I was reading one of my favorite Old Testament stories the other day and I just had to share it.
It comes from 2 Chronicles chapter 20.
One of the good kings, Jehosaphat, is leading God’s people into battle against a vast, vast army. Now, if you’re a king in Israel or Judah at this time, there are no guarantees that you will handle a situation like this the right way. There were plenty of rulers who took things into their own hands, made alliances with other pagan nations, or relied on their own military power instead of seeking God’s direction and help.
But fortunately for our story, Jehosaphat knew what he was doing. He brought everybody (and their wives and children and even the little babies) to the temple and stood before the Lord.
And Jehosaphat said it like it was. He was like, “God, all these people are coming against us and there’s no way we can win without your help. We do not know what to do.”
Wow, how many times have I thought that in the past year? At multiple points every day I think to myself, “I do not know what to do in this situation! Lord, please give me wisdom!” Whether it’s deciding when nap time should be or deciding how to save for our children’s education, I feel really clueless pretty much all the time these days. (Read more about that here: https://poolehousewife.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/this-is-hard/)
Wait ’till you hear what happens to Jehosaphat.
This guy named Jahaziel stood up with a word from the Lord. Now, I know it’s tempting to skip past the part where he’s identified as “son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph…” but in this case, this little verse tells us something really important. As a Levite, Jahaziel’s full time job was serving God in the temple. As a descendant of Asaph, this made Jahaziel specifically responsible for the music performed for the worship of the Lord.
He was a worship leader.
And this worship leader stood up in the assembly of the King and all of God’s people and said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s…You will not have to fight this battle…The Lord will be with you.”
And then the King bowed with his face to the ground, and some of the other worship leaders (the Korathites and Korahites) led the people in singing praise “with a very loud voice.”
With this word of encouragement and moment of worship, God’s people went out into the fight. But they did not wage war as you would think they would wage war. They had learned from their worship leader friends. They set up in ranks, organized themselves, prepared to march in formation, and as they descended into the valley, guess what they did?
They sang God’s praises, of course!
And as they marched and sang a song of thanksgiving, before they even reached their enemies, God won the battle.
I’m not even figuratively speaking here – God caused their enemies to turn and fight each other until not a man was left standing. When Jehosaphat and his singing army rounded the corner expecting to see a vast army, there were all the dead bodies!
When was the last time I was in the midst of an impossible situation and turned to God in praise? It’s easy for me to turn to Him in petition. “Oh, Lord, please give me wisdom!” or “Please fix this problem!” or “Please intervene in this way!” But God knows what my desires are before I even express them. He knows what I need, and He has promised to meet my needs according to His will. This story teaches me that in the most difficult times, I need to focus my attention not on myself, but on God.
And that is what worship is all about! Turning the focus and adoration of my life away from me and shining light on who God is and what He has done and what I trust He will do.
So I decided, starting this moment, the next time I’m exasperated with a “mommy situation” or troubled by something I hear on the news, or facing a tough decision for our family, I will not mope and be sorry for myself. Because the battle is not mine, but God’s. And instead of despairing, I will respond in worship. With a very loud voice. No matter who is listening.
Whatever battle you are trudging through today, I hope you will pause for a moment to give it up, and let your heart go! The Lord will hear your worship and be pleased with your little offering of praise. And in the midst of your thanksgiving, you might just find that the battle has already been won.