Here we are, on Day 4 in the four day series of the reading plan, Finding Merry: Experiencing joy this Christmas. It has been my fervent prayer that God is using this space to help you connect with Himself and His Word for whatever you need in this season right now. It is my pleasure to walk with you. I am so excited about where we are going, let’s get right to it: Sing.
Read the following verses from 2 Chronicles 20:
Meanwhile all Judah stood before the LORD, with their little ones, their wives, and their children. And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jahaziel the son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite of the sons of Asaph, in the midst of the assembly. And he said, “Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, ‘Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”
Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the LORD, worshiping the LORD. And the Levites, of the Kohathites and the Korahites, stood up to praise the LORD, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice.
In the morning
And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.” And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say,
“Give thanks to the LORD,
for his steadfast love endures forever.”
And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.
When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped. 2 Chronicles 20:13-24
We left the King of Judah with his eyes on the Lord, listening to God for an answer to his impossible crisis. Outnumbered with the enemy quickly encroaching, the entire community prayed. The word of the Lord came to Jahaziel, the prophet, whose message had three parts:
- The battle was not really his, but belonged to the Lord;
- The king still had a responsibility to show up and lead and Jahaziel provided specifics about the battle plan; to
- Stand firm, don’t be afraid and hold your position. The king would not need to fight.
At this moment, all the King of Judah had was the words of a guy in the crowd. He could have turned to his own wisdom. There was NO EVIDENCE that God was going to fight for him. None. Jehoshaphat could have questioned, balked, writhed, and instigated his own master plan, just in case God didn’t come through. (Sound familiar?)
But instead, this man took God at His Word to the extreme that he put the choir BEFORE the army. When they started to sing, God went to work.
This is the way God does His work
I know it doesn’t make any sense, but this is the way God does His work. We draw near. Jesus goes before us. You and I listen and show up. And before we see Him do anything good in our lives, we praise Him. We sing. I don’t know where God has placed you in this particular season of life, but for most, it’s not absent of the need to resist turning inward, focusing on hardships, the pain, insurmountable problems, and the looming unknowns hanging in the shadows.
Let me encourage you in the manner of Jehoshaphat. Before He has cleared the fog or erased your suffering–before He has done anything for you at all…sing.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
I know it doesn’t make sense to put the choir ahead of the army any more than it seems logical to sing when you have not the soul or energy to speak the words. Look beyond yourself and sing. You and I have more than enough reason to find the joy, to focus on the baby, and to look toward the Savior for His magnificent gift.
Wherever you are, I pray you experience the merry that is Christmas.
Go back to the beginning at Day One here.
You can catch Day Three here.
You can also find a version of this plan at www.bible.com or on the free YouVersion app.
with much affection,