…The Lord says this to you: ‘Don’t be afraid or discouraged because of this large army. The battle is not your battle, it is God’s…You won’t need to fight in this battle. Just stand strong in your places, and you will see the Lord save you. Judah and Jerusalem, don’t be afraid or discouraged, because the Lord is with you…” 2 Chronicles 20:15, 17 (NCV)
Sometimes I have a difficult time keeping my focus on God. The busyness of life, the day-to-day hustle of caring for my husband, kids, house, ministry, etc., swiftly steals my attention. I soon find myself in crisis mode, overwhelmed by the never-ending to do list and exhausted by nonstop tasks.
“Stop judging by the way things look, but judge by what is really right.” John 7:24 (NCV)
While concentrating on what things look like and how they feel, it is easy to forget that things aren’t always what they seem. The Lord is moving behind the scenes even when I am unaware of what is happening. He is maneuvering things into place, suggesting solutions, offering wisdom, providing for my needs, whispering peace to my spirit, and giving me strength to stand.
…‘You will not succeed by your own strength or by your own power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord All-Powerful. Zechariah 4:6 (NCV)
In the midst of the struggle to balance everything, when I choose to worship the Lord rather than wallow in my misery, the Lord gives me His strength to do all things. The battle becomes the Lord’s, when my praises flow.
For me, singing is the quickest way for me to enter into God’s tangible presence. Worshipping the Lord takes me from a place of putting the spotlight on myself and on my problems to keeping my heart centered on Him. It opens my spirit to receive His ministry to my heart. It calms my mind to allow me to hear His truth for my life and His wisdom for my situation. It helps me taste and see that He is good. It reminds me that He is faithful all the time.
Jehoshaphat bowed facedown on the ground. All the people of Judah and Jerusalem bowed down before the Lord and worshiped him. Then some Levites from the Kohathite and Korahite people stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voices…
Jehoshaphat listened to the people’s advice. Then he chose men to be singers to the Lord, to praise him because he is holy and wonderful. As they marched in front of the army, they said, “Thank the Lord, because his love continues forever.”
As they began to sing and praise God, the Lord set ambushes for the people of Ammon, Moab, and Edom who had come to attack Judah. And they were defeated. 2 Chronicles 20:18-19, 21-22 (NCV)
The people of Judah and Jerusalem made the choice to worship the Lord. They chose to put their focus on the God of Israel, instead of the enemy that they faced. They praised Him with loud voices. A handpicked worship team actually went into the battle ahead of the warriors to sing praises to the Lord and to offer gratitude for His continuous love. And as a result, their enemy was easily defeated by God.
On the last and most important day of the feast Jesus stood up and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart, as the Scripture says.” John 7:37-38 (NCV)
When I send praises up to God before going into my battles, He defeats my enemies too. When I believe in Him, trust in His goodness, I am filled with living water, my thirst for Him quenched. Gratitude flows from my heart and turns to joy. Despite the craziness of the day, I am strengthened. He gives me my piece of peace and shows me the path to take. His love casts out my anxiousness, my fear, and I am encouraged.
Yesappa, Praise the Lord, O my Soul and let all that’s within me praise His name. I will not die, I will live and I will tell of the works of the Lord, sing of His wonders. He’s a great God. I get to love You through, whatever comes. What a privilege. Oh how sweet it is. Nothing’s going to take Your praise out of my mouth as long as I shall live.* In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan, India)
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
* Lyrics from the song “Praise the Lord” by Kristene Meuller