One of the most inspiring battle stories I find in the Bible is about King Jehoshaphat winning the battle by praising the LORD. You can read it in 2 Chronicles 20.
The Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. The king was alarmed, but did the best thing you can do in any tight situation: he resolved to ask for God’s help, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah.
“WE DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO”
The people of Judah responded and came together to seek God’s help. In fact, they came from every town in Judah. They all assembled at the temple of the LORD and King Jehoshaphat prayed. He presented their situation before God, and ended by saying, “We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
What inspires me is that not only did the men of Judah assemble together, but their wives and children and little ones all stood together before the LORD. Everyone was involved!
Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel, one of the Levites, and he gave them the instructions:
“Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”
THEY PRAISED IN A VERY LOUD VOICE
Jehoshaphat and all the people assembled bowed with their faces to the ground and worshiped before the LORD. It was not just a quiet whisper. Some of the Levites stood up and praised the LORD with very loud voice. When you cry out to God for help you don’t whisper; you make your voice heard loudly.
Early the next morning they did as they had been instructed and left for the Desert of Tekoa. To encourage the people Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.”
King Jehoshaphat had a special strategy. He appointed men to sing and praise the LORD. Where did he position these men? They went out at the head of the army!
THEY MARCHED AT THE BEAT OF PRAISE
Can you picture the possession? They might have marched at the beat of the drum, but it was a beat of praise: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.”
What happened when they began to sing and praise the Lord? God himself set ambushes against all the men who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. The armies that had come against Judah ended up destroying one another.
When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value-more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.
THE VALLEY OF PRAISE
What a victory! It took them three days just to collect the plunder!
On the fourth day, what did they do? They assembled together in the valley to praise the LORD. They called it the Valley of Beracah, which means Praise. And there they praised the LORD.
Following the Praise Party in the Valley of Praise there was a Praise Procession led by King Jehoshaphat. All the men that had gone to battle returned joyfully to Jerusalem, “for the LORD had given them cause to rejoice over their enemies.” With harps and lutes and trumpets they entered the city and went to the temple of the LORD. There the party continued. More Praise!!!
What a testimony to the kingdoms surrounding Judah! The Bible says that “the fear of God came upon all the kingdoms of the countries when they heard how the LORD had fought against the enemies of Israel.”
“And the kingdom of Jehoshaphat was at peace, for his God had given him rest on every side.” (Cited from 2 Chronicles 20, NIV.)
GOD CAN GIVE YOU THE VICTORY
Why is this story so inspiring? Because it shows us how we can win our battles. We all have battles to fight. There will be periods in our lives when we are relatively at peace, but then a battle will start raging. King Jehoshaphat went to the Lord and said, “I don’t know what to do. God, please help me!” That, my friend, is the key. Take your situation to God and ask him for advice on what to do.
Then comes the best part; just praise the Lord! Does that mean you sit down, with legs and arms crossed, look to the sky and see if the solution is going to drop in your lap? No, of course not. You march to battle! You do what you can to remedy your situation, but all the time singing praises to God. The worst battle field can become a Valley of Praise.
I have been in battles so fierce that my praise has been mingled with tears. But even with an aching heart I have praised the Lord. And I’ve seen God fight my battle to the point of victory.
Do you have enemies coming at you on all sides? Are you at loss on what to do next? Are you overwhelmed by your situation? Praise the Lord! Just like King Jehoshaphat, tell God you don’t know what to do. I can assure you the He will see you through.
Be joyful always; pray continually;
give thanks in all circumstances,
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
—1 Thessalonians 5:16-18