The war cry could be heard in the distance. The stomp of men’s feet and horses’ hooves echoed like thunder across the desert.
“Jehoshaphat! Jehoshaphat!” came the frantic call. “They are coming! A multitude too numerous to count!“
Jehoshaphat sat up in his seat and trembled with fear. The Ammonites and the Moabites and the people of Mount Seir were all vicious enemies of God’s people. And now they were coming to attack the land of Judah. Jehoshaphet called out to his servants to gather all the people of Judah together. He said, “Let us fast and pray and seek the face of the LORD!” So all the cities came together and fasted, calling out to God for help. They cried, they pled, they listened, and they prayed some more, lifting their voices to heaven and saying, “We are powerless in the face of this great multitude coming against us! We don’t know what to do…but our eyes are on You.”
This story in 2 Chronicles 20 is one of my favorites in all of Scripture. We have all felt like we were up against an enemy we don’t know how to defeat. We have all experienced the trembling fear in our bodies and the anxiety in the pit of our stomach as we’ve run to the Lord begging for help. But this story is different from every other war story in the Bible.
If I had been in charge, I might have found my best and bravest men and sent them to battle. Or I might have sought counsel from my wisest advisers and offered a peace treaty to the approaching enemy. Jehoshaphat did not do any of those things. He didn’t send out the bravest soldiers and the toughest men, nor did he try to bargain with the people of Moab, Ammon and Mount Seir. Instead, he instructed the singers and musicians to go out before the army and sing.
The Bible doesn’t record any complaints or vehement opposition from the people of Judah. Instead the Word of God tells us that the singers rose up and began to sing and praise the Lord. And the enemies heard the singing.
“Give thanks to the Lord! Yes, give thanks to our God for His lovingkindness is everlasting!”
The people lifted their voices and the songs of praise and of victory echoed across the desert, louder than the marching of soldier’s feet and the horses’ hooves. Thunderous praise rang out and the enemies were astounded. As the music continued, the Lord ambushed the enemies. Suddenly the people of Ammon and the people of Moab turned against the people of Mount Seir and destroyed them! After they were slaughtered, Ammon and Moab turned against each other! The invading armies literally self-destructed. When the people of Judah came to the site, they saw the bodies of the enemy on the ground. Not one had escaped.
Can you imagine?
God’s people didn’t have to do a thing, just sing.
There is a lesson in this story.
Did you know that the command to praise the Lord is the most repeated command in all of Scripture? Over and over we are told to praise the Lord, to give thanks unto the Lord, to take our instruments and magnify the Lord and to sing of His enduring faithfulness. In the worst moments of my life, singing has turned my focus off of myself and my situation and onto the Lord of heaven who is good and faithful and true.
When everything seems to be going wrong, when I have felt surrounded by problems or vicious people, a song of praise has paved the path towards victory.
Too often, we would rather wallow in our problems than worship the God of glory.
Sister, when the enemy surrounds you with thoughts, with worries, with scary decisions or with catastrophic news, do your crying and praying but make sure you sing! When you hear the war cry of the enemy, lift up your voice and sing. When your body trembles with fear of the unknown, just look up to the God you know – and sing!
Victory is up ahead.