Then, led by Jehoshaphat, all the men of Judah and Jerusalem returned joyfully to Jerusalem, for the Lord had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies. They entered Jerusalem and went to the temple of the Lord with harps and lyres and trumpets.2 Chronicles 20:27-28
There is a song most familiar with Frank Sinatra (although many artists have recorded it) and that is ‘My Way’. Well, I hope this week we have decided God’s way is always best.
Certainly, King Jehoshaphat as we found out yesterday experienced that victory is won by following God’s plan.
Having experienced this victory it was necessary to put that combination of praise and prayer back into operation, and so after the victory, we find them heading towards Jerusalem to do that.
I hope you notice the instruments that are used. God gave us music, instruments and a voice so don’t be afraid to use them in praise and prayer. There are times when it is right to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. God is not interested in how we perform but how we Praise Him.
It was fitting for King Jehoshaphat to seek God in times of trial by praise and prayer, but it is also fitting to do so when times are good.
Many are seeking God in this lockdown situation, but I wonder will it carry on when normal life returns? (if there will ever be a true returning to life as we knew it).
God is interested in all our lives as we saw yesterday, the good, the bad, the ugly, in sorrow, in joy etc and seeks that we both praise and pray throughout our whole life.
Years later this same nation that went to Jerusalem to praise, sat by a river in Babylon and did not do that. In fact, the information we have is this; by the rivers of Babylon there we sat down, yes, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
The Israelites when asked to sing a song replied, ‘How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land’? They wept, and they remembered the past…for now, they had fallen on hard times.
Now in exile in Babylon, their homes destroyed, Jerusalem in ruins, they had been taken captive into a foreign land. Perhaps they were told by their grandparents of the time they won a battle and went to Jerusalem to have a praise party. Now they were having a Pity party. Notice how the Israelites had stopped singing. In such circumstances, they had no heart for music. The problem was they looked at their circumstances and that decided their worship.
Remember what I said the giving of thanks (praise) in all things does not imply that all things are good. Rather, followers of Jesus are charged with the giving of thanks because of their confidence in the purpose and the providence of God in any and every circumstance of life (cf. Romans 8:28-39).
Yesterday we found out that praise released the Power of God and victory was won. Well, let me tell you today praise also releases the presence of God.
There is a wonderful verse:
But you are holy, enthroned in the praises of your people.Psalm 22:3
This has nothing to do with where you are living or the circumstances you are experiencing. It has to do with our relationship with God. We can sing wherever we are for we are not governed by the circumstance of where we live.
Let me finish by giving you the definition of praise according to Webster’s dictionary. It means to extol, laud, honour, acclaim, express approval.
To praise, then, is to give positive affirmation, expressing our approval of what we accept or agree to praise God for. For example a difficult situation, sickness or disaster. This means literally that we accept and approve of its happening as part of God’s plan for our lives.
Why not take time out now to:
- Praise Him for what He has brought into your life;
- Do it deliberately, remember that Praising God is not to guarantee your every prayer will be met the way you desire it,
- It is not a formula for success, it is a way of life that is solidly backed up in God’s word.
- We praise God, not for expected results but the situation just as it is.
- We’re not to understand everything but we are to accept.
Prayer and Praise a powerful combination!!!