In times of uncertainty and confusion, the story of King Jehoshaphat in the Bible offers a compelling narrative of seeking divine guidance when faced with overwhelming challenges. His story teaches us that when we don’t know what to do, turning our hearts towards seeking the Lord can lead us towards clarity and purpose amidst life’s toughest decisions. Learn more in Seek the Lord when you don’t know what to do

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Notes from Seek the Lord when you don’t know what to do

Seek the Lord when you don’t know what to do

When you don’t know what to do, trust God enough to seek Him.

Have you ever had a time or a season in your life when you found it was easier to blame God for the problems you face than it was to trust Him for His answers?  

Our first father did that when he used the excuse “It was the woman you gave me who gave me the fruit, and I ate it.”

So you might say, we come by it naturally. 

We might think we’re too spiritual to blame God for our problems. After all, “He’s the potter, I’m the clay. I can’t tell the potter how he can form me.”

BUT 

Do you seek Him always or do you withdraw from his presence? 

Do you have that sweet time of prayer, or do you leave with less peace than you came with? 

Do you have a vibrant relationship with the maker of the universe, or do you go through the motions and hope nobody notices?

I’ve found 5 main reasons why we may not seek the Lord or always seek the Lord. 

  I’ve 

I asked ChatGPT “As a gifted wordsmith to come up with a 5 letter word to describe why we don’t seek the Lord always using the 5 words I’ve come up with, with permission to change the words so they work in an acrostic.” The word it came up with  is BLAME. 

And thus was born – in minutes not months – the tool:

What’s to BLAME when I don’t seek the Lord tool

B – Blindness – Ignorance 

L – Loftiness – Arrogance 

A – Assumption – Misplaced Trust

M – Mateyness  – Familiarity

E – Error  – Offence

B – Blindness – Ignorance 

God looks down from heaven on the entire human race; he looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away; all have become corrupt. No one does good, not a single one!

Psalm 53:2-3

 What is seeking? How do I do it with my whole heart?

We talked about this last week. To seek God with all of your heart it involves your decision, with your emotion and with your actions.  If you were here or you watched it later online, you are no longer ignorant of what it means to seek the Lord with your whole heart. 

I quickly mentioned the 12 benefits of seeking the Lord and the 14 ways I see in scripture to seek the Lord (I didn’t have these in the notes)

14 ways to seek the Lord

  1. By praying to Him. Jeremiah 29:12-14a
  2. By praising and worshipping Him. Psalm 22:22
  3. By serving Him. 1 Chronicles 28:9
  4. By doing good. Psalm 34:12-16 ,Psalm 24:4-6
  5. By not doing bad. Isaiah 55:6-7
  6. By confessing and repenting when you don’t do good or if you do do bad. Isaiah 55:6-7
  7. By living humbly. Zephaniah 2:3
  8. By expecting you’ll find Him and He’ll reward you. Hebrews 11:6 Psalm 9:10 Lamentations 3:25
  9. By fasting. Daniel 9:3 
  10. By obeying His Word. Psalm 119:10-11
  11. By obeying His voice. Isaiah 45:19
  12. With an event. 2 Chronicles 7:14
  13. With your whole heart. Jeremiah 29:13
  14. With your whole life. Psalm 37:3-5 Psalm 105:4

What’s the antidote to blindness and ignorance?

 Knowledge. I’ve just given you information

Information is only as good as the transformation it helps facilitate. 

It’s what you do with the information that will lead to knowledge and wisdom. It’s up to you to act on the information you have and seek Him and live. 

…wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:4 NIV

Do I know how and why to seek the Lord?

If you do,  great. But if you know how and why but you’re honestly not… and it’s not  because Blindness – Ignorance, it might be because of Loftiness or Arrogance. 

L – Loftiness – Arrogance 

The wicked are too proud to seek God. They seem to think that God is dead.

Psalm 10:4

“The Lord says, “I was ready to respond, but no one asked for help. I was ready to be found, but no one was looking for me. I said, ‘Here I am, here I am!’ to a nation that did not call on my name. All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people. But they follow their own evil paths and their own crooked schemes.”

Isaiah 65:1-2 NLT

What’s the antidote to arrogance? 

Humility 

Seek the Lord, all who are humble, 

and follow his commands. 

Seek to do what is right and to live humbly.

Zephaniah 2:3 

Humility comes  through confession and repentance. It starts with agreeing with God that not seeking Him is sin, then choosing to seek with all of your heart continually. 

