The following story of King Jehoshaphat is an inspiring example of the power and blessing that comes from praising the Lord:
The Story of Jehoshaphat:
“It happened after this that the people of Moab with the people of Ammon, and others with them besides the Ammonites, came to battle against Jehoshaphat. Then some came and told Jehoshaphat, saying, “A great multitude is coming against you from beyond the sea, fromSyria;and they are in Hazazon Tamar” (which is En Gedi).” (2 Chronicles 20:1-2).
When Jehoshaphat woke up that morning, it was a day like any other. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and maybe he had his servants pick him up a double double coffee from Tim Horton’s. When all of a sudden, there was a knock at the door. “Bad news, king. Not only is there one army. Not only are there two armies. But three armies have gathered together against us, and they’re on our doorstep. They’re coming to kill us.” See the context of this story about the power of praise. It wasn’t when everything was going good. The people weren’t all joyful – they were facing a major crisis!
“And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord.” (verses 3-4).
Jehoshaphat was freaked out, as most of us would have been in a similar situation. But what did that fear lead him to do? Did he crawl back into bed, pull the covers over his head, and say, “I just can’t handle this. The pressures of ruling the kingdom are overwhelming me!” No. After admitting his fears, he immediately began to seek the Lord in prayer and fasting.
“Then Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, and said: “O Lord God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You? Are You not our God, who drove out the inhabitants of this land before Your peopleIsrael, and gave it to the descendants of Abraham Your friend forever?” (verses 5-7).
When Jehoshaphat began to pray, he first reminded himself of God’s greatness, power and might. He reminded himself of some of the victories the Lord had given them in the past. They reminded themselves and said, “If God did it for us before, He can do it again!” If Jesus is who the Bible says He is – the same yesterday, today and forever – then He can still bring about mighty victories in our lives today.
“O our God, will You not judge them? For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” Now allJudah, with their little ones, their wives, and their children, stood before the Lord.” (verses 12-13).
After they reminded themselves of how powerful God was, and how He had helped them before, they did two things. First they humbled themselves and admitted they were weak, powerless, and unable to achieve victory on their own. Then, they looked to the Lord. They said, “God, You created this universe, and if You’re that powerful, then you have the ability to help me with the problems in my life.”
One of the important truths in this story is that they stood before the Lord with their children. As parents, we have a responsibility to teach and train our children in the way that they should go. Psalm 78:4 says, “We will not hide them from their children, telling to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” As we are contending for signs and wonders today, let’s not forget our children and teenagers! If you will teach your children that God answers prayer, and that they can be used by the Lord, they will believe you.
“Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel… And he said, “Listen, all you ofJudahand you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (verses 14-15).
When Jehoshaphat faced this crisis, he must have been thankful for a man of God who heard the Holy Spirit’s voice and was able to speak God’s wisdom into the situation. People experience defeat so many times in their lives because they try to win the battle with their own wisdom, intellect and abilities. But when you’re willing to stand back and say, “I can’t do this, Lord I need Your help, would you do this for me?” He steps in and fights the battle for you. He says, “It’s not your battle anyway, I’m your God.”
The Lord said to His people, “Do not be afraid or dismayed.” When I read that Scripture, I wondered what that word dismayed meant, so I looked it up in the dictionary. (That’s a good thing to do when you’re reading the Bible or any other book). Dismayed means to break down the courage of completely, as by sudden danger or trouble; dishearten thoroughly.[i] When the enemy comes against us, he doesn’t just want to cause us to be afraid – he wants to totally break down our courage so that we will give up. But we don’t have to be afraid or dismayed… because the battle isn’t ours, it’s the Lord’s! If it’s not our job to fight the battle, then what is our job?
“And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem bowed before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. Then the Levites of the children of the Kohathites and of the children of the Korahites stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with voices loud and high. So they rose early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the Lord your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper. And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying: “Praise the Lord, For His mercy endures forever.” (verses 18-21).
Their first response? Worship and praise. They bowed before the Lord, worshiped Him, and praised Him with loud voices. God gave them a key to their victory. When they stepped out in faith and obedience, they would experience a breakthrough in their lives. And what was God’s battle plan for victory over the enemies? The power of praise. When they went out to face the enemy’s armies, they sent out people to praise the Lord in song. Leave the swords and spears and shields at home. Send the worship team out first, and they’ll sing. How’s that for a battle strategy? I’m sure some of the people were questioning the wisdom of this plan, but Jehoshaphat had heard a promise from Heaven: “The battle is the Lord’s!”
“Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated.” (verse 22).
Praise brought about a mighty victory – the people didn’t have to fight the battle.
“When Jehoshaphat and his people came to take away their spoil, they found among them an abundance of valuables on the dead bodies,and precious jewelry, which they stripped off for themselves, more than they could carry away; and they were three days gathering the spoil because there was so much.” (verse 25).
Not only did praise bring victory over their enemies, it also brought blessing.
“And on the fourth day they assembled in the Valley of Berachah, for there they blessed the Lord; therefore the name of that place was called The Valley of Berachah until this day. Then they returned, every man of Judah and Jerusalem, with Jehoshaphat in front of them, to go back to Jerusalem with joy, for the Lord had made them rejoice over their enemies.” (verse 26-27).
What was the end result of the victory over their troubles? They experienced fullness of joy. There’s something supernatural that happens when we press into the presence of the Lord. Psalm 22:3 tells us, “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel.” (kjv). This Scripture tells us that God inhabits – dwells in – the praises of His people. “You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” (Psalm 16:11). Do you see the progression here? When we praise God, God manifests His presence to us, and when we experience His presence, we also experience fullness of joy and pleasure. And, “the joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b).
“So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies ofIsrael. Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” (2 Chronicles 20:28-30).
When we breakthrough into passionate, relentless praise and worship of the Lord, the world around us will stand up and take notice. As God gives His people victory and blessings, the unsaved people in our lives will begin to fear and reverence the living God.
When we are wrecked for ordinary living, and care more about the Kingdom of God than we do about anything else, we will experience the abundant blessings of peace, quiet and rest in our lives. Jesus will do anything for radical lovers! Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
I love the church of Jesus Christ. Why? Because “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:25b-27). I have such a passion to see us become the glorious, powerful church that Jesus died to redeem.
My prayer is that through this study in the Book of Acts, and the stories that I have shared with you from my personal journey into the supernatural, that you have been stirred up in your heart:
- To contend for signs and wonders today.
- To hunger for more of the miraculous in your life.
- To passionately pursue a deeper relationship with Jesus.
What would the church look like tomorrow if we all made a commitment to do that today? I believe that we would see a fulfillment of Isaiah 60:1-3 in our midst:
- Arise, shine;
- For your light has come!
- And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you.
- For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth,
- And deep darkness the people;
- But the Lord will arise over you,
- And His glory will be seen upon you.
- The Gentiles shall come to your light,
- And kings to the brightness of your rising.
Pastor Chris Jordan
[i] dismayed. Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. (accessed: 11 Apr. 2010).