Have you ever tried to do everything right, but in your life things are going wrong?
There’s an app for that. Friend, the Bible has an application for everything we face. We just have to be willing to humble ourselves and pray, seek God’s face, and read His Word. He will show us the way to go.
Enter on the stage, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah.
“The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because in his early years he walked in the ways his father David had followed. He did not consult the Baals but sought the God of his father and followed his commands rather than the practices of Israel” (2 Chronicles 17:3-4, NIV).
I’m not saying he was perfect (He made some questionable alliances!), but he was trying to do right and serve God. Verse six tells us that “his heart was devoted to the ways of the Lord.”
Fast forward to Chapter 20:1. “After this the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat.” The Word tells us that “a vast army” was coming against Jehoshaphat (verse 2). How typical is that! When we are trying to serve God, many times the enemy will come against us, guns ablazing.
Let’s look at Jehoshaphat’s response.
“Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah” (verse 3). See, Jehoshaphat didn’t get mad at God and blame Him for all his troubles. Instead, he knew that his only hope for deliverance lay with the Lord, so he turned to God and sought His help. That should be our first response in times of trouble.
I want to share over the next few days five keys that I believe are biblical ways to respond when we are faced with opposition in our spiritual lives. If we are facing trouble which is the result of our own sin or bad choices, then the correct response would be repentance! But if we are seeking God with all our hearts and serving Him to the best of our ability and trouble comes (and it will!), then I believe these are the best ways to respond and receive a breakthrough.
Key #1 – Fasting
First, let me say that I am not a biblical scholar, nor am I about to give a theological treatise on fasting. All I can say is that Jehoshaphat proclaimed a fast (verse 3). To me, that means they didn’t eat. I know there are all kinds of books written about all different kinds of fasts, but all I know is that they fasted. Period.
Fasting in the Old Testament was used on different occasions: as a sign of grief and as a sign of complete dependence upon God (See Judges 20:26, 1 Samuel 7:6, 2 Samuel 12:16, Ezra 8:21-23, Nehemiah 9:1-3). Esther proclaimed a fast for three days before she went to the king to plead on behalf of the entire Jewish nation, which faced extinction. I would say they needed a breakthrough. As a result of that prayer and fasting, Esther and her people found providential favor and divine guidance. I would say they got a breakthrough!
In Matthew 6:16, Jesus gave instructions on fasting in secret, not to be seen by others; and in Acts 13:2-3, the early church was guided by the Holy Spirit after a time of fasting. There are no instructions on what to fast or how long to fast in the New Testament, so I am not prescribing how to fast.
But I just want to make one point: fasting is a way to show that we are coming humbly before our God, completely dependent upon Him for help. If we are not willing to take this first step, then we will probably continue to struggle with our situation. If we truly desire to see breakthrough, we will be willing to deny ourselves and seek the Lord.
How you fast is between you and God. But I believe that if you will take this first step, showing God that you trust Him, need Him, depend on Him, that you are completely desperate for Him and see no way out of your situation without His divine intervention, He will honor that.
“The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him” (2 Chronicles 20:4, NIV).
If you find yourself in a tough situation today, seek the Lord. Don’t turn away from Him when you need Him the most. Whether you are reaping the consequences of your own choices or suffering through no fault of your own, know that God is merciful. Turn to Him in repentance, humility, and surrender. He is the Way. He is the only Way.