When I read Jehoshaphat’s story I am always struck by the unusual battle plan God laid out for Judah. A vast army was approaching, and the kingdom was in big trouble. The people fasted and prayed, then God told them to go toward the battle, but they would win the war without fighting.
So Judah’s army marched down into the valley to face their enemy. But the army wasn’t lead by fierce warriors on sturdy horses. The army was lead by…
The singers lead the soldiers armed for battle, singing praises to God. “Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever.”
Read for yourself what happens next. God is amazing.
Is praising God so important? I bet most of you in the US took a moment last week to thank God for something. It’s what we do once a year before we gorge ourselves with turkey and stuff.
But what about praising God today? The cancer diagnosis hasn’t changed. Your loved one is still dead. Your job is still frustrating. Your marriage is still unhappy. You might tell yourself you have nothing to praise God for.
Praise Him anyway.
Jehoshaphat’s choir didn’t sing about the war, they sang about God. They took their eyes off the seemingly impossible situation, and looked instead toward God. And that’s what I think God would have us consider today.
When those thoughts begin to creep in and tell us how hard our lives are, how unhappy we are, how things are just not fair, we need to quote a psalm, sing a praise song or hymn that points us to our Heavenly Father.
There is no room for self-pity when we are praising God.
Let’s face it. Some of us hate this time of year. Loneliness is more pronounced. Shattered families are more hurtful. Some people feel the hopelessness of their situation more deeply this time of year, when everyone seems to smile and wish us “Happy Holidays.”
Praise God. Not just a quick, Thanks, but a sincere, heartfelt praise to the One who loves you more than you know, the One who is the giver of all good things, who wants to comfort you, strengthen you, hold you up, and forgive you. He is worthy of our praise.
If you read Jehoshaphat’s story, you’ll find out the Jews enjoyed a decisive victory that day without lifting a finger. They were blessed beyond what they could have imagined, when they started the day praising God.
Praise God, dear one. Your circumstances might not change. But you will. And you will be blessed beyond what you can imagine.