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. He SET HIS FACE TO SEEK THE LORD and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah. So Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; and from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord (2 Chronicles 20:1-4).
In truth, fear grips us at the onset of our challenges most especially 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 to overcome them 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 in the midst of the assembly, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the Lord to you,”DO NOT BE AFRAID and DO NOT BE DISMAYED at the great horde, FOR THE BATTLE IS NOT YOURS BUT GOD’S” (v.15)
“Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the Lord on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the Lord will be with you.” (2 Chronicles 16:17)
When they HEARD the word of the Lord, they BELIEVED. Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground , and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, 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 was 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 God in the midst of our battles 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 and FAITH is the assurance of the outcome and it is always an overcoming victory.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank You for unveiling our eyes to see that when we are faced with mighty giants, we can run to Your presence, seek Your face and confidently know that we are safe in You, thus, we have the all the reasons to praise You. Thank You, Jesus, that because of Your finished work at cross 2000 years ago, we can COUNT IT ALL JOY when we go through various trials and we can REJOICE ALWAYS knowing that You already won the battle for us. Nothing is too difficult for You. Nothing is mightier than You. No “named” challenge is higher than Your Name. No weapon-formed against us shall prosper because we belong to You. Thank You, Holy Spirit, that it is You Who graces us to do what we cannot do on our own. To praise the Lord in the midst of adversity is foreign to our natural human ability. But because of Your indwelling in us, we can do ALL things through Christ Who strengthens us. Amen!