21 And when he (King Jehoshaphat) had consulted with the people, he appointed those who should sing to the Lord, and who should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army and were saying:
“Praise the Lord,
For His mercy endures forever.”
22 Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated. 2 Chronicles 20:21-22 NKJV
Judah and its King Jehoshaphat were in serious trouble. Three of the nations around them had made an alliance to come against them in war. In their own strength, Judah was no match, and their king joined them in desperate prayer to the Lord, admitting their powerlessness in the situation.
The Lord heard their prayer, and told them through a prophet:
17 You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the Lord is with you.”
How would the Lord deliver them once again from their superior foe? Fire from heaven? Large hailstones or a flood? Miraculous strength for their army?
God gets to choose His own method of deliverance, and He often catches us by surprise with His choice. In this case, Judah’s army got to sit and watch while the enemies’ alliance dissolved right in front of their eyes. The three invading armies turned on each other, first two nations against one, then the two remaining ones against each other. Before they even got to encounter the army of Judah, they had finished each other off. All that remained for Judah’s army was to walk out onto the battlefield to gather the spoils of war.
Jehoshaphat’s strategy was interesting, and maybe something we can all learn from. After praying, he did send his army out to confront the invaders, but he also assembled a “song of praise” team to march out ahead of it. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God”, as Jesus said, “and all these things shall be added unto you.” (Matthew 6:33)
The scripture tells us that it was when the praises went up, God’s deliverance began. The act of worship and faith was pleasing in God’s sight, and He began to move for Judah.
As Keith Green sang in his song, “When the Praises Go Up”
For when I hear the praises start
I want to rain upon you
Blessings that will fill your heart
I see no stain upon you
Because you are my child and you know me
To Me you’re only holy
Nothing that you’ve done remains
Only what you do for Me
Songwriters: Green, Keith Gordon, Green Melody 1977
When God, in His goodness, delivers us through a trial, He may not choose to do it using spectacular methods. It may be as simple as the right doctor being in the right place for us at the right time. Or a random passer-by seeing our desperate need and helping. Or a refund check showing up at just the right time to address a financial need. These may not appear to be miracles, but they are. God’s hand has provided us with a deliverance through a crisis, just when we needed it most.
Thank God for His goodness and love for us. We would be utterly lost without Him.
How can we add more praise and song to the Lord in our lives? It is pleasing to Him.
I know that this is something I need to do more of in my own life.
Lord, help me to praise You in song, today and always. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.