Sent: Friday, November 30, 2001

Subject: Don’t Open Fire…Open Your Mouth

Dear Ethan & Emily:

Confronted with an overwhelming enemy army (2 Chronicles 20), the men of Judah went out to battle against Moab, Ammon, and their allies…not with arms and weapons…but with a band of singers walking ahead of the army “…singing to the Lord and praising Him for His holy splendor.”  (v. 21)   I know this sounds like a crazy military strategy but it was what God had said to do…and that made it the “only” thing to do!

Using a man named Jahaziel, God had earlier told King Jehoshaphat:  “This is what the Lord says:  Do not be afraid!  Don’t be discouraged by this mighty army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s….you will not even need to fight.  Take your positions; then stand still and watch the Lord’s victory…Do not be afraid or discouraged.  Go out there…for the Lord is with you!”  (vv. 15 – 17)

The result?  As you would expect, God did not fail…and He will not today:  “At the moment they began to sing and give praise, the Lord caused the (enemy) armies…to start fighting among themselves….so when the army of Judah arrived…there were dead bodies lying on the ground for as far as they could see.  Not a single one of the enemy had escaped.”  (vv 22 – 24)

The battle site was called the Valley of Blessing “which got its name that day because the people praised and thanked the Lord there.” (v. 26)

What was the key element here?  What triggered the victory?  Yes, you’re right…It was the “moment they began to sing and give praise.”  This was not something just for that occasion or a new concept…it is a principle that runs throughout God’s Word.  Over and over, God has told us that He doesn’t want gifts and sacrifices (of whatever kind):  “I don’t need the bulls you sacrifice; I don’t need the blood of goats.  What I want instead is your true thanks…Trust me in your times of trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”  Psalm 50: 13 – 15)  Later in this passage, God sums things up:  “…giving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors me.” (v. 23) 

In Psalm 69: 30 – 32, the Psalmist declares:  “…I will praise God’s name with singing, and I will honor Him with thanksgiving.  For this will please the Lord more than sacrificing an ox or presenting a bull with its horns and hooves.  The humble will see their God at work and be glad.  Let all who seek God’s help live in joy.” 

Do you get it?  God wants those needing help…those faced with trials and problems of whatever kind…to live in joy!  And how do we get this?….by praising and thanking God. 

So…when you find yourself tempted to worry…when “enemies” oppose you and you don’t know what to do, don’t feel alone.  Jehoshaphat was only being honest when he told the Lord:  “We do not know what to do, but we are looking for You to help.” (2 Chron. 20: 12)  Ever feel that way?  Sure you do…we all do…But we are blessed and we also find peace, joy, and victory as we sing praises to God and thank Him for His faithfulness.  

Sometimes the problems we face just seem overwhelming, but be reminded nothing is too big for God to handle.  In his final final comments to the Israelites just before they prepared to cross the Jordan River into the land promised them, Moses declared:  “When you go out to fight your enemies and you face horses and chariots and an army greater than your own, do not be afraid.  The Lord your God, who brought you safely out of Egypt, is with you!…Do not lose heart or panic.  For the Lord your God is going with you!  He will fight for you against your enemies, and He will give you victory!” 

Plain enough for me and I hope for you:  When things seem to be overwhelming you and you feel you are under attack…Don’t open fire…Open your mouth!

Have a great day serving and experiencing all the blessings God has provided for us.

My love,