Enter the Battle with Songs of Praise

Bible Reading: 1 Kings 22:29-40, 52-53; 2 Kings 1; 3:1-5; 2 Chronicles 19; 20:1-30, 35-37

This is one of my favorite stories. I can see myself right in the middle of the story, with the people of Judah who gathered to seek the Lord. Like their enemies who were on their way to kill them, my troubles sometimes feel like a "vast army" mounting up against me and threatening to destroy me. Feeling hopeless and helpless against them, I cry out to the Lord, in the words of King Jehoshaphat, "We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you" (2C 20:12).

The Spirit of the Lord speaks to me: "Listen...! 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. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you" (20:15-17). As God's Spirit fills my heart with strength and courage, I respond, like the people of Judah, who "fell down in worship before the Lord," then "stood up and praised the Lord... with very loud voice" (20:18-19).

When I get up in the morning, I hear the king's words: "Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld" (20:20). As I walk toward the battle (this is my favorite part!), I "sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his holiness... saying: 'Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever'" (20:21). I picture in my mind the whole army of Judah, loudly singing God's praises with me as we march forward with faith and courage, ready to face the enemy!

When I arrive at the scene of my battle, this time I find that my fears are only "dead bodies on the ground" (20:24). God has eliminated many of the obstacles I feared before I ever had to meet them face to face. He lays my anxieties to rest in a graveyard of "What ifs." (Some fears I have had to face head-on, but that is a different story.)

When my battle is over, I return "joyfully," like the army of Judah, for God has given me "cause to rejoice" (20:27). As they "went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lutes and trumpets" (2C 20:27-28), I go to my church with violin and guitar!

Today, I will rejoice and give praise to God. Whatever comes my way, I will keep my eyes on him. I realize that, no matter how hard I try, there are some things only God can do. When I reach the end of my rope, I am exactly where God wants me--looking up, letting go, and trusting him. Instead of being discouraged by what I can't do, I will be encouraged by what God can do. I admit my powerlessness and look to God for help and direction. I'll go out and face life one day at a time ... one hour at a time ... one breath at a time, with God by my side. I'll stand firm, have faith, and wait for God's deliverance.

While I wait, I will sing to the Lord and praise him for the splendor of his holiness. I will give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever. I will praise God before, during, and after the battle. When I don't feel like praising, I will "just do it." I will turn on Christian music and sing along. I will go to church and join in worship. I will lay my head on my pillow and remember all the times God has proven faithful. I will read my Bible and praise the God it proclaims. I will tell others of his love and faithfulness. I will lift my eyes to the heavens and worship my creator. As I persist in praise, my fear will turn to faith; my doubt will turn to belief; my panic will turn to peace; my sorrow will turn to joy.