Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, bowed down before the Lord in fasting and prayer. As related in 2 Chronicles 20, a great multitude of Judah’s enemies was gathering to come against Jehoshaphat in battle. In fear, knowing his people were incapable in their own strength of overcoming the enemy, he cried out to God. “O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?… We have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” The Lord responded: “Be not afraid nor dismayed by reason of this great multitude; for the battle is not yours, but God’s.… Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD.”
The next morning, with faith and confidence in God’s word, Jehoshaphat appointed singers that went before the army praising the beauty of holiness. “Praise the Lord; for his mercy endureth for ever.” When they began to sing and praise, the Lord placed ambushments against the enemy and they were slain. God gave a wonderful victory to His people. Rather than murmur in fear and despair because of their dire circumstances, they placed their faith and confidence in God and sang and gave praise to the Lord.
There is great power in praise! The enemy is defeated when God is exalted with honor and adoration. Many a spiritual battle has been won when God’s people have lifted their hearts and mouths in praise. Praise to God through exclamation, testimony, and song opens the gates to the very presence of God, for God inhabits praise (Psalm 22:3). When the Goliaths and walls of Jericho are before you, it is time to praise God and acknowledge His power and strength. Remember the children of Israel marching around the wall of Jericho in silence for six days. On the seventh day they marched around seven times. On the seventh and final time, at the command of the Lord, the people shouted with a great shout when the priests blew the trumpets, for the Lord had given them the city. When they shouted, the walls of Jericho fell down flat and they took the city (Joshua 6:16-20). Praise be to God! Sometimes people can barely get out a quiet word of thanks to God and then they wonder why the walls in their lives remain. A true shout of spiritual merit is that which wells up from within because of the Spirit of God. The Lord is great, and greatly to be praised.
Praise to the Lord, through faith in God, during the darkest night will bring about change. Praise helps an individual refocus on God rather than on the weakness of self and the physical realities of the battle. It brings one’s attention back to the One who is able to do all things. In times of discouragement and stress, praise to God opens a gateway to Heaven whereby the spirit is renewed and refreshed.
In Acts 16:22-26, Paul and Silas were unjustly beaten with many stripes, thrown into the inner prison, and their feet were placed in stocks. If anyone had the right to complain and be bitter, it was these men. The seeming result of their desire to share the gospel and work for God was darkness, blood, dirt, captivity, and pain. At midnight, when they could have cried tears of regret and loneliness, they began to pray and sing praises to God. These were not prayers of self-pity but of thanksgiving and victory as indicated by their song. In what looked like defeat, they found victory in spirit through magnifying God in praise. In persecution and suffering, Jesus was still worthy to be exalted as Lord of lords and King of kings. The night was dark but the joy of the Lord was their strength. As they sang those wonderful songs of praise and victory, there was a great earthquake and the prison began to shake. The prison doors swung open and everyone’s bands fell off. Deliverance had come though the avenue of praise.
Child of God, lift up your head and give God praise. Trust not in the things which are seen but in the One who has all power in heaven and in earth. No matter the darkness, no matter how high the walls, no matter how steep the mountain or how low the valley, no matter how hot the fire or how severe the trial, look to Jesus and praise Him. Praise Him for salvation. Praise Him for His mercy. Praise Him for His goodness and His love. The power of God works through praise in spite of the storm. Praise to God paves the way for a greater manifestation of God’s power. In spite of feeling, lift up the Lord with sincere gratitude and praise. Sing and shout the praises of the Lord and the enemy will be defeated. Praise the Lord!