Am I too proud to seek the Lord?

If you are, confess and repent. But maybe it’s not Blindness – Ignorance or Loftiness – Arrogance. It could be Assumption or misplaced trust that keeps you from seeking God always. 

A – Assumption – Misplaced Trust

Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help 

And rely on horses,

And trust in chariots because they are many

And in horsemen because they are very strong,

But they do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek the Lord!

Isaiah 31:1

 In the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa developed a serious foot disease. Yet even with the severity of his disease, he did not seek the Lord’s help but turned only to his physicians.

 2 Chronicles 16:12

What’s the antidote to Assumption – Misplaced trust? 

Testimony.

Testimony that reminds yourself that God is the trustable one. 

Those who know your name trust in you,

    for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

Psalm 9:10 (NIV)

If you feel you’d rather trust what God has entrusted to you than God Himself. Then the tools of Confession and repentance will help you. He is a jealous God and will have no other God before Him. It doesn’t make sense to trust in the creation and not really trust in the Creator.

Am I trusting in anything or anyone more than I am trusting in God?

The good news is when we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 

If Blindness, Loftiness, or Assumption aren’t the reason your not seeking the Lord, it could be Mateyness or familiarity. 

M – Mateyness  – Familiarity

Jesus left that part of the country and returned with his disciples to Nazareth, his hometown. The next Sabbath he began teaching in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. They asked, “Where did he get all this wisdom and the power to perform such miracles?”  Then they scoffed, “He’s just a carpenter, the son of Mary and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas, and Simon. And his sisters live right here among us.” They were deeply offended and refused to believe in him. Then Jesus told them, “A prophet is honored everywhere except in his own hometown and among his relatives and his own family.”  And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them.  And he was amazed at their unbelief.

Mark 6:1-6

Familiarity can lead to contempt will lead to unbelief and that will stop the miraculous. 

What is the antidote to familiarity? 

Curiosity. 

It is God’s privilege to conceal things

    and the king’s privilege to discover them.

Proverbs 25:2

How do you stay curious? 

Remember the 

4 L’s of curiosity

Let go of your need to be right. 

Learn to be present in the moment.

Listen to understand not to respond.

Leverage questions to understand better. 

Use the 4 L’s of Curiosity to deepen your awe of God. Find some of the answers for your questions in the Bible, but learn to trust Him when questions have no answers. 

Trusting Him when questions have no answers is faith. 

And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

Hebrews 11:6

Am I too satisfied with my knowledge of God?

Don’t lose your awe of God. If you have, the tools we have are confession and repentance. Confess to God that you that you’ve become too familiar and maybe that’s why you haven’t seen too many miracles lately. Then get curious about Him again. 

E – Error  – Offence

When John heard in prison what the Messiah was doing, he sent a message by his disciples and asked Him, “Are You the One who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied to them, “Go and report to John what you hear and see:  the blind see, the lame walk, those with skin diseases are healed,  the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor are told the good news.  And if anyone is not offended because of Me, he is blessed.”

Matthew 11:2-6 HCSB

John was Jesus’ cousin. He had declared Jesus the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. But he was in prison and the Messiah was supposed to proclaim freedom for the prisoners. So he asked his cousin if He was the one of if they should wait for another. 

It’s an honest question. One that shows his doubt.  

I will go away and return to My place 

Until they acknowledge their guilt and seek My face;

In their affliction they will earnestly seek Me.

Hosea 5:15

The antidote to offence at God is confession and repentance. 

You will never confess and never repent if you’re too spiritual to think that you can ever be offended at God. 

Your emotions show you what you really believe. If you know you’re not always seeking God with your whole heart – and none of what I’ve said makes any sense in your situation – offence is the place to go. 

And I will destroy those who used to worship me but now no longer do. They no longer ask for the Lord’s guidance or seek my blessings.”

Zephaniah 1:6

Am I living offended at God?

Don’t let offence lead to unbelief. 

Does this really matter?

Yes. 

Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near. 

Isaiah 55:6

Because most of us don’t always seek the Lord always. And when you realize you aren’t you should know what to do. Because if there’s a time where we naturally seek the Lord it’s when we don’t know what to do. 

However, when we don’t know what to do can also be a time we blame God for our trouble and we let our ignorance, arrogance, assumptions, familiarity or offence get in the way get in the way of seeking Him. 

Today  I want you to know: 

When you don’t know what to do, trust God enough to seek Him.

