Wielding the Weapon of PraiseJuly 11-15
Wielding the Weapon of Praise
Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. – 2 Chronicles 20:18 (ESV)
While millions watched on television, Nik Wallenda walked across Niagara Falls on a 1,800-foot wire that was only 5 inches in diameter. He took all the precautions he could. But adding to the drama and danger of both the height and the rushing water below, a thick mist obscured Nik’s sight, the wind threatened his balance, and spray from the falls challenged his footing. Amid and perhaps because of these perils, he said that he “prayed a lot” and praised God.
The Israelites also bowed down and praised God in the middle of a dangerous challenge. Theirs involved a large group of warriors who had gathered to fight them (2 Chron. 20:2). After humbly bowing and asking God for help, King Jehoshaphat appointed a choir to march out into battle in front of the Israelite army. The worshipers sang: “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever” (v.21). When they began to sing, the Lord caused the enemy forces to attack and destroy each other.
Praising God in the midst of a challenge may mean overriding our natural instincts. We tend toward self-protection, strategizing, and worry. However, worshiping can guard our hearts against troubling thoughts and self-reliance. How much do you think the posture of bowing before God means to God?
If you are able, kneel down before God and praise Him for His protection. Ask for God’s help with any battles you are facing.
A Loud Praise
And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. – 2 Chronicles 20:19 (ESV)
When the Spartans marched into battle, they advanced with cheerful songs, willing to fight; but when the Persians entered the conflict, you could hear, as the regiments came on, the crack of the whip, by which the officers drove the cowards to the fray. What wonder that the Spartans were like lions in the midst of Sheep! Were we enthusiastic soldiers of the Cross, through God’s help, nothing would be able to stand against us. (C. H. Spurgeon.)
The Israelites went to battle with a loud praise to God. The Kohathites and the Korhites were another line of the Levitical singers, descendants of the worship leader Heman the grandson of Samuel (1Chr. 6:33-38). It wasn’t just Jahaziel’s own close group that praised the Lord, all the Levites praised the Lord. The difference between an ordinary man of war and a Christian is this: a Christian shouts before the victory because he knows it is sure to come.
Praise can often be contagious. Who do you know whose love for God is contagious and motivates you to want to praise God more?
If you are able, go somewhere and literally shout a song or praise to God. Ask God to use your praise to lead someone else closer to Him.
And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” – 2 Chronicles 20:20 (ESV)
David Roper wrote: When our son Brian was small, I took him with me to pick up our babysitter. As I approached the house, I noticed that her dog, usually penned in the backyard, was lying on the front porch. At first glance, the dog looked benign. But to my alarm, he sprang to his feet and attacked Brian, who leaped for my leg, shinnied up to my waist, and somehow ended up wrapped around my neck and shoulders.
I, on the other hand, was left to fend off the dog. We danced for a while—the dog trying to get in a bite and I tried to kick—until, to my relief, the owner came around the house and called off the beast. All of us—dog, boy, and I—escaped unscathed. Later, as we were walking to the car, Brian looked up to me and said, “Dad, I’ll go anywhere with you.” His confidence was misplaced; I can fail him. But I often think of his words when I grapple with fear. (David H. Roper)
Whenever we enter frightening circumstances or face furious assaults, we can say with confidence, “Lord, I’ll go anywhere with You.” Jehoshaphat reminded the people to believe in God and they would see success. The only way to please God is by faith and the only way to win in the end is by faith in God.
Wil Pounds wrote: Anywhere with Jesus, I am not alone, Other friends may fail me—He is still my own; Though His hand may lead me over dreary ways, Anywhere with Jesus is a house of praise. How has God comforted you in your lonely days? How have you seen faith win victories for you?
Thank God for His promise to never abandon you. Ask God to grow your faith in spite of the circumstances.
And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the Lord and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” – 2 Chronicles 20:21 (ESV)
Some people think being thankful all the time is like going around with a goofy smile on your face all of the time and being insensitive to other people’s feelings. Some think it means to always be happy. We can be grateful, and thankful, without being irrationally “happy” in bad times.
In the teenage film where Winona Ryder came to prominence (“Heathers”), her character says, “If you were happy every day of your life, you wouldn’t be a human being; you’d be a game show host.” Nevertheless, the Bible teaches that thanksgiving is intended to be a lifestyle rather than a mere holiday or something we do on Sunday. (Johnny Wilson)
In 2 Chronicles 20, Jehoshaphat sends the singers out in front of the army with a song of praise and gratitude to God. He didn’t send the singers out in front of the army because they might scare the enemy away with their singing. They aren’t saying, “God wipe them out because we’re so good and they’re evil.” They know that they are only going to win because of God’s mercy and that produces a song of gratitude in their hearts.
What is the opposite of gratitude and how can that work against you? How can an attitude of gratitude be used as a weapon for good in your life?
Praise God for His steadfast love toward you. List a few things you are grateful for. Ask God to remove any entitlement from your heart.
And when they began to sing and praise, the Lord set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. – 2 Chronicles 20:22 (ESV)
There is an interesting story about how the news of the victory at the battle at Waterloo arrived in England. There were no telegrams or telephones in those days, nobody could send a text or put it up on Facebook or Youtube, of course, but everyone knew that Wellington was facing Napoleon in that great battle on the 18th of June 1815 and that the future of England was in great uncertainty.
A sailing ship semaphored (signaled with coded flags) the news to the signalman on top of Winchester Cathedral. He signaled to another man somewhere on a hill, and this way the news of the battle was passed on by semaphore from one place to another all the way to London and across the whole land.
When the ship came in, the signalman on board signaled the first word: “W e l l i n g t o n”. The next word was “d e f e a t e d”, and then the fog came down and the ship could not be seen. “Wellington defeated” went across England, and there was great gloom all over the countryside. After two or three hours, the fog lifted, and the signal came again: “Wellington defeated the enemy.” Then all England rejoiced. (Milo Velebir)
In 2 Chronicles 20:22, God defeated the enemy when His people began to praise. Praise is a weapon of war. It seems that God was delighted in the praise of His people. God seems delighted when His people actually trust Him. He responds to their praise and trust by taking care of the problem. In contrast, when people are filled with unbelief, God sometimes chooses not to help.
We don’t praise God in order to get Him to work. We praise Him because we trust Him to work. We trust Him no matter what He decides to do. We need to learn to face our battles with faith-filled praise. Some of you have noticed that when we sing our praise songs, the battles get easier. When has praise comforted you during a battle?
Praise God for some of the past battles He has won in your life. Praise God for the victories you know He is going to win in your future.