Fair warning: you’ll want to read to the end of this post for the punchline.
I’ve always loved the stories of the kings in the bible.
It’s like going to the movies. There are a lot of villains. Really bad kings who do bad things and create disorder. And there are lots of them. It can all be a bit discouraging particularly if you are thinking as a parent.
But every now and then, there are some good kings. And they bring light and hope to the nation. There are two that I want to highlight: King Asa and King Jehoshaphat. They shared something remarkable in common.
Both kings were confronted by neighboring kings who sought their destruction. For Asa, it was Zerah the Cushite. In the face of attack, Asa appealed to God: “O Lord, there is none like you to help, between the mighty and the weak. Help us, O Lord our God, for we rely on you, and in your name we have come against this multitude. O Lord, you are our God; let not man prevail against you.” I Chronicles 14.11
Similarly, Jehoshaphat is confronted by the armies of Moab and Ammon. In the face of the battle, Jehoshaphat offers an impassioned prayer: “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you. . . . For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” II Chronicles 20.6-12
It’s easy to miss but when Asa and Jehoshaphat are confronted with threat of destruction and death, their prayers are remarkably devoid of the “save us for we are good” rhetoric. No, both Asa and Jehoshaphat offer God-centered prayers: “O Lord, there is none like you!” They realize a larger battle is at stake: “Let not man prevail against you.” The similarity of their prayers is striking.
But here’s the punchline: Asa was the father of Jehoshaphat. In fact, in all the kings of Judah, he’s one of the few father/son success stories. I suspect it was Asa who taught Jehoshaphat this God-centered prayer.
My challenge to you is even when faced with fear and uncertainty as a parent, teach your children to center upon Christ first. We tend to want to control circumstances, but if we teach our children to press into biblical truth, they have all they need to face the hardships of this world.