory. The people of Judah turned immediately to prayer and fasting. When a person or a church seeks hard after God, God promises blessing. Look at 2 Chronicles 7:14-15. When you and I wake up to the realization that we are at war, we will get serious about prayer!
Secret # 2: Be honest with God!
Verse 12 says, “We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us.” Jehoshaphat came before God and admitted his weakness … he admitted his inadequacies. Do we? Not really. God will not help the arrogant or the self made man. Listen … this flies in the face of what we have been told. “You can do it. Try harder. If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try again”.
Victory over our STUFF is not about trying harder, the Bible says that God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble. God is close to those who are weak and in need. How can God help you when you constantly tell Him, “No thanks, I’m OK.”
A father, walking past his 5 year old daughter’s room one night, proudly noticed she was on her knees in prayer. Listening in, he heard this curious prayer- "abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz"- repeated several times. When she was finished, he asked her what it meant: "God is really smart," she said, "when I don’t know what to pray about, I just say the alphabet and He figures it out for me"
Life is too big for us. I don’t like to admit this … do you? God steps in when we humbly admit our weakness to Him. Don’t you think its time to be honest with God?
Secret # 3: When the enemy looks big, keep your eyes on Jesus!
If we had a realistic view of who we are and what our condition is, I believe we would pray in an entirely different way. In fact, if we had a correct view of God we would pray differently.
We are warned by the Apostle James to come to God humbly. James 4:6-7 says …
Do you want to see God? I mean really, would you look to see Him? Jesus said, “If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father.”
When we keep our eyes focused on our problem, our problem seems to grow. When we keep looking at the problems with our job … the problems with our children or our parents … even the problems of our sins and the problems with our Church, we can quickly become discouraged. The truth is these problems are huge. But let’s get some perspective here. If I look at my situation … focus on my big problem, I can’t see Jesus. My problem gets in the way. If I look to Jesus, the one who …
The exact representation of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him and through Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities … all things were created by Him and for Him. And in Him, all things hold together.
Satan is your enemy. He wants you to focus on your problem. But Jesus is your victory! Is your life falling apart … keep your eyes focused on Jesus. Jehoshaphat’s only hope was keeping his eyes on the Lord. Where is your focus? Victory requires that we are God focused … 20/20 VISION on the Lord!
Secret # 4: Trust God to deliver in His own unique way!
Look at verse 17 … Now, I don’t know about you, but when someone tells me I don’t need to be afraid, that is usually the perfect time to be afraid. I’m kind of like Woody in the movie Toy Story. (Don’t panic, this is the perfect time to panic!)
It has been said, “If you trust in administration; you will get what administration can do. If you trust in hard work; you will get what hard work can do. If you trust in your sparkling personality; you will get what personality can do. If you trust in prayer; you get what God can do.” I don’t want my clever solutions to my problems; I want God to answer in His unique way.
Notice how King Jehoshaphat prayed in verse 7. He noticed God’s deeds in the past. He reminded himself of God’s good character … that he is the deliverer. And He gave God the freedom to judge (which means He gave the outcome over to God).
Jehoshaphat poured his heart out to God. He prayed. And he was honest with God … no puffed up pretence. He kept his eyes focused clearly on the Lord and he trust God to deliver in his own unique way.
Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah put their trust in God. In fact, they began praising God even before the received the victory over their enemy. Now that’s trust!
And that’s what we are here to do today … to focus on the VICTORY that Jesus has already bought for us by His shed blood on the cross. As we come to the table … take time to pray, be honest with God. Keep your eyes on Jesus not your problems and trust God to deliver in His own unique way. <<TURN TO 1 Corinthians 11.>>