Friday, April 27, 2007

The Power of Intercession

Mesha , king of Moab, regularly paid tribute to the King Ahab of Israel consisting of one hundred thousand lambs and wool of one hundred thousand rams.
When King Ahab died, Mesha took the opportunity to rebel and refused to pay the tribute to the new King, Joharam, son of Ahab.
Joharam was understandably reluctant to let this easy wealth slip through his fingers and he decided to go to battle against Mesha to teach him a lesson.
But he needed allies to ensure his victory.
So he sent a message to Jehoshophet, the king of Judah to ask if he would go with him to battle.
Jehoshophet immediately agreed saying, “I and my people and my horses are yours.”
The king of Edom also agreed to join his army with theirs and so King Joharam was confident that the three kings could easily subdue Mesha, the king of Moab.

They were an unlikely alliance.
King Joharam had learned his father’s evil ways while King Jehoshophet was a righteous king who followed after the ways of King David.

For some reason the three kings took a roundabout route on their way to Moab, and after seven days found they were out of water, for themselves, their men and their animals.
The King of Israel lamented that God had gathered the three kings together to hand them over to the Moabites.
But Jehoshophet was not willing to admit defeat before the battle had even been begun.
He asked, “Is there not a prophet of the Lord here that we may inquire of the Lord through him?”
The king of Israel replied that yes, there was a prophet in the area, Elisha.”
Jehoshophet knew Elisha and said, “Yes, he speaks the word of God.”
So the three kings went down to see Elisha.

When Elisha met with them he looked at the King of Israel and said, “What have I to do with you? Why don’t you inquire of the prophets of your father and mother?”
For Jehoram’s parents had worshipped false gods and had 400 false prophets to tell them what they wanted to hear.
Then Elisha said something very pertinent and interesting.
The word of God came through him saying, “If it were not for the fact that Jehoshephat is with you, I would not look at you, nor see you.”
Because of Jehoshephat, God gave Johoram victory against the Moabites; they did not even have to fight. God did it all.
You can read how the story ends in II Kings 3, but I would like to stop here because I think there is an amazing truth revealed that speaks to us today.

Jehoshephat was righteousness… The king of Israel was evil….. but because Jehoshephat brought him before the Lord, God granted him audience.

What is the applicable principle here?
We all know people who are unsaved, who are in the kingdom of darkness.
We know people who are out of fellowship with God.
We know people who for one reason or another are walking in sin or disobedience to the Lord.
They themselves will not approach the throne of God…if they did God would not hear them because of their unrepentant attitude toward the sin in their life.
I Peter 3:7 illustrates this truth in that it that warns husbands(I'm sure this includes wives too) to be nice to their wives or their prayers will be hindered.
I can never hear this verse without smiling at the memory of my little granddaughter paraphrasing this verse one day….

My daughter was spending the week-end at our house with her two girls, when my oldest granddaughter, Elise, was two -almost three.

Romay reprimanded Elise for something and when my daughter was out of ear shot, Elise confided to me with a frown, “I don’t want to hear my Mommy.”
I gently replied, “But you have to listen to your Mommy.”
Elise, ever the thinker, retorted, “Why?”
I explained, “Because Jesus says that children should listen to their Mommy.”
Elise retorted, “But that’s not fair!” She paused for a moment , then added, “Well, it makes sense!”
Later that same day, Vic was not doing something I had asked him to do and jokingly I told Elise to tell ChaCha (her pet name for him) to listen to Nanna.
Obediently she said, “ChaCha, you have to listen to Nanna.”

He asked with a smile, “Why do I have to listen to Nanna?”
Her answer was quick and to the point. “Because Jesus said you should listen to Nanna.”

We talk about intercessory prayer, but do we realize the power of it?
We can bring people before the throne who God would otherwise not ‘look at or see’.
We can bring them before the Lord, and because He knows us, we can ask on their behalf and God will hear and answer.

My husband was once working with a young man who confidently trusted his own self-reliance, and declared he needed no God. He could take care of himself.
My husband liked this young man and we prayed for him. We asked that God would pull the rug out from under him so that he would recognize his own vulnerability.
Day after day my husband began coming home with strange stories of what was happening to this young man.
One night in the middle of the night, for no reason at all, his guitar folded on itself and broke with a loud startling snap, causing him to sit up in bed his heart pounding with fear.
Another day a crow flew over him and dropped a steak bone on his head.
Yet another day, he had been driving a truckload of supplies into the states and his truck broke down, they would not allow him to cross the border and his day was spent trying to sort out the mishaps.
He admitted to my husband that he did not know what was happening, things like this had never happened to him before.
When he left the company a short time later, Vic gave him a bible which he gratefully accepted. We don’t know if he found the Lord, but we do know that God reached into his life to show him his need – because we brought him before God.

Is the story of Jehoshophet not an encouraging picture of the power of intercessory prayer?
One that spurs us on to bring as many people as we can before God so He can work in their hearts to bring them to Himself?
For God says in II Peter 3:9 that He is “not willing that any should perish.”

God is waiting for us to stand in the gap, bringing those before the throne who need salvation or forgiveness or God’s intervention in their lives…. God will hear us on their behalf and will answer.

James 5:16 “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your blog. I have read it and it is very encouraging. I understaand the power of intercession and my prayer is to pray more.

Lovella ♥ said...

Thank you Julie for this relevant post. We need to be more vigilant in our intercessory prayer. I read a book a while back called that. Intercessory prayer. We can never be reminded of that often enough.
Wonderful true life examples you have too.
I can just imagine the scenes as you tell them.

Demara said...

Julie, That is my fav. verse! And this was such a funny post...a steak bone fell on the guy's head??? haha...God sure knows how to get our attention hey? yikes!
My Prayer:
God please forgive me for my unrighteousness. It's kind of scary that you could do anything to get your child's attention. Please help me to be more righteous and to do what's right always! Amen Thank-you for this life you've given me please to use it wisely...AMEN!