Step 7 – Praising and blessing the Lord
And Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground: and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell before the Lord, worshipping the Lord. And the Levites, of the children of the Kohathites, and of the children of the Korhites, stood up to praise the Lord God of Israel with a loud voice on high.
II Chronicles 20:18-19 (KJV)
And when he [Jehoshaphat] had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord; for His mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten.
II Chronicles 20:21-22
And on the fourth day they assembled themselves in the valley of Berachah; for there they blessed the Lord: therefore the name of the same place was called, The valley of Berachah, unto this day.
II Chronicles 20:26 (KJV)
It’s interesting to note that there are three places where there was praise or blessing was given unto the Lord. The first was after God spoke. The second was at the time of the battle. And the third was after the victory.
Praising God for His Word
There are times when God clearly speaks a Word to each of us. It may be spoken to us by somebody. It may be spoken to us in a dream. A particular portion of the Scripture may come to life. But God has always spoken, does speak and He will always speak to His people. If we are sure that God has spoken, it is actually the same as if He has done it. This is why the Levites praised God after the prophecy of Jahaziel. The answer to Jehoshaphat’s prayer actually arrives in verses 14-17 when God said through Jahaziel: “
Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the Lord…”
II Chronicles 20:17
When Judah heard this, they fell on their faces and worshipped, beginning with Jehoshaphat, and the Levites praised the Lord. If only we could have this kind of faith in His Word, that after we have heard It, we praise Him just as if it had already happened. That we would praise Him in advance of the victory. That we would praise Him because we have heard His Word and we believe Him. This is what Mary told Elizabeth after the angel Gabriel had visited her. Remember, Jesus had not been born. Perhaps she didn’t feel anything in her womb yet. She had only a Word. But she praised Him anyhow:
My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is His Name. And His mercy is on them that fear Him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with His arm; He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Praising the Lord at the time of battle
Let’s turn the camera to the camp of the Ammonites and the Moabites and the Edomites. The time is early in the morning (verse 20). Soldiers are buckling on their armour. Swords are being placed in scabbards. The generals are assessing the lay of the land, and finalizing strategies for attack. There is adrenalin in the camp. And then… wait, what’s that sound? Is that music I hear? Singing! The people of Judah are singing!
And so we see that praise is one thing we can do in the midst of battle. It sounds counter-intuitive, but imagine what it must look like to the devil when we praise the Lord in the midst of trouble that he (the devil) has orchestrated.. I’m quite sure he cannot stand it. There is an attitude I like to call a “Hallelujah anyhow” attitude. Those Ammonites are numerous, but hallelujah anyhow. They came with the Moabites too, but hallelujah anyhow. The Lord hasn’t healed me yet, but He said He would, so hallelujah anyhow. Hallelujah! Anyhow.
Blessing the Lord after the victory
The third time that Judah thanked the Lord, the Bible says they blessed the Lord. The Swahili word baraka is actually related to the word Berachah quoted in this Scripture. The word baraka in Swahili is Arabic in origin (e.g. Barack Obama) and Hebrew and Arabic share some words. The Bible says that after the enemy finished slaying one another, it took Judah three days just to collect the loot. On the fourth day, they said “Folks, we better bless the Lord.” Now, it is not good to be an ingrate. It is not pleasing to God to forget the things He has done for us or be ungrateful. Seems to me I can hear the hurt in the Master’s voice when He said:
“Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?”
God does not withhold the blessing because He knows we will be ungrateful. No, God’s heart is too big for that. But the least we ought to do is find time to thank Him and bless Him after He has done for us things we could never have done for ourselves. The people of Judah blessed God until that site was named the Valley of Blessing ever after. It became a memorial because of how they blessed Him. I like that. We too, ought to learn how to bless Him until our blessing of Him becomes memorable. Whether in song, or dance, or thanksgiving, offering, testimony or praise – it ought to be memorable, somehow.
In summary, we ought to remember to praise Him after He speaks, to praise Him during the battle and to bless Him after the victory.
Thank you for reading through these articles. I trust they have been a blessing to you. Remember, they will mean nothing to you or to me until we get down to it and pray. If there’s any way I can help you, feel free to let me know. May the Lord God bless you, and give you the faith and strength you will need on those early mornings and on those hungry afternoons/nights. And may He receive the glory that is due Him out of our lives as He answers our prayers.
Let us pray.