JEHOSHAPHAT TRUSTS GOD
Scripture: 2 Chronicles 17:1-6, 20:1-30
Memory verse: 2 Chronicles 2:15
"Now let my lord send his servants the wheat and barley and the olive oil and wine he promised."
Begin this week’s lesson with a discussion on power that is visible. This includes man’s power (lifting weights), an animal’s power (an elephant tearing down a tree), or a machine’s power (a bulldozer moving huge piles of dirt).
Then discuss power that is not visible. This includes the wind’s power (a strong wind can uproot a tree or take a roof off a house) and electricity’s power, (electricity lights up a whole city at night or can cause large machinery to work).
Tell the class God’s power is above all others – seen or unseen. Nothing can compare to it. Just because some power is not visible, such as the wind and electricity, it doesn’t mean the power doesn’t exist or isn’t as powerful as the kind that is seen. Today the students will see what great things God’s power did for one of Judah’s kings.
Hearing God’s Word
Jehoshaphat (Gee-HOSH-a-fat) was the king of the small country of Judah, the Southern Kingdom. When Jehoshaphat became king of Judah, the country had some serious problems. One problem was that many of the people worshiped idols instead of the one true God. Another problem was that Judah’s army was small and weak.
Ask: “If you were the king, what would you do to solve these problems?” (Allow discussion.)
First Jehoshaphat had all the idols destroyed and told his people that they were to worship only the true God. He also worked to make his army stronger. He put soldiers in various places that were likely targets of an enemy army.
Enemy Armies Are Coming
One day a messenger brought King Jehoshaphat some frightening news. “Three countries are sending soldiers to fight our country,” he said. What were the names of these three countries?
Ask the students to find the countries’ names in 2 Chronicles 20:10. Explain that Mount Seir is also commonly known as Edom.
Imagine how King Jehoshaphat felt. Three countries were coming to fight against his small kingdom of Judah! King Jehoshaphat was worried. It was his job to protect his country, but he knew his army was too small to fight against three countries all at the same time.
Jehoshaphat Proclaims A Fast
Jehoshaphat sent messengers to all the parts of Judah. What was the message he gave? (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 20:3, 4.) The king asked all his people to fast and pray.
Ask: What does it mean to fast?” (Allow responses.)
Jehoshaphat wanted the people to stop eating for a while and devote their time to asking God for help.
Jehoshaphat did not ask the people to do something he wasn’t willing to do himself. He also fasted and he went to the temple to pray. What did the king pray about?
Ask the students to scan 2 Chronicles 20:5-12 and mention the things listed. Write these topics on the chalkboard.
First, Jehoshaphat pointed out how powerful God is. He said God rules the whole world and had given the Israelites the Promised Land. God had been faithful to take care of His people when they were in trouble. Then Jehoshaphat told God of the enemies who were going to attack Judah. He told God that Israel was totally depending on Him for help. They could do nothing themselves. Jehoshaphat did the wise thing. He told Judah’s need to God.
God Speaks To The People
All the people of Judah stood with Jehoshaphat and prayed to God. Suddenly God’s Spirit came upon a man standing in the crowd. He called out loudly so everybody could hear. “Listen, everyone, God has a message for you.”
What was God’s message? God’s message to the people is our memory verse this week: “Do not be afraid or discouraged…For the battle is not yours, but God’s” (2 Chronicles 20”15). God told His people that He would fight their battle for them. The soldiers of Judah would only have to watch and God would give them the victory. (Say the memory verse as a class.)
God’s message made the people very happy. They knelt down and began to praise God for hearing them. They knew God would answer their cry for help.
Early the next morning the army prepared to meet the enemy. Although they were quite outnumbered, the army of Judah didn’t have to be frightened. God was with them and had promised to fight the battle for them and give the army of Judah the victory. He cannot be stopped by soldiers or weapons.
Before the army started to march, King Jehoshaphat spoke to them. “Believe in God and He will help us,” he said. “Trust Him and He will help us succeed over the enemy.”
