Questions and Musings: Jehoshaphat’s Campaign
As I read Terese’s wonderful insights (see Going Deeper Day 3: Worship devotional reading) about Jehoshaphat and the victory God provided for His people, my military mind kicked in with some questions and musings. First, Obedience. Having served, I understand with crystal clarity the need for immediate obedience to superior officers and those in charge. “Theirs not to reason why, Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred,” as Tennyson wrote. When I was given a lawful order, I complied. Jehoshaphat was given a lawful order by the Law Himself, God. Being his prophet, it was expected that he should obey and yes, God’s people as well. However, many, many times we see God’s people disobey and come short of what He wants us to do.
When a battalion, a group of 1000 men is standing before a Colonel at parade rest, he will call them to attention. This command is cascaded all the way down with each leader repeating the command, Captain of each company of 100 men, the lieutenant or SFC of each platoon 25 men, the SGT of each squad of 5 to 6 men, calling attention to the men to attention and take heed to the forefront. Each soldier snaps to and pops tall, head and eyes to the forefront with practiced precision sometimes armed with rifles and guidons, a company’s flag, one wondrous sound. The colonel will then give the order to go to parade rest, a more relaxed state of attention. He then gave instructions to what is expected of his troops. The consequences of disobedience are implied by the bird emblem on his shoulder. These orders are repeated ad nauseum later by the captain and all those under his command, so there is no mistake. There is no game of telephone in the army. The orders you hear by the colonel are not reinterpreted, and yet…
The Word says that ALL the people fell down and worshipped. ALL the people obeyed and some even asked what MORE they could do for God. The statement, “Direct orders” has been disobeyed more times than I can count sometimes even by myself. These people jumped at the chance to serve God, not to spare just their own lives, but because that was what PLEASED the Lord. They were asked to go and stand to on the “battlements” fully armed and ready, not as a backup if the Lord failed, but because that’s what they were told to do by their superiors and by God. Then, to beat it all, they were supposed to and did, send out at a praise and worship band to proclaim a victory of a battle that they had yet to win!
In contrast to all of this, the enemy army, who militarily, was probably more fit, more trained, certainly more aggressive, received orders from their superiors to go in and rout out these weakling bunch of sheep and goatherders and take their spoils. However, God confounded their chain of command to the point of gibberish, causing confusion all up and down the ranks. History points to many times where troops got confused and killed themselves as the result of friendly fire, The war of the roses, our revolution, Napoleon, even Stonewall Jackson was killed by his own men, but these were isolated to usually one such incident because someone yelled, “Stop firing, you idiots! That’s Mike, from third platoon!”
Terese pointed out a very precise detail today, (from 2 Chronicles 20:22) “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” Note the word ambushes not ambushed, plural, ambushes. This enemy fell under their own sword, over, and over, and over. Why? Because they were under the orders of men, not the Lord our God. God’s people were already celebrating a victory. They listened to their commander.