Shout Hallelujah: There’s Power in Our Praise

2 Chronicles 20:21-22 (NIV)

“After consulting the people, 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. 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.”

We can’t always choose our battles, but we can choose how we respond. King Jehoshaphat chose to respond to a crisis, and what looked like imminent destruction, by fasting, praying and worshipping the Lord. Jehoshaphat was the king of Judah. One day, he received word that the Moabites, Ammonites, Meunites were combining forces to attack Judah (2 Chronicles 20:1-2). Amid the fear and panic he and his people undoubtably felt, he proclaimed a nationwide fast, and kneeling before God, King Jehoshaphat and the people prayed to the Lord. This public, national fast expressed the nations humility and complete reliance on God.

God responded by telling Jehoshaphat through Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, to “stand firm”, and assured him that He would deliver them. “‘Tomorrow go down against them. They will surely come up by the Ascent of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the brook before the Wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Position yourselves, stand still and see the salvation of the LORD, who is with you, O Judah and Jerusalem!’ Do not fear or be dismayed; tomorrow go out against them, for the LORD is with you.” (2 Chronicles 20:16-17). It would take an extraordinary measure of faith to stand still, as a nation and believe that God would deliver them from the impending battle. 

The next day, Jehoshaphat prepared his army, to stand against the enemy. However, instead of entering the battle with foot soldiers or archers, he put musicians and singers on the front lines and commanded them to sing praises to the Lord (2 Chronicles 2:21). In the natural, it may have seemed like an illogical decision and poor battle strategy to put inexperienced civilians on the front lines, but Jehoshaphat chose to lead with praise. Before the battle was fought or even won, he exalted the Lord. Jehoshaphat put greater trust in God than in his army and military might. Like the psalmist expressed at Psalms 18:3 (ESV), Jehoshaphat wholeheartedly believed that “I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.” Understanding the power of praise, King Jehoshaphat and his army chose to glorify the Lord, and not one of their enemies were able to survive that mighty weapon.

King Jehoshaphat’s appeal for help was simple and humble. Like Jehoshaphat, we can run to the Lord in times of trouble, when we feel surrounded on all sides and defeated. It may not be easy admitting that we are powerless and in need of help, but humbly seeking God is a step toward victory.  It is only in God’s strength and power that we can “push back our enemies” (Psalms 44:5-6). Like Jehoshaphat we need to humbly seek the Lord, and praise Him in the middle of our battles. God is waiting for us to praise him in the middle of our storms and remember his faithfulness and might, despite our circumstances. When we make praise our weapon, heaven comes to fight for us (Psalms 144:1-2,15). The enemy may come against us, but God is with us in the battle. All you have to do is raise a hallelujah!