Overview Passage: 2 Chronicle 20: 1-30
Today’s study: 2 Chronicles 20: 18-30
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord….
As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were defeated…..
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.
So Jehoshaphat and his men when out to carry off their plunder…there was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.
On the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Beracah, where they praised the Lord….
Then led by Jehoshaphat, all the men….returned joyfully to Jerusalem for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets.
The fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.”
The battle ended when the praise began.
The people heard God’s answer to their cry of desperation and they believed completely that He was going to deliver them, and so they praised Him as if He already had. Did you notice that? They began to praise the Lord while the enemy was still on the way! They knew they could count on Him to do what He said He would do and so they praised Him before He ever acted on their behalf.
Their praise was powerful because their faith was huge and so God acted on behalf of their faith in Him.
When troubles appear on the horizon of our lives, who would think of praising the Lord for it? Usually we are so overwhelmed with the situation that we can barely breathe, much less praise!
Troubles weaken our faith and so we must intentionally choose to stop focusing on our circumstances and put our eyes on the God who is above all circumstances. By choosing to focus on and praise Him in the midst of our struggle, our faith grows stronger and we are able to release our tight hold on what we want and trust God to work in His way. And so, our praise is rooted, not in our circumstances, but in our faith in the trustworthiness of God.
Praise is the spiritual barometer of faith. If faith is there, no matter how small, we can praise Him. Our praise is evidence that we trust Him and we know that He is at work, even if we don’t see it with our eyes. When we really believe God, we can’t help but praise Him and our praise comes from grateful hearts that know that He is in control and that He will keep His promises to us.
As the people of Judah also learned, praise is a powerful antidote to fear and discouragement. Our praise weakens our fear because it turns our eyes to the One who said, “Do not be afraid, I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One.” (Rev. 1: 17-18)
The people of Judah prayed, and then praised God, and God gave peace and “rest on every side.”
There is an intimate connection between prayer and peace. Rather than being consumed with the crisis, prayer enables you to be consumed by the character of God. When you pour out your heart to your Father and give Him your troubles, it opens a space for Him to fill you up with His peace. God will grant you His peace when you surrender your circumstances and yourself to Him.
God worked in response to their faith; they experienced His peace; and all the nations around knew of God’s power. He got the glory. That is the most important part of this story. God’s glory.
When Jehoshaphat and the people gave their problem to the Lord and stood still and waited on Him, He worked in a miraculous way and His power and majesty were exalted among all the countries around Judah. This is a beautiful picture of Psalm 46: 10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations. I will be exalted in the earth.” God showed up in such a huge way that the whole world saw it and was in awe of Him. This story that began with an almighty fear of people, ends with fear of the almighty God!
God’s desire is also for us is to show His power to the world. We are to be so filled with His Spirit that others recognize His powerful presence in us and His working in our lives.
Your life here has eternal significance in that how you let Jesus live through you will affect the eternity of those around you. Are you walking so closely with Him that His presence makes an obvious difference in your life? God’s desire is that others will be drawn to us because they see Jesus in us and want more of Him. May our lives shout it so loud that this world can’t help but notice!
Truth: Thank and praise God as soon as you give Him the problem, before you see the answer. Praise God through it, claim His peace and share what He does so that others see Him in your life.