Can I pray?

That was the pre-message, not the message. If you’re timing the message you can reset the timer to now. 

Jehoshaphat 

Today we’re moving on to the story of Asa son, Jehoshaphat. We’re going to be covering 2 Chronicles 17, 18, 19 and 20. I won’t be reading all of it, but I want you to see what seeking the Lord meant for Jehoshaphat. 

I want to preface this story by saying in contemporary antiquity this story has very unique elements. What I am saying is “People are people.” Not how they’d like to be portrayed, but how they actually are. This is unique. 

You don’t get this insight from almost contemporary Assyrian texts or later Babylonian and certainty earlier Babylonian or Egyptian. Hittite – I haven’t studied. It’s only been translatable since 2009. What I’ve read in translations, these stories are unique. What I’m saying is when you see the personalities in this story, you only get that in this book. It’s ancient and it is amazing. 

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father’s early years and did not worship the images of Baal. He sought his father’s God and obeyed his commands instead of following the evil practices of the kingdom of Israel.  So the Lord established Jehoshaphat’s control over the kingdom of Judah. All the people of Judah brought gifts to Jehoshaphat, so he became very wealthy and highly esteemed.  He was deeply committed to the ways of the Lord. He removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles from Judah.

2 Chronicles 17:3-6

Tell – Ahab alliance, Baal prophets; Jehoshaphat was a bit like his father Asa – he didn’t seek the Lord to have the alliance with Ahab, but he’s not like his father in that he wanted to seek the Lord once he was in the alliance with Ahab. In case you’re wondering. Ahab is the king of Israel married to Jezebel, who had all those encounters with Elijah . 

 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.”  The king of Israel replied to Jehoshaphat, “There is one more man who could consult the Lord for us, but I hate him. He never prophesies anything but trouble for me! His name is Micaiah son of Imlah.” Jehoshaphat replied, “That’s not the way a king should talk! Let’s hear what he has to say.”

2 Chronicles  18:6-7

Tell – Set up for Miciah

 When Micaiah arrived before the king, Ahab asked him, “Micaiah, should we go to war against Ramoth-gilead, or should I hold back?” Micaiah replied sarcastically, “Yes, go up and be victorious, for you will have victory over them!” But the king replied sharply, “How many times must I demand that you speak only the truth to me when you speak for the Lord?”   Then Micaiah told him, “In a vision I saw all Israel scattered on the mountains, like sheep without a shepherd. And the Lord said, ‘Their master has been killed.  Send them home in peace.’” “Didn’t I tell you?” the king of Israel exclaimed to Jehoshaphat. “He never prophesies anything but trouble for me.”

2 Chronicles  18:14-17

Tell  – What Miciah saw in heaven, slapping face, promise, Ahab ruse – fate When Jehoshaphat returned…

Jehu son of Hanani the seer went out to meet him. “Why should you help the wicked and love those who hate the Lord?” he asked the king. “Because of what you have done, the Lord is very angry with you. Even so, there is some good in you, for you have removed the Asherah poles throughout the land, and you have committed yourself to seeking God.”

2 Chronicles 19:2-3

Tell Jehoshaphat appointing Judges

Then he faced a situation that he didn’t know what to do. Jehoshaphat was consistent. Remember his father, Asa – later in his life, decided to use his own wisdom and political clout and he ended up not even seeking the Lord when he had a foot disease, but only the physicians.

I don’t know why Jehoshaphat didn’t seek God about making an alliance with Ahab, but he sought God during it. And in the middle of the battle that killed Ahab, he called out to God and He delivered him. 

Then he got word that three armies were on their way to attack him. Because he had been seeking the Lord, he knew he had to seek the Lord. 

You and I might have taken offence. We might have tried to explain to God that we had appointed good and godly judges, that we had encouraged the people to return to God, that we had removed the pagan shrines and Asherah poles. We might have had to pity party. We might have had a good lament. 

But he had been seeking the Lord, so he knew he had to seek the Lord. 

He called a fast and he called an assembly. And in that assembly he led a prayer that you and I may need to pray at times. 

It talks about the greatness of God. It talks about the promise of God. It doesn’t real problem they are facing.  

Read 

Our God, will you not judge them? For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.”

2 Chronicles  20:12 (NIV)

What if? 

What if you and I knew how to seek the Lord when we don’t know what to do? What if our default was to not blame God for our circumstance but to draw near to him so he could draw near to us? 

