I love reading some of the Old Testament Bible Stories. My imagination gets lost and I really do think they are more exciting and adventurous than many fiction stories of today. Lately, my interest has been in the book of 2nd Chronicles. This book of the Bible is a history that covers events from the beginning of King Solomon to the beginning of the Babylonian captivity. Famous personalities in this book are King Solomon, Queen of Sheba, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah and Josiah. I am, however, always looking for the small, insignificant characters that often give us so much insight. One of these characters is a man named Jahaziel (“Seen of God”). I have overlooked his name many times, but noticed it when I was digging for information to write my post “Singing in a Strange Land” (12 Oct 2015). Let me bring it up now.
I have four points to make:
- What is the context?
- Who is he and where does he come from?
- What did he say or do? Will the people accept his words?
- What happened when they did accept?
Here is the context. This story takes place around BC 873-849. Three neighbouring kings of Israel put their heads and means together to conquer Israel. Israel was facing a national catastrophe, an impending defeat, plunder, many being carried away as slaves etc. King Jehoshaphat and the subjects were at their wits end. In praise to them they did one thing right, organized a fast and prayer.
Who is Jahaziel ? We do not know much about him, other than this one time reference in 2 Chronicles 20. He was neither a king nor a prophet, a great speaker, singer nor miracle worker. He came from nowhere; rather God brought him out this ordinary man for an extraordinary work! Really?
We do know his family. His grandfather Benaiah killed a lion and also an Egyptian giant just like David. David appointed him as his commander after Joab’s death. The family line goes even farther back to one Asaph, who wrote Psalms 50, and 73 to 83.
What did Jahaziel say or do? He was evidently gifted to keep his ears to the ground and his eyes up. He did two important things, among others. He listened to God and he told the king and the people a message from God; nothing more nothing less. When you come to think of it, this is the simple secret of all miracles. Now you have it.
This is what he said at the fast/prayer meeting outlined in 2 Chronicles 20:14-17:
14 Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly.
15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’”
Sounds like an old Revival meeting, doesn’t it?
Put yourself in the shoes of King Jehoshaphat and others who were gathered. I suppose they must have wondered “who is this guy? Can we trust him? Has he any experience or credibility? Is he a military strategist like Joshua at the Jericho wall?” The point is clear – when God speaks, people overcome their fears and their differences.
The real miracle started long before the war and consequent victory. It was when they prayed and when they listened! God always mercifully intervenes in our daily lives, our family, community and even our country. What he said came to pass. God, without the use of any weapon, confounded the mighty joint army. The three kings and their army fought each other and disintegrated themselves. What a joyful victory! The Bible recorded the grand finale: “All the men returned to Jerusalem with king Jehoshaphat leading them…singing accompanied with harps, lyres, and trumpets” (2 Chronicles 20:27).
Did it strike you as it did to me, that in spite of this historic magnanimous event, there was only one reference to Jahaziel in the holy book? Is he not like “a certain man by name Ananias” who also heard, came, and prayed for Saul of Tarsus, the former persecutor? We know a lot about St. Paul, but little about Ananias! God’s ways are mysterious, but He is the same!
God has many Jahaziels, Benaiahs, Asaphs or Ananias’. They are everywhere. “The earth is crammed with them”. You will meet them if only you look for them.
Don’t forget the name Jahaziel. We are also “seen of God”.
PS: You may wish to read my post on this theme “The Second Fiddlers” from the Archive