I don’t know if you’ve ever called 911, but I have. And it was an accident. I know what you’re thinking. How does someone accidentally call 911? Well I managed to do this very thing when I was calling a friend with a 913 area code. It gets worse. I thought the 911 operator on the other end was my friend who was pulling a prank on me. After she said “911 what’s your emergency,” I said, “Oh, that’s a good one!” After another exchange between the operator and me, I finally realized I had made a mistake. Thankfully she and I worked it out and there was no harm done. But, I’ve heard if you accidentally call 911 and hang up the police will show up within minutes. (Just ask my brother :-)).
This experience got me thinking. 911 is a great service, isn’t it? We have men and women who work around the clock providing instant assistance in real emergencies. It was on this day, February 16, 1968 that the very first American 911 call was placed. And truth be told, it wasn’t a real emergency either, it was a test call. But so it began, and thousands of people since this date have benefitted from this emergency response system.
What do we do, however, when we don’t have an actual emergency, but we’re in some sort of crisis? Sometimes we try to fix everything ourselves first. Then typically after that, we begin calling friends and family and asking for help, right?
In the Old Testament there’s a story in which a huge army was about to go to war against King Jehoshaphat. The king got wind of this and instead of completely freaking out, the Bible says he “resolved to inquire of the Lord” (2 Chronicles 20:3). In other words he decided to ask the Lord what to do. You see, unlike us, King Jehoshaphat went straight to God about this crisis. After freaking out, we usually try to fix the crisis ourselves first, then call a bunch of people. And if that doesn’t work, we’ll finally get around to hitting God up for some help. Most of the time, God is our last resort instead of our first response.
Later in the passage King Jehoshaphat was completely honest with God. He said to God, “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). Jehoshaphat didn’t pretend to have the answers. He didn’t pretend that his ability or knowledge to handle this crisis was any stronger than it truly was. But he knew where to go for the answers.
Dr. David Jeremiah once said, “Prayer is our declaration of dependence.” Did you catch that? DEpendence. King Jehoshaphat knew where to place his trust. He didn’t try to fix it himself. He didn’t rally all his friends to fix it for him. He didn’t even send out an ABP Facebook plea for help. His immediate prayer was his declaration of dependence. He knew not to depend on himself, but to depend fully on the Almighty God.
How will you handle your next crisis? How will you handle your next emergency? When 911 isn’t the appropriate call to make, will you call out to God as your first response or use Him as your last resort?
Right before the Lord gave him victory, King Jehoshaphat told his people, “…Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld” (2 Chronicles 20:20).
Inquire of the Lord.
Fix your eyes upon Him.
Depend on Him.
Have faith in Him.
And watch God go to work!