“You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord”
“I know that some of you have little time for this “spiritual stuff” because your needs are practical needs. Indeed, I’ve heard people say, “Yeah, I appreciate all this praise and other things you are talking about, but let’s become practical now. Let’s be reasonable. All this spiritual stuff isn’t going to pay my mortgage or get my boss to stop hassling me or get my kids to quit hanging with the wrong crowd or get my spouse to stop running around. I’m dealing with real issues here and I need real answers.”
You are exactly right. You are dealing with real issues—issues that are every bit as threatening as the army that would soon “be on Judah’s doorstep. So maybe you had better deal with them the same way Jehoshaphat dealt with the Moabites and the Ammonites:
Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld; have faith in His prophets and you will be successful.” 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, saying: “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever” (2 Chronicles 20:20-21). “What did Jehoshaphat do? As he led his people into battle, he said, “Let’s sing. I want you to thank God for His faithfulness and to celebrate His love. Tell Him how beautiful His holiness is.”
This may appear to be an unreasonable response, but let’s see how it worked out. “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men … who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another. When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped (2 Chronicles 20:22-24).
Wow! Not one man from the attacking army escaped the vindication of God. “To understand what was so special about Judah’s victory, you need to understand the “significance of their praise. Those singers out in front of the army weren’t just having a casual praise session. They were doing serious business because they were appealing to God’s integrity. This is what “the splendor of God’s holiness” (vs. 21) refers to. His holiness means that He can’t do anything other than what He has promised. Therefore, the men at the head of the army were praising God as though the army coming at them was already dead! They were rejoicing in God’s faithfulness before He had been faithful. Why could they do this? They believed that the One who had made the promise would do exactly what He had said:
You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you (2 Chronicles 20:17).”
“Listen to God, not the news, before you leave your house in the morning.
“I’m telling you, friends, your life would be quite different if you praised God before you met a challenge. Just try it. Have a private worship service in your home before you go to work. Put on some music that draws you into praise and worship, then spend some time with God before you walk out the door. Don’t listen to the news before you go to work. Listen to God. Then “He will fill your day with Himself because you started your day with Him.
“Some of us wait until church on Sunday before we praise God, ?
“Some of us wait until church on Sunday before we praise God, and even then we don’t come with praise and thanksgiving in our heart. Instead we come with our bad feelings and wait for someone to make us feel better.
Maybe you were up all night with the baby, you had a spat with your husband over breakfast, or your kids acted up in the car on the way to church. Whatever the reason, you come to church in a bad mood.
The apostle Paul instructs us to have a quite different attitude and disposition:
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:19-20).
Praise is always turning our attention from ourselves to God. It’s remembering and recounting who He is and what He has done, instead of wallowing in the mire of self-absorption. Truly, we are incredibly self-centered people. Our first thought is always how something or someone is affecting us.
Praise turns our eyes from ourselves to God. It focuses our thoughts on His majesty and power and invites others to do the same. Instead of gazing at our own navel, we raise our eyes and our heart to see His face and to affirm again our awe of Him, our gratitude for His love and mercy, and our absolute dependence on Him.
Many of us don’t appreciate how faith works. We are so used to living from what we can see, hear, and touch that we have “great difficulty moving into the realm of faith. If, for example, someone asks us how we are doing, we usually respond based on the condition of our bodies or our souls. We focus on our illnesses or the depressed thoughts that are weighing us down and neglect to mention the many blessings God has promised us. These promises have a much greater impact on our lives than our physical diseases and our emotional struggles. “If someone asks you how you are doing, tell them that you’re blessed. You might not look like it, but God’s blessings are in you somewhere. And each time that you say you are blessed, the blessings within you grow. Eventually what you say and what you see will match.
Faith sees what hasn’t been manifested. It deals with what exists but is invisible. The minute you manifest something, it no longer requires faith, because faith is believing, conceiving, and releasing (speaking) until you receive what you desire. “Faith is being sure of what [you] hope for and certain of what [you] do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).