Jehoshaphat

Steve Arterburn

Although men tend to feel as if they can save themselves, there are times when it’s very clear that we cannot.  These times often come when you’re facing overwhelming pressures with your wife or kids, your job, or your finances.  So what is a man to do?  

Let’s consider a man who went before you and I: King Jehoshaphat.  Jehoshaphat was once under attack by three armies.  Do you ever feel like you’re being attacked from all sides?  You may be tempted to give in and surrender or to muster every human resource you can find.  Neither of these reactions, however, is pleasing to God.  Instead, God desires to use these situations to remind you that you are sustained not by your own cleverness but by his power.  You are delivered not by your ability but by his mercy.  

King Jehoshaphat understood this truth.  His reaction to the threatening armies was to call everyone in Judah to fast.  Instead of merely calling his people to military exercises and preparation, King Jehoshaphat called them to spiritual exercises.  Instead of fattening their bodies, he called them to nourish their souls.  Instead of looking to their own defenses, he called them to trust in God’s protection.

Because we must have food to live, physical hunger is one of the most powerful drives of life.  When you fast, however, you begin to realize that all the food in the world can never satisfy the hunger of your soul.  Only God himself can satisfy this longing.

David

Steve Arterburn

We know more about the spiritual life of David than probably any other person in the Bible.  The extensive record of his life and the Psalms he wrote show us that he studied and meditated upon God’s word, he fasted, and that his entire life was yielded to God’s service.  

Two things he did stand out to me:  he worshiped and he prayed.  These spiritual exercises renewed David’s spirit over and over again.

For example, David’s first role in the king’s court was as a musician.  His ministry of worship touched Saul’s heart, as it has untold millions of others since David lived.  His worship is so powerful because it’s a natural, unforced mixture of David’s heart (when he was up and when he was down) with an unwavering faith in a gracious, almighty God.  

His prayers often begin with an honest confession of anger, despair, or frustration.  He didn’t hide his feelings from God and he didn’t pretend that he was ‘super-spiritual.’  Spiritual renewal flows from the freedom to be totally honest with God.  Psalm 145 is a good example of what I’m talking about.  Read Psalm 145 and you will see David’s progression from anxiety and distress to faith filled assurance and confidence.

When you consider the worship and prayer in David’s life, you soon recognize that being someone after God’s own heart doesn’t mean you never fall’it means when you fall, you look to God to restore your spirit, and you fall to your knees in worship and prayer.