As we face COVID fears, racial unrest, and political upheaval, America is in the midst of a battle. It’s a demonic division that keeps us constantly battling one another: maskers and non-maskers, Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives.
But as believers, we know our battle is not against flesh and blood. Spiritual battles require spiritual weapons. What we need is a breakthrough. We need God to send revival to the church. We need the dry bones to live again because one thing I know from Scripture is that God doesn’t save us from every trial and tribulation, but He teaches us how to overcome in Him.
That’s why I am sharing this 5-part series on the keys to breakthrough from the story of Jehoshaphat in 2 Chronicles. One of my favorite accounts in Scripture, it shows us a strategy for seeking God in the midst of a difficult situation.
When faced with an enemy he had no power against, Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, turned his whole nation to the Lord through fasting, prayer, and seeking the Word of the Lord.
But then he did something we often overlook. He sent the praise team out into the battle.
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. Then some Levites from the Kohathites and Korahites stood up and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice.
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.’ 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.'”2 Chronicles 20:18-21, NIV
Key #4: Worship
You see, Jehoshaphat didn’t just make this up. He prepared himself to be led by the Spirit of God through fasting, prayer, and hearing the Word of the Lord. Now he was moving forward, fully prepared for battle. And the first priority in battle was praise.
You may be thinking, “How can we praise God for all the suffering and division in the world right now?”
We praise Him because God is still good and His love endures forever. That’s what these men went out at the head of the army declaring. They were in a tough spot. It was a vast army. Their very lives were at stake. The future of a nation was at stake.
The situation was dire, but the God they served was still good. He was still on His throne. And they gave Him the thanks and praise that He deserves.
I’m reminded of another serious situation in which worship was warfare.
Paul and Silas were on a missionary journey when they were severely beaten and thrown in prison for casting a demonic spirit out of a girl.
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose.”Acts 16:25-26
These men had been severely flogged and thrown in prison. I’m not sure we really understand the weight of the words “severely flogged.” We get upset if someone disagrees with our beliefs on social media. These men were tortured for theirs.
Yet they were praying and singing hymns to their God. And look what happened: “…everybody’s chains came loose.”
That’s what our worship does. It lifts up the One who has the power to break every chain and set the captive free.
Do you know why? Because worship takes our eyes off ourselves and our situation and puts them solely on the One who is able to do something about our situation.
It’s not that God doesn’t care about our problem. He just wants us to look to Him for help. You may have to praise Him through your tears. You may be only able to whisper His name. God sees your tears. He hears your whisper. As you begin to praise Him, the chains will be loosed in Jesus’ name.
We were never promised that there wouldn’t be trouble. We live in a fallen world full of sin and darkness.
“Jesus said, ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.'”John 16:33
But since Jesus has overcome the world, He deserves all of our praise, even when the world around us seems to be falling apart.
Imagine if all of us in the body of Christ decided to seek God for breakthrough right now. What if we laid down our phones and our remotes and picked up the weapons of our warfare?
“For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”2 Corinthians 10:3-4
What if like Jehoshaphat and Paul and Silas we all came together in worship and praised our way through the darkness? What if we picked up our weapons of fasting, praying, standing on the Word, and declaring that no matter what, our God reigns and His love endures forever?
Our worship silences the enemy (Psalm 8:2) and lifts up the King who reigns over all things–coronaviruses, politics, and division. Church, we have been distracted and divided for too long.
Let’s take a lesson from Jehoshaphat and begin to declare our complete dependence upon our God who is faithful and true.
“‘For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.'”2 Chronicles 20:12b