Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Raise Your Voices, Not Your Swords

Last week I posted a verse about God fighting for you. I knew someone needed to hear it and, it turned out, there was more than one someone! Thanks for the Facebook messages, comments and emails letting me know that God used that verse in your life.

Today in my Bible reading, I found this passage that went perfectly with the verse I posted:

2 Chronicles 20:20-25 (New International Version)

20 Early in the morning they left for the Desert of Tekoa. As they set out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, "Listen to me, Judah and people of Jerusalem! Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." 21 After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying:
"Give thanks to the LORD,
for his love endures forever."

22 As they began to sing and praise, the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated. 23 The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. After they finished slaughtering the men from Seir, they helped to destroy one another.

24 When the men of Judah came to the place that overlooks the desert and looked toward the vast army, they saw only dead bodies lying on the ground; no one had escaped. 25 So Jehoshaphat and his men went to carry off their plunder, and they found among them a great amount of equipment and clothing and also articles of value—more than they could take away. There was so much plunder that it took three days to collect it.

I think it's easy to read verses like the ones I posted about God fighting on our behalf and think, "Well that's nice but how's that going to look in real time?" That's why I loved this story. It shows an example of God literally fighting on behalf of His people. My Bible note says, "Either angelic creatures or inhabitants of the area ambushed the invaders." (Ryrie: Verse 21)

Did you get that?? While the people were singing and praising God, He made it so that their enemies were defeated even as they sang. They didn't have to do anything. Except of course, persevere in praising Him.

I think that what God told the prophet to tell the people to do is key. He told the people to sing His praises-- to focus on Him. Just like Peter stepping into the ocean, they needed only to keep their eyes on Him and not what was happening. I am sure this answer was not what they were expecting. They expected to raise their swords and head into battle. Instead they raised their voices. God, as usual, worked in opposition to what we would expect.

On Friday I told you to pray instead of worry. And that's a good suggestion. But today I am amending that a bit. I am suggesting that you sing instead. Let praises fill your mind instead of worries. Turn off the voices that are crowding your thoughts and turn up some praise music. While you are singing God will be working. And when He works, the plunder is more than you can carry.
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Mari said...

Thanks husband didn't get the job offer today, so today has been hard. We feel defeated and anxious.
So...I will choose to praise Him and continue to wait. Please lift us know just where I am today I am sure.

KC said...

I came here to tell you how much I enjoyed reading your book while I was on vacation. It was great!! I didn't want to put it down. It truly was one that I picked up every spare minute I had until it was done and then I was sad it was over. But, anyway, thank you for using your gift to write to encourage ladies in their relationships with people and most of all, God. I was also blessed by the blog today. I lead worship at a small church in Kentucky.... Sometimes forgetting the role that praise and worship has for the believer..epecially when we get bogged down with the day to day tasks and scheduling...blah, blah, blah. But I am reminded that we are not just "singing"...we are placing ourselves in position so God can fight for us...I love that! Thanks, again. God bless you and your beautiful family!!

Anonymous said...

Amen, Marybeth!
Maria in CT

Lisa A said...


This story was perfect for me, and was used by our guest speaker last night. I shared on Scripture Dig ( that your post yesterday helped me to understand a little more what God has been trying to get me to see. The other verse that keeps rolling around is Romans 8:11.

Since deciding to follow God's call, my husband and I have been experiencing a lot of attacks designed to get us off the path we have committed to take. From appliance and car issues to new clients disappearing, it has been a struggle to stay committed to this path. Our bible school starts in August and we WILL walk this path, but your post was a good reminder and very much appreciated.