What battle are you facing at the moment? Is it maybe a broken relationship, strained relationship, a health issue, a health issue of a loved one, unemployment, financial strain, or an unsaved or unsupportive spouse?
We can learn many lessons from King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles. He was one of the few good kings of Judah. We read in 2 Chronicles 19 that he had done all God required from him. He was seeking God with His whole heart and had brought reform by removing all the idols in the land. Thus, Jehoshaphat was walking upright with the Lord. But, he still faced a huge battle of epic proportions after he had introduced the reform in Judah. In 2 Chronicles 20, we read that a great multitude was coming against him to wage war. Similarly, we as Christians are also not exempted from facing tribulations and battles, even if we lead a righteous life.
2 Chronicles 20:2-4 AMP
“Then it was reported to Jehoshaphat, “A great multitude has come against you from beyond the [Dead] Sea, out of Aram (Syria); and behold, they are in Hazazon-tamar (that is, Engedi).” Then Jehoshaphat was afraid and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the LORD; and he proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So [the people of] Judah gathered together to seek help from the LORD; indeed they came from all the cities of Judah to seek the LORD [longing for Him with all their heart].”
Jehoshaphat was afraid. Like any person, when he heard the news, he became afraid. But, he did not wallow in his fear. Despite his fears, he decided to seek God’s face and declare a nationwide fast. Prayer was his first response and not his last resort. He combined his prayer with fasting and included the whole nation in this action. What is your first response when you are afraid?
We read further in the passage that Jehoshaphat received the promise that God will fight for them. They also received some instructions that they had to follow. Thus, God’s responded to their cry for help, prayer, and fasting. God had His responsibilities to fight for them and to be by their side. Their responsibilities were to face the battle, look to God, not succumb to their fear and be obedient to God’s instructions. Immediately after Jehoshaphat received the word or promise from the prophet, he worshiped God. He did not wait for the victory to celebrate or worship God, but praised God before the fulfillment of the promise.
2 Chronicles 20:15-18 AMP“He said, “Listen carefully, all [you people of] Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. The LORD says this to you: ‘Be not afraid or dismayed at this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s. Go down against them tomorrow. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the river valley, in front of the Wilderness of Jeruel. You need not fight in this battle; take your positions, stand and witness the salvation of the LORD who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.’ Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping Him.”
On the day of the battle, Jehoshaphat again praised and thanked God as they prepared to face the battle. He sent the worshiper leaders out in front of the soldiers. This might have looked like a foolish strategy when you are going into war. Yet, he understood the power of praise, and he trusted in God alone for victory.
When they began singing praises, God caused the enemies to destroy and kill each other. The destruction was not witnessed by Judah first-hand. They only saw the result of their praise and God’s work when they arrived at the lookout. Never stop praising and worshiping God in your storm. Open your mouth, praise the Lord, sing for joy, and confuse the enemy. Changes are happening, and victories are being won in the spirit, which will only be evident at a later time.
Judah did not have to lift one weapon in the whole battle. They were outnumbered, but God did what He had promised and fought for them. He had all the details in His hand. No man had to do anything other than trusting God and giving Him the glory through song. When they had left the fighting to God and did all which was their part, the outcome was so much more than they had expected. They had so much spoil that it took three days to carry it all back to their camp. God will give you more than your highest expectation when you trust, obey, praise, and wait on Him.
2 Chronicles 20:20-25 AMP
“So they got up early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe and trust in the LORD your God and you will be established (secure). Believe and trust in His prophets and succeed.” When he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who sang to the LORD and those who praised Him in their holy (priestly) attire, as they went out before the army and said, “Praise and give thanks to the LORD, for His mercy and lovingkindness endure forever.” When they began singing and praising, the LORD set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; so they were struck down [in defeat]. For the sons of Ammon and Moab [suspecting betrayal] rose up against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, completely destroying them; and when they had finished with the inhabitants of Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When [the men of] Judah came to the lookout tower of the wilderness, they looked toward the multitude, and behold, they were dead bodies lying on the ground, and no one had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take their spoil, they found much among them, including equipment, garments, and valuable things which they took for themselves, more than they could carry away; so much that they spent three days gathering the spoil.”
I want to encourage you today to praise God while you are facing your battle. To praise Him while you are in the storm and not yet seeing the outcome. Praise God for all He has done in your past, for all He is doing in your current situation (though not yet visible with physical eyes), and all He will do in your future. Praise Him for Who He is and all He has promised.
Praise proceeds the victory.
Even when it is the most unnatural thing to do at this moment, praise God. Sing that worship or praise song. Declare His promises and Word over your life and circumstances. Praise Him through the pain, suffering, and tears. The psalmist frequently writes about the sacrifice of praise. David writes that this sacrifice honors God.
Psalms 50:23 AMP
“He who offers a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving honors Me; And to him who orders his way rightly [who follows the way that I show him], I shall show the salvation of God.”
When we praise God, we make Him part of our circumstances and also our focal point. God promises that He inhabits the praises of His people. Then we are not focusing on the magnitude of our difficulties but the splendor, greatness, and faithfulness of our God.
Psalms 22:3 AMP
“But You are holy, O You who are enthroned in [the holy place where] the praises of Israel [are offered].”
We are also encouraged to exchange our negative or sorrowful spirits for the garment of praise, through Jesus. Because of Jesus and our relationship with Him, we can choose and receive joy. In the face of despair and challenges, choose a garment of splendor (praise) over sackcloth of mourning. Choose to hope in Jesus. Choose the joy of the Lord that gives you strength through the trials. Choose to praise the Lord always because He remains faithful, just, and will fight this battle for you.
Stay resolute in praise my friend.
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