A few years ago I went through something really tough. Every time I prayed asking God for wisdom on how to walk through this difficult season He would remind me of His promises. Promises of things changing and me seeing victory in my situation and yet when I asked Him how to walk through to this victory one word would come back to me time after time – worship.
Worship!? This is not something I find hard; I love to worship my Father, He’s incredible and the more I know about Him, the more I want to worship Him. But I knew this word God had given me meant so much more.
This wasn’t just singing about how good God is. It was singing songs of trust that because He is good, I knew things would change. They had to. It was a heartfelt song declaring that my difficult circumstances had to shift, because I am a child of an incredibly good God. A song of trust. A song that declared how great God is from a heart that was thankful for Him changing my circumstances… even before they had changed.
This (for me at least!) was hard. As I started to sing questions filled my mind: what if He doesn’t come through, or I’ve heard wrong, what if God just doesn’t love me that much. I would never have put it into those words, never said “do You really love me enough to come through in this?” but when we doubt that He is for us, when we question whether He will turn our situation around, or whether He is really working everything for our good, aren’t we somehow deep down really questioning the depth of His love for us?
Have you ever read the story of Jehoshaphat? I would encourage you to pick up your Bible now and read 2 Chronicles 20:1-30 because as I did, everything changed.
This is such a powerful story of how worshiping God moved a people from being victims to complete overcomers, so much so that they came away from their situation with “more than they could carry away”. They ended their battle not defeated, damaged and in loss but instead in gain.
I know this, when we go through battles if we will lean into God and allow Him to walk us through them, we will never come out in a position of loss but always in gain.
These people were told “A great multitude is coming against you”. This was not in their distant future, a real army was actually on their way to attack them. Do you feel like that? This is not a distant reality to you, there is a very real attack coming against you now. Maybe you’ve had a bad doctors report, perhaps your child is going through something that you just don’t know how to deal with, maybe your finances are desperate. You are in the midst of an attack.
What do you do? I love what Jehoshaphat did. He was given a very bad report about this great multitude coming against him and his people. He doesn’t start moaning to God, telling him how bad things are (I’ve been there) but instead he starts declaring who God is:
O God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven, and do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is there not power and might, so that no one is able to withstand You?
– 2 Chronicles 20:6
He hasn’t yet seen the promise fulfilled, in fact God hasn’t even given him a specific promise over this situation yet! But before He hears an answer he starts by declaring what he knows to be true, who God is!
His words to God are the words that we should probably all speak when we enter an attack: “For we have no power against this great multitude that is coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.” Not starting with moaning or doubting, but resting assured in our actual reality, that no matter how bad things seem, we do not know what to do but God does and our eyes are on Him.
Jehoshaphat worshipped, he bowed down to God as did all the people with him. As they set out to go and meet this great army, Jehoshaphat appointed people to worship God, declaring His goodness as they faced this battle.
And what happened next is something that challenges me every time I read it:
Now when they began to sing and to praise, the Lord set ambushes against the people of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah; and they were defeated
– 2 Chronicles 20:22
God set an ambush against their enemies as they started to worship. As they lifted up God, as they thanked Him for who He is and for what He was about to do, even before he’d done it, then God defeated their enemy.
Their praise came first and then as they praised God brought breakthrough. Praise and then breakthrough.
Their worship made way for God’s breakthrough. My worship made way for mine. I wonder what yours will do for you.