Praising Brings Victory
Then Jehoshaphat did something very strange for a king who was going into battle. What was it? (Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 20: 21.) He chose a group of people to stand in front of the soldiers and sing praises to God as they marched. Instead of allowing the strongest soldiers to lead into battle, Jehoshaphat put the musicians at the front of the army. When the army began to march, this group of singers and musicians began to sing praises to God.
When the people began to sing and praise God, God caused ambushes upon the three enemy armies. He caused the armies of Ammon and Moab to begin fighting the army of Mount Seir. When Mount Seir was defeated, Ammon and Moab began fighting each other. By the time the army of Judah arrived at the scene, the soldiers of all three armies were dead.
The army of Judah was probably shocked when they arrived and found their enemies already dead. Yet how relieved they must have been! God had won the victory for them.
The dead soldiers had left a lot of things the people of Judah could use. They found money and jewels in abundance. The soldiers of Judah went down into the battlefield and began to gather up all these things. It took three days to take all the goods away from the battlefield.
The People Give Thanks
On the fourth day, when the soldiers had finished collecting all the goods from the battlefield, the people gathered in the Valley of Beracah (Ber-ah-ka) and praised God and thanked Him for giving them the victory. The word beracah means “blessing.” The valley was named blessing because the people stopped there to praise God for their victory.
King Jehoshaphat led his army back to Jerusalem. They gathered instruments and went to the temple to thank God for giving them victory. What were some of the instruments the people used to praise God? Refer the students to 2 Chronicles 20:28.
They played lutes, harps, and trumpets. The Bible says no other country tried to attack Jehoshaphat’s kingdom as long as he was king.
Ask: “Why do you think that was?” (Allow responses.) Ask a student to read 2 Chronicles 20:29, 30.
The people of Judah had courage to go to a battle against three armies because they knew God was with them. We may not fight real armies, but sometimes we may face things that require us to trust God.
Ask: “Can you think of things that can only be accomplished by trusting God for His help?” (List ideas on the chalkboard. These might include telling the truth, refusing to cheat, refusing to follow the crowd.)
It’s comforting to know that God will give us victory as we trust in Him. When we are faithful to praise Him and trust His promises, He will help us “rise above” any problem or temptation that comes our way.
Accepting God’s Word
Remind the students that God gave King Jehoshaphat and Judah victory because they had been obedient to Him and trusted Him. God is willing to help us when we ask Him if we have given our lives to Jesus and accepted Him as our Saviour. He wants to be with us during hard times because He loves us very much.
Explain God’s plan of salvation. Pray individually with each student who wants to receive it.
Mandinka Marriage Customs
Following a lunch of meat pie and a Coke at a local restaurant, our guide led our research team to a predominantly Mandinka community. We noted that the houses were much smaller than in other parts of the town, with few streets and a lot of alleys. The houses did not ring a common courtyard; instead, each house stood alone and had its own backyard.
We were led to the assistant chief, who invited us into his home. Two of his four sons joined us, including one who had just arrived from New York, where he resides. The 60-year-old chief proudly shared that he also had four daughters.
The conversation turned toward Mandinka marriage customs. We learned that when a young man wants to marry a girl, he sends cola nuts to her parents, who should respond within 10 days. If the response is positive, gifts are exchanged, and the groom sets up a house for his bride in the groom's village. When the house is ready, the wedding is held in the new couple’s home, with family and village leaders in attendance. It is a sign of weakness for a groom to move to the bride’s village. Mandinka culture is obviously male-dominated and adheres to Islamic family traditions.
Pray for Mandinka Tribe
Pray for Mandinka Grandmothers
1. Influence grandchildren to accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.
2. Listen and discuss the questions arising in the minds of their children and grand children.
3. Honor God by living a life according to biblical principles, to set a good example.
"Join together in following my example..." (Philippians 3:17).
Study 12 | Jes
Study 12 | God's Character/O.T. Kings | africaatts.org/go-teach