2 Chronicles 20:22 As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.
This has long been one of my favorite stories in the Old Testament, as I’m sure it is for many others as well. It beautifully illustrates the important principle that praising God is spiritual warfare. That’s something we have trouble grasping, because it doesn’t fit our materialistic mindset, but it was also demonstrated at the famous battle of Jericho, when “the walls came a tumbling down” at the shouts and the trumpets of the Israelites. We really don’t understand the dynamics of the spiritual realm very well. Praising God acknowledges His reality, His Lordship, and sometimes that acknowledgement is all that is needed to solve even seemingly insurmountable problems. When we focus on the problems, they only get bigger and bigger in our minds and hearts. When we focus on God, they shrink down in perspective, because indeed, nothing is too difficult for the Creator of the universe, who spoke it all into being.
It wasn’t long after I was exposed to the Charismatic Movement that I started hearing of praise as spiritual warfare, and this story was Exhibit A in that teaching. I’m not to be simplistic about it all, but at the same time I can certainly see that focusing on the issues, and my ability or inability to deal with them, cuts God out of the picture entirely. I am not to deny that the issues exist, but I must remember that they are no big deal for God. I have experienced many times that praising God is a marvelous weapon against temptation, for example. Many, many things are a matter of focus. When I am committed to praise and worship, I take myself out of the way of what God wants to do and I allow Him to use me however He pleases. In the night we received a text indicating a friend is feeling suicidal. I can’t touch him directly, but God certainly can, and distance is no issue for God. If I am focused on “Oh, poor guy,” then I’m not trusting God to meet him where he is. It’s been a few hours since he sent his text, but the fact that he sent it shows that he receives hope through us, and God can and will use that to set him free. We have been involved with suicidal people before. In one case they followed through, but we weren’t fully aware of that situation. In others, we have been instrumental in leading them out of that pit. God is more than able, and focusing on Him in praise before we see the answer releases more spiritual power than we realize.
Father, thank You for Your perfect plan. You knew what was going to happen when You caused this Scripture to fall on this day in the reading list, and when You had Cathy tell me I was to speak on The Worship of Praise today. I pray that my words and my actions, not only in the message but in every detail, would accomplish Your will on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!