Today's Wednesday's Word is a whole chapter - 2 Chronicles 20. I won't post the entire chapter here but I urge you to read it. It's that good.
I don't normally find myself in the book of 2 Chronicles. 1 Chronicles either, for that matter! But this chapter has a compelling story with a potent message for us. I'll summarize the first part and then we'll look at a couple of verses to find that message....
Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was reigning well. God was allowing him and his nation to live in peace and prosperity. Certainly looked like they had God's favor. I'll bet King J was quick to praise his God, don't you?
This is where the story picks up. Suddenly things turn south. King J got word that a couple of neighboring nations decided to make war against the nation of Judah and verse 3 tells us that he was afraid. I would be, too! That same verse tells us his response. It would be completely understandable and reasonable and wise if Jehoshaphat had gone out to examine his army and beefed them up a bit. Maybe purchased a few more weapons and stocked up on supplies. Being prepared is approved by God, after all.
But that's not what verse 3 tells us he did. Yes, he was afraid and he "turned his attention to seek the Lord and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah". Hmmmm. Pause for self-examination. Is that what I do when I'm afraid???
Then, he gathered the people together and led them in prayer. You gotta read verses 6-12 to see how he prayed. Talk about a model to follow! First, he acknowledged who God is and His power and might. That's a great place to begin indeed! Then he remembers what God had done in the past for His people. Finally he asked for help, admitting "nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on Thee" And I absolutely love verse 13 "And all Judah was standing before the Lord, with their infants, their wives, and their children". Everyone got to see how King J handled fear - what a great life lesson!!!
The next few verses relay God's answer back to Jehoshaphat through a prophet. God tells His people not to fear (BTW - did you know that is the most repeated command in Scripture???) for "the battle is not yours but God's". And, you gotta see King J's response....
Vs 18, 19 - And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the lord, worshipping the Lord. And the Levites, from the sons of the Kohathites and of the sons of the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a very loud voice.
Do you get the picture? King J was praising God and that led to a group-sing!!!!! Seriously. The Korahites were the group of Levites in charge of singing. For real. And they broke out in song at this point.
But it doesn't end there. The next day, the people of Judah went out to face the invaders. And guess who King J sent out first!!! Yep, those who praised Him vs. 21. That's like putting First Baptist's praise band on the front lines! Imagine!!!!
And what did God do? And when they began singing and praising, the Lord set ambushes against the sons of Ammon, Moab, Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so they were routed. verse 22. The next few verses share how these invaders destroyed one another and the only thing Judah had to do was to gather up the spoil from the battle. Took 3 days to get it all! And every man of Judah and Jerusalem returned with Jehoshaphat at their head, returning to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them to rejoice over their enemies. vs. 27.
And God's fame spread all over (vs. 29).
Great story. Greater application. Praise is the fire that lights the wick of God's power...triumphing over my enemies....spreading His glory. Amen!
Next time you and I find ourselves facing a battle, tempted to fear, let's remember this lesson from King Jehoshaphat - the way to victory is through praise. Maybe we don't need to grab a microphone - but we sure can grab a hymnal - and sing our way through the fight!