When Paul and Silas were dragged, beaten and jailed into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks, they didn’t allow their condition to affect their hearts’ position. Instead they praised God!
“About midnight Paul and Silas were PRAYING and SINGING hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them and SUDDENLY there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And IMMEDIATELY all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were UNFASTENED.” Acts 16:25-26 ESV
We enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. When we’ve entered in, when our focus and attention are set like flint unto Jesus, everything else grows dim in the light of His presence. When we set our eyes on His word of promise that stands forever, who can come against it?
The enemy that is trying to steal, kill and destroy isn’t worthy of even a blink of our attention. Why bother? Be fully persuaded that he is a liar and a deceiver. “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (Peter 5:8 NLT) Do you know that he just roars like a lion but is a toothless foe! Always be reminded that we do not fight a defeated foe! Jesus already conquered the grave and death has already lost its sting.
When the enemy tries to press us down to the best that he can and we respond in PRAISE, it confuses him. He expects us to join him and party with him in misery and HOPELESSNESS. He is an attention-seeker. BUT when our awareness is set on Jesus Christ, the HOPE OF GLORY, he simply cannot comprehend.
In 2 Chronicles 20, when Jehoshaphat was facing a great multitude in a battle, HE WAS AFRAID and SET HIS FACE TO SEEK THE LORD. In truth, fear grips us at the onset of our challenges when were caught off guard. Don’t condemn yourself! Just don’t stay in fear! SEEK the Lord and He will show you ways and means that are beyond what you can think or imagine.
I love how Jehoshaphat came before the Lord … “we are POWERLESS against this great horde that is coming against us. WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO DO, BUT OUR EYES ARE ON YOU. (2 Chronicles 20:12 ESV) Then, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and he said … “DO NOT BE AFRAID and DO NOT BE DISMAYED at the great horde, FOR THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS BUT GOD’S” (v.15)
When they HEARD the word of the Lord, they BELIEVED. Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground and worshiped the Lord. Some of them stood up to praise the Lord, the God of Israel with a very loud voice.
“Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe His prophets and you will succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20 ESV
Jehoshaphat appointed those who were TO SING TO THE LORD AND PRAISE HIM in holy attire, as they went before the army and say .. “Give thanks to the Lord, for His steadfast love endures forever.” (v.21)
And this is my favorite part … when THEY BEGAN TO SING AND PRAISE, THE LORD SET AN AMBUSH against their enemies. Yes, their enemies fought against each other and helped to destroy one another. Confusion came upon their enemies! As God’s people approached the place of battle, all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground and none has escaped. All they did then were to take the spoil for three days because it was just too much. On the fourth day, they assembled and blessed the Lord.
Their attitude of PRAISE didn’t stop when they won. On their way back to Jerusalem, they still were praising God. And because of what God has powerfully done to His people, the kingdoms surrounding them heard and they became fearful and left them to REST. Who then can come against the ALMIGHTY God (ALL Mighty God, no one is mightier than He)?
“So they came to Jerusalem, with stringed instruments and harps and trumpets, to the house of the Lord. And the fear of God was on all the kingdoms of those countries when they heard that the Lord had fought against the enemies of Israel. Then the realm of Jehoshaphat was quiet, for his God gave him rest all around.” 2 Chronicles 20:28-30
We praise Him knowing that He is faithful to come through for us. PRAISE ALWAYS PRECEDES A MANIFESTED VICTORY! PRAISE CONFUSES THE ENEMY! Praise therefore is a sign of FAITH!