Jesus did say to “Seek first Kingdom and his righteousness.” 

We are going to have bad news. In this world we will have trouble. 

What if you wouldn’t fear bad news, even when it comes? 

That’s what happens when we seek Him. 

Jehoshaphat’s response to this impossible situation gives us a tool we can use when we don’t know what to do. 

As all the men of Judah stood before the Lord with their little ones, wives, and children,  the Spirit of the Lord came upon one of the men standing there. His name was Jahaziel son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite who was a descendant of Asaph. 

2 Chronicles 20:13-26

Big assembly. Wonderful prayer prayed. Everyone is standing there  waiting with anticipation. What would be God’s response?

He said, “Listen, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Listen, King Jehoshaphat! This is what the Lord says: Do not be afraid! Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow, march out against them. You will find them coming up through the ascent of Ziz at the end of the valley that opens into the wilderness of Jeruel. But you will not even need to fight. Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory. He is with you, O people of Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Go out against them tomorrow, for the Lord is with you!” 

How many agree that’s a good word?  We used to wait to hear someone prophesy a lot more than we have done more recently. There’s a pregnant pause that can be so terrifying because if the one who God has given a word doesn’t speak, there are others who cannot stand the silence and will blurt out whatever’s on there heart. What if Jehaziel waited with his word and someone spoke out their own saying “run away!” Most people don’t think about those things, but I do.  We know the word was from God because look at the response.

Then King Jehoshaphat bowed low with his face to the ground. And all the people of Judah and Jerusalem did the same, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites from the clans of Kohath and Korah stood to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud shout.  Early the next morning the army of Judah went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. On the way Jehoshaphat stopped and said, “Listen to me, all you people of Judah and Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be able to stand firm. Believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” After consulting the people, the king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: “Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!”  

Except maybe at Jericho, this is the first time the praises went before the army. Think a drummer standing in the line during the US civil war. Now have everyone except the drummer take a few steps back. Enemy at the front. Person making the most noise in between. This is what’s happening real time. 

Yet what happened in the natural is so crucial for us in the spiritual. We’ll get to that in a bit. 

At the very moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to start fighting among themselves.  The armies of Moab and Ammon turned against their allies from Mount Seir and killed every one of them. After they had destroyed the army of Seir, they began attacking each other.  So when the army of Judah arrived at the lookout point in the wilderness, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground as far as they could see. Not a single one of the enemy had escaped. 

They did their part. God did his part. That’s the dance we’re all in. Well that, and he empowers us to accomplish every good work prompted by faith. 

King Jehoshaphat and his men went out to gather the plunder. They found vast amounts of equipment, clothing,  and other valuables—more than they could carry. There was so much plunder that it took them three days just to collect it all!  On the fourth day they gathered in the Valley of Blessing,  which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there. It is still called the Valley of Blessing today.

When you don’t know what to do, trust God enough to seek Him.

How to TRUST God to seek the Lord when you don’t know what to do tool

T – Take time to wait for the Lord  2 Chronicles  20:13

Have I taken the time to wait for the Lord?

R – Remember to listen for your encouragement 2 Chronicles  20:15

Have I waited long enough to get encouragement from Him?

U – Understand you need to obey  2 Chronicles  20:16-17

Will I obey what He tells me to do?

S – Surrender fear – Praise before the victory and show gratitude before the blessing 

2 Chronicles  20:18-21

Do I  praise Him before the answer?

T  – Thank God for what He does! 2 Chronicles  20:25-26

Do I rejoice always, pray continually and give thanks in all circumstances? 

If Yes to all, then you TRUST Him. 

Challenge 

Jehoshaphat’s Epitaph…

Jehoshaphat was a good king, following the ways of his father, Asa. He did what was pleasing in the Lord’s sight.  During his reign, however, he failed to remove all the pagan shrines, and the people never fully committed themselves to follow the God of their ancestors.

2 Chronicles 20:32-33

When the leader seeks the Lord there is some blessing for all of us. But you can’t outsource seeking the Lord, it’s for each of us to do. 

When you don’t know what to do, will you trust God enough to seek Him?

Seek his face always

1 Chronicles 6:11

You can’t remain offended at Him. Confess and repent and ask him for help so you’re not offended again. 

TRUST Him. Seek Him. 

Seek His face always  (Psalms 105:4) 

Seek Him and find Him (Jeremiah 29:13) 

Seek Him and live! (Amos 5:4) 

Can I pray for you? 

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