Psalm 50:23 shows us that thanksgiving prepares the way for miracles. When I read that psalm I remembered an occasion in the life of King Jehoshaphat. The story is taken from 2 Chronicles 20:1-33.
The Moabites, the Ammonites, and some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. Some men told him that a vast army was coming against him. Alarmed, the King resolved to find out from the LORD what he should do. That’s always best! So he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. And the people came together from every town in Judah to seek God’s help. You can read his prayer in verses 6-12, which he ended, saying,
“We have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
For me, as a person who has always worked with children, the following account is very interesting.
“All the men of Judah, with their wives and children and little ones, stood there before the LORD.”
Everybody, even the little ones, were praying for God’s help. I believe it’s very important to include children, “even the little ones,” when we seek God’s help and guidance.
Here are some observations about the situation:
- 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.” (vs. 15)
- You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you. (vs. 17)
- “Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.” (vs. 17)
- Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the LORD. (vs. 18)
- Some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the LORD, the God of Israel, with very loud voice. (vs. 19)
- Jehoshaphat 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.” (vs. 20)
- Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: “Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever.” (vs. 21)
- As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. (vs. 22)
Let’s notice the important fact here: When they started to praise the LORD, they got the victory!
Jehoshaphat and his men did not have to fight the battle. The armies that had come against him fought among themselves. The King and his men just had to carry off the plunder. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it!
What did they do when that was done? They assembled in the Valley of Beracah (Praise), where they praised the LORD. That’s why it’s called the Valley of Praise.
“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 lutes and trumpets.”
I love this story! I once wrote a lesson for children using this example. Jehoshaphat led the people in praise BEFORE the battle, and he led them in praise AFTER the battle. He even named a valley Praise!
It is true. Praise prepares the way for miracles. Just as the dead-looking trees come to life in the spring, our circumstances that can seem more than dead, can spring to new life. May Jesus bring you victory as you praise his name!
Spring in my neighbor’s front yard
I will not be afraid or discouraged;
but I will praise the LORD!