On Saturday night my wife and I were in the living room watching a movie when she suddenly started twitching a little. It wasn’t an emergency situation but it was obvious that something out of the ordinary was going on. So I leaned forward as she was sitting in her chair in front of the couch and gently began to massage her shoulders while I softly told her “It’s okay.” Well the hand touch and words of comfort did the trick and she relaxed and didn’t have any more difficulties throughout the rest of the evening.
About ten minutes later the dog who was asleep at my feet began to whimper and twitch as he was having what seemed to be another nightmare. So, once again, I leaned over and gently began to pet his side while I softly told him that “It’s okay!” And as with my wife, he quickly responded, woke up and barely turned his head to look up at me with a blank expression that seemed to be saying “Huh?”
Once Fiver went back to sleep, I leaned back on the couch and suddenly began laughing as I thought “How many times over the last ten years have I said that to my wife during the many emergency situations that we have been through since that first report of the potential of Alzheimer’s back in 2007.” Then feeling a bit of self-pity, I looked up to the ceiling and said, “Gee, I’d love to have someone (like Piper) saying that to me!”
But you know… that thought didn’t last very long as the direction toward feeling sorry for myself was suddenly side-swiped by my recalling the personal experience that I have every time I read or confess the Word of God and/or break out into heartfelt or many times “the sacrifice of praise.” (Hebrews 13:15) For EVERY time I’ve done that, Papa God comes through by telling me that “It’s okay!”
I’ve been studying II Chronicles 20:14-30 over the last week and I keep finding myself astonished at the POWER that our praises unto God have on the situations we all face on a daily basis. Verses 14-17 outline God’s plan for the childen of Israel as they were about to face off with an overwhelmingly large and well trained enemy force. Through a prophet the Lord told them:
“This is what the LORD says to you: Don't be frightened or terrified by this large crowd. The battle isn't yours. It's God's. Tomorrow go into battle against them. They will be coming up the Ziz Pass. You will find them at the end of the valley in front of the Jeruel Desert. You won't fight this battle. Instead, take your position, stand still, and see the victory of the LORD for you, Judah and Jerusalem. Don't be frightened or terrified. Tomorrow go out to face them. The LORD is with you."
Then when you read on you’ll see that it looked like the Lord wasn’t done with His instructions and must have spoken to the King during the night. In the morning as they prepared to march off to meet the enemy, King Jehoshaphat encouraged his troops and “After he had advised the people, he appointed people to sing to the LORD and praise him for the beauty of his holiness. As they went in front of the troops, they sang, "Thank the LORD because his mercy endures forever!" (20:21)
So wait a minute here folks… If I read this right, the King’s strategy to fight the battle was to put the Praise and Worship team out in front of the army? Have any of you ever heard of this type of military plan before? Obviously God must have known something about the power of PRAISE that not too many others knew… and probably don’t know today as well! So what happened? Did God’s preposterous plan work?
Well, of course it did! The next four verses tell us exactly what happened. “As they started to sing praises, the LORD set ambushes against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the people of Mount Seir who had come into Judah. They were defeated. Then the Ammonites and Moabites attacked the people from Mount Seir and annihilated them. After they had finished off the people of Seir, they helped destroy one another. The people of Judah went to the watchtower in the desert and looked for the crowd. Corpses were lying on the ground. No one had escaped. When Jehoshaphat and his troops came to take the loot, they found among them a lot of goods, clothes, and valuables. They found more than they could carry. They spent three days collecting the loot. (20:22-25)*
WOW! What do you think about that? Have you ever experienced a similar situation in your life where your exclamations of heartfelt PRAISE positively changed the negativity that you were facing? Maybe it wasn’t the treat of complete annihilation to you and your family… and everybody else you know… but yet important enough to you that you took the time and effort to PRAISE Him.
It was THAT power, THAT peace and my overwhelming TRUST in God that has empowered me to PRAISE Him in my darkest moments and thereby cause me to understand how much God has been helping me since that fateful night as I received that call while standing alone in the power tools aisle in the Garden Department at the South Tulsa Home Depot in 2007.
You and I can PRAISE Him in the midst of ANY situation or circumstances and know that “It will be okay” BECAUSE we love Him and trust Him and his Word… more THAN ANYTHING ELSE!
Obviously it worked for the Israelites back in Jehoshaphat’s time, and I can relate experience after experience in my life where it has worked… and I bet you can too! Have a great new week, and as you do, keep asking yourself… “Am I expecting myself to PRAISE GOD so that it will be okay when my life takes a downward spiral?”
*All scriptures quoted from the God’s Word © translation.