May 18
Praise in Troubled Times

2 Chronicles 20

Faced with his nation's certain demise, King Jehoshaphat responded with worship. Read his prayer in today's passage, and you may find it difficult to separate the petition from the praise. Going deeper than familiar expressions like "hallelujah" and "praise the Lord," his prayer celebrates God's personhood and extols His virtues.

Furthermore, the king led the nation in glorifying God for His past redemption. As the Israelites focused on the Lord (and away from the incoming armies), the people recalled anew how He had intervened, sometimes dramatically. This was exactly what God had told the Israelites to do—to instruct their children about His ways so they could honor Him every day (Deut. 6:7). This builds courage and strengthens faith.

The people's praise paved the way for their complete dependence upon Him. The odds of the small Israelite army beating the united force of three enemies were slim. However, in the people's worshipful state of mind, they could admit their weakness and await divine intervention. God gave them an outrageous solution to the problem: to do nothing. Even so, Israel was spiritually prepared to go against human reason and obey. God loves it when we throw ourselves upon His mercy, because then His power can be released in its fullness.

God is also willing to lead you to victory in troubled times. The Israelites' story is recorded in His Word so that all believers may apply its principles. Bend your heart and mind toward the Lord, and He will enlarge your vision of who He is and what He can do on your behalf.

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