prayer at another level

prayer at another level

Praise in the Face of Fear!

Fear is so prevalent in our society: terror attacks, financial shakiness, job security, government take over, break-ins and murders, school shootings, concerns about our children, etc. This list could go on and on! I suggest, however, that while fear may pop up in our lives from time to time we do not have to live in fear. God is a God of love, and his love is perfect, He promises to “cast out all fear” by his perfect love (1 John 4:16-18) He also promises his peace of mind to those who fellowship with him, or have relationship with him (Philippians 4:4-8) Philippians also talks about rejoicing in all things and not letting anxiety rule. There is a story in the Old Testament that exemplifies how to face fear with praise:

Jehoshaphat (I like to call him Jeho-so-fat) was a godly man and king. His discipline to seek the LORD and to praise him is inspiring and encouraging. Here are just a few tidbits from his life:

1. He grew up knowing the LORD. His father was also a godly king. (2 Chronicles 14-16)

2. He was wise in preparation. (2 Chronicles 17:1-2)

3. He walked in the ways of David. (2 Chronicles 17:3)

4.He did not seek the Baals (false gods). (2 Chronicles 17:3)

5. He sought the LORD and walked according to his commands and rejoiced in the LORD’s way. (2 Chronicles 17:4-6)

6. He sent out officials and Levites to teach the people the LORD’s ways. (2 Chronicles 17:7-9; 19:4)

7. He had a lot of success! (2 Chronicles 17:12-19; 19:1-3)

8. He didn’t do everything right. (2 Chronicles 18:2-34; 19:1-3)

9. He appointed judges and instructed them to be godly. (2 Chronicles 19:4-11)

Now that we know a little bit about King Jehoshaphat let’s look at his story of “Praise in the Face of Fear”:

In 2 Chronicles 20:2 we are told that a “vast army” (made up of three nations, perhaps somewhere around 1 million people) comes against Jehoshaphat. Jehoshaphat’s first reaction was, naturally, alarm, but then he “resolved to inquire of the LORD”. He proclaimed a fast and the people of Judah gathered to seek help from God. (2 Ch 20:3) Then Jehoshaphat praises God! He exalts him for who he is! (2 Ch 20:5-9) He presents his request for help against this “vast army” saying, “we have no power to face this vast army.” (2 Ch 20:10-13)

The LORD answered him, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army.” He tells them that the battle is HIS! He gives them the instruction to march out and watch the deliverance of the LORD. (2 Ch 20:15-17)

Response from Jehoshaphat and all the people:

1. worship! (2 Ch 20:18-19)

2. obedience (2 Ch 20:20)

3. praise (2 Ch 20:21-22) – Jehoshaphat appointed singers and musicians to praise and glorify God. And These singers were the front line of the army! (Could you imagine being a musician that day!)

As the musicians began to sing and praise the LORD set an ambush among the “vast army” and the army turned on itself! (2 Ch 20:23-24)

When Jehoshaphat and his army got to the top of the hill and looked down all that they saw was a valley filled with the corpses from this “vast army”. Not a single soul survived! 2 Ch 20:24)

What strikes me as most remarkable is that God’s directions to Jehoshaphat did not include singers! Jehoshaphat did that on his own. I think it came from his habit of praising God! May we do the same! Praise God in all things and when you are afraid praise him MORE! Amen.

 

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