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"The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: 'Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!'" (2 Chronicles 20:21 NLT)
In 2 Chronicles 20:21, King Jehoshaphat had a very unusual way of organizing an army: "The king appointed singers to walk ahead of the army, singing to the Lord and praising him for his holy splendor. This is what they sang: 'Give thanks to the Lord; his faithful love endures forever!'" (NLT)
Jehoshaphat's battle plan was to put a choir before the infantry. Patton would have fainted! Picture this: On one side are the three enemy armies amassed to do battle against Israel. Then there's the valley where they're going to do battle. Then there are the lowly Israelites. Jehoshaphat says, "We're going to take those who sing and make a choir out of you and put you in front of the army as you march into battle."
There's a very important truth here: The Israelites were thanking God in advance for the victory. Praise and thanksgiving are verbalized faith. If you thank God after the fact, that's gratitude. If you thank God before it happens, that's faith.
Notice the effect of praise in verses 22 and 23: "When they began to sing, the Lord threw the invading armies into a panic. The Ammonites and the Moabites attacked the Edomite army and completely destroyed it, and then they turned on each other in savage fighting" (GNT). God confused the enemy, and they turned on each other and destroyed themselves while the Israelites looked on. There is power in expectation.
You know that insurmountable problem in your life - the one with the odds stacked against you? When are you going to start thanking God for it? After it's all solved? If so, that's called gratitude. How about thanking God now, while you're in the problem or see it coming at you? That is faith.
When you allow God to solve your problems, it becomes a testimony to unbelievers. The world takes notice when the Christian lives by faith. And, God loves to demonstrate his power in those who expect him to work in their lives.
Are you facing a difficult circumstance this week? Do you feel like the odds are against you? Do you think your problem is overwhelming? What do you do? You turn to God - Jehovah Nissi, the God who defends you.
Talk It Over
"Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will stand your ground. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed." (2 Chronicles 20:20b GNT)
The biggest mistake people make when we're overwhelmed is focusing on the problem. We don't look to God. We put our eyes on the problem instead of God.
When you ask many people, "How are you doing?" they say, "I'm doing OK - under the circumstances." What are you doing under the circumstances? Who put you there? Why don't you get on top of the circumstances? Circumstances are like the mattress on your bed. Get on top of them, and you'll rest easy. Get underneath them, and you're going to suffocate.
What are you focusing on right now? If you're discouraged, it's not God. You can't be discouraged and focus on God at the same time. If you turn to God first, talk to him about your problem, and trust him to help you, God will respond: "The Lord says you must not be discouraged or be afraid to face this vast army. The battle depends on God, not you" (2 Chronicles 20:15b GNT).
The reason why you're so tired all the time is because you're trying to fight battles that belong to God. We try really hard and give it our best shot. Inevitably, we fail and we're disappointed in ourselves and we come back with our tail between our legs and say, "God, I'm so sorry. I've really let you down." Guess what? You cannot disappoint God. This is what grace is all about! You don't earn God's pleasure or approval. It is a free gift when you trust in his Son, Jesus Christ.
What does God want you to do if he doesn't want you to fight in the battle? What are you supposed to do when you're facing an overwhelming situation?
Two words: "Stand strong." What does it mean to stand strong? It is a mental attitude. It's an attitude of quiet confidence. You're not getting ahead of God, but you're not backing up, either. You're going to stay put and watch God work. You're going to stand strong.
One of the most important truths you have to learn in life is it is never God's will for you to run from a difficult situation. If you do, he's going to bring it up again. He wants you to learn that he is sufficient in every situation, and if you don't learn it here, he'll just provide the opportunity again.
What do you stand firm on? "Put your trust in the Lord your God, and you will stand your ground. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed" (2 Chronicles 20:20b GNT).
Do you want to be successful? Then stand on two things: the character of God and the Word of God. Have faith in the character of God and what his prophets have said.
Talk It Over