At this very moment, my church is going through a pretty serious and vital transition. It's all for the good, but it can get fairly intense. Lots of opinions, lots of thoughts, lots of ideas, lots of emotion. There's a particular drain on our time and energy right now. To tell the truth, it sometimes feels like a battle. On certain days, I'm absolutely confident that it is a battle.
Some of you are facing your own battles, and they're far more intimidating and daunting than I could ever imagine. Some of your struggles are financial, some are health related, some are relational and some involve your occupation and ministry. Nevertheless, they're real battles, aren't they?
In times like these, I'm reminded of the story of King Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles 20. You may recall the saga: the king has been informed that not one, but three armies have surrounded him and an attack on Judah looks imminent. Out-numbered, out-powered and out of options, what does he do? He falls flat on his face before God and says, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.” (2 Chronicles 20: 12 NIV)
Anybody ever lived there before? I'm pretty good with the “we do not know what to do” part. Lots of times I stumble when it comes to the “but our eyes are upon you” element. I want to do it on my own. I want to fix it. I want to be in charge.
But, instead of mustering the military or convening the joint chiefs of staff, King Jehoshaphat does an extraordinary thing. He forms a choir! That's right, a choir. These singers actually lead the troops out into a face-to-face confrontation with the enemy, despite overwhelming odds against them. Their battle cry? “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” (2 Chronicles 20: 21 NIV)
Ready for a spiritual principle here? Praise goes before the battle.
I don't know for certain what you're facing as you read this right now. But, my friend, remember that praise goes before the battle. You've got the testimony of King Jehoshaphat and the power of the universe's Commander in Chief on your side.
Oh, by the way, Jehoshaphat's enemies were routed that day pretty much because they turned on each other and destroyed themselves. Be assured that the enemy of your soul can't abide your bold allegiance to a greater Authority. It's still true – praise goes before the battle.
--For more resources on developing a scriptural theology of worship, check out more blogs at discoverworship.com.