Leaders: What To Do When You Don't Know What To Do

Have you ever been in a situation so beyond your comprehension or capabilities that you felt immobilized? Frozen in fear? Undone by uncertainty? On your knees before God in bewilderment?

Well, you're not alone. In fact, some of Scripture's strongest leaders found themselves in such a position.

King Jehoshaphat became the fourth of King of Judah following Solomon's death. A God-fearing man, King Jehoshaphat sent Levites and teachers of the law throughout his kingdom to teach the people God's Word and rid the land of Asherah poles and Baal worship. He relied on God.

He took the throne at age 35 and reigned for 25 years (2 Chron. 20:31). He was powerful, respected, feared, and a strong leader. You'd think nothing would take him by surprise.

Seventeen years into his reign, we find King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20 facing an overwhelming, vast enemy army. As a leader, people expected him to know the answers. A plan of attack. The path to victory.

Yet in 2 Chronicles 20:12, King Jehoshaphat utters this leadership-transforming prayer: "We don't know what to do, but our eyes are on You."

Why is that so transforming as a leader?
1) Getting people involved makes a difference.  King Jehoshaphat knew the problem far exceeded his capabilities, so he gathered the people to seek God's guidance together.

"Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek Him." (2 Chron. 20:3-4)

As leaders, we may fall into the deadly spiritual trap that we're supposed to have all the answers in every situation. Yet when we face an overwhelming problem or task, gathering people around us to seek God's guidance and formulate a plan based on His direction builds strong teams. Teams focused on God rally together for victory.

2) Wise leaders take the problem to our Problem-Solver.  King Jehoshaphat knew that if he tried to win that battle on his own, his entire kingdom would have been annihilated. So instead of standing in pride, he knelt for guidance.

 "Lord, the God of our ancestors, are You not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and no one can withstand You." (2 Chron. 20:6)

As leaders, if we stand in pride to the exclusion of wisdom and common sense, the casualty list can be extensive and devastating.

3) Kingdom-focused leaders place worship at the forefront. Before organizing a plan of attack, King Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and appointed worship leaders. He set a God-focused example for the rest of his people.

"After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord and to praise Him for the splendor of His holiness as they went out at the head of the army ... and the Lord set ambushes against the men ... who were invading Judah, and they were defeated." (2 Chron. 20:21-22)

He placed worship at the vanguard of the attack. So instead of a battle cry, the enemy faced a wall of praise. And what happened? God defeated the enemy without King Jehoshaphat's army ever raising their swords. They stood in awe and watched God defeat their enemy with His almighty strength. (2 Chron. 20:24)

If you're a leader in any capacity whatsoever, 2 Chronicles 20 provides invaluable wisdom.

King Jehoshaphat placed God at the forefront.

Not pride.

Not ego.

Not anything or anyone else.

God and God alone.

May we do likewise.

Let's chat: What leadership principles could you add to the list above? What's worked for you? Have you learned lessons the hard way?


  1. Replies
    1. I tell you what, the Word gives us what we need for EVERY situation! Never-ending supply...

  2. So many excellent, life changing principles. I love this sentence: So instead of a battle cry, the enemy faced a wall of praise.

    1. Can you just imagine that sound? Wow...

  3. Oh Donna, is this post applicable to me right now. Not in terms of leadership, but just in patience and seeking God's plan for my life. Step by slow step, I've learned to surrender to Him...to wait on Him...but it's been a battle and some days it still is. Right now I'm not sure what God has in store. But I trust Him wholeheartedly, and I know He has plans for me, plans to prosper me and not to harm me (I mean spiritual prospering, not shiny new baubles ;-)

    Wonderful post. May God bless you this week.

    1. Thank you so much, Gwen, for your thoughts here. Surrender is SO hard because it goes against our human nature. Changing that is slow, indeed. We can only keep walking toward Him in trust, knowing that when He holds the reins of our life, it turns out so much better. Not easy, but infinitely better. Blessings on your week!

  4. so glad to have found you. This is lovely and inspiring. I'll come visit the site often. Thank you.

    1. Holly, thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words. Blessings!