The Power of Praise
Of all the military battles in recorded history, this was one of the most unconventional. Whoever heard of a group of singers and musicians leading an army into battle? But sing and play they did. Here’s what happened, as recorded in 2 Chronicles chapter 20. …
Word was rushed to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, that a vast army was swiftly approaching. Three neighboring kingdoms had joined forces and were about to attack. Jehoshaphat turned to the Lord for help. Knowing that his own forces were no match for the mighty army of the enemy, the king proclaimed a time of national prayer and fasting. People from all over Judah poured into the capital, Jerusalem, to seek the Lord’s help.
Then, in the midst of all the people, Jehoshaphat prayed. “O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in Heaven? You rule over kingdoms and nations. Power and might are in Your hand, and none can withstand You.” As the king’s prayer rang out, the people’s spirits were strengthened.
“We know that in the time of calamity,” the king continued, “whatever peril it may be, if we stand in Your presence and cry out to You in our distress, You will hear and save us! We have no power against this great army that comes against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You!”
Then a young priest named Jahaziel cried out with a loud voice to all the people, “Thus says the Lord to you: Do not be afraid nor discouraged because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.”
A feeling of relief swept over the crowd as everyone realized that God had heard and would answer their prayers. “You will not need to fight in this battle,” Jahaziel’s message continued. “Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you.”
When the message ended, King Jehoshaphat and all the people worshiped the Lord while the priests lifted their voices in praises to the Lord.
The next morning, as the troops made preparations for battle, King Jehoshaphat told them, “Believe in the Lord your God, so shall you be established; have faith in His prophets, so shall you have good success.”
After the king had consulted with the people, the idea came to appoint singers to lead the troops into battle. What a fitting way to show God and their enemies that they believed God would fight for them! “Praise the Lord for the beauty of His holiness,” Jehoshaphat instructed them.
As they took their position at the front of the ranks they sang, “Praise the Lord, for His mercy endures forever.” They were thanking God in advance for the victory He had promised to win.
No sooner had they begun to sing and praise, than the Lord set ambushes against the invaders and they were defeated.
The Bible doesn’t tell us what those “ambushes” were, but it does say that the soldiers of those three invading kingdoms began to fight among themselves. First the men of two of the opposing kingdoms rose up against the third army, to destroy it, and when they had finished, those two armies destroyed one another.
When the men of Judah came to a place overlooking the battlefield, they saw only dead bodies. None of their enemies had escaped.
Jehoshaphat and his men gathered so much spoil from the battlefield that it took them three days to collect it all. On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, which means praise, and blessed the Lord.
The fear of God was on all the neighboring kingdoms when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel, and the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.
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What wonderful lessons of faith and prayer and praise! When greatly outnumbered, Jehoshaphat prayed desperately, confessing his own weakness and inability. Then, after receiving God’s promise that He would give them the victory, Jehoshaphat put his faith into action by having singers and musicians lead the troops, shouting, and singing praise to the Lord.—And God Himself miraculously delivered them from their enemies.
The same holds true for us today. When faced with personal battles and trials that seem too big for us to handle, if we will call on the Lord with our whole hearts and believe the promises found in His Word, we can go on the attack by praising the Lord and thanking Him by faith for the victory.
Praise is the voice of faith. If you really believe the Lord has heard your prayers, you will start praising Him for the answer, even before you see it.
So when the Devil tempts you to get down in the dumps and discouraged, to fret, worry, and complain about your plight, remember the power of praise. Count your blessings, and start thanking and praising God.
The Devil cannot stand it when you praise God; he hates it! So if you really want to overcome him, start praising the Lord no matter what’s happening! “Submit to God. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). Launch an attack by singing, quoting Scriptures, and praising God when faced with battles and trials, and Jesus will give you the victory!
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