The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated. - 2 Chronicles 20:22
I’m imagining a scene from Braveheart, but with ‘Shout to the Lord’ blaring.
There is so much to glean from this short verse about how to respond to a battle. Perhaps for you it’s a trial born out of this weird Covid season, a career blip, health scare, relationship issue. Whatever it is, I have no doubt we have all faced seemingly hopeless battles and still have more to come. Here are some encouragements from this verse:
1. The exposing moment of not being personally capable can be the starting point for a miracle.
They knew their army would not be able to win this battle and that they needed a miracle. It’s a classic case of everything on paper pointing to failure and hopelessness, until they surrender it to God.
2. The miracle happens in the exact moment they need it.
The verse says “THE MOMENT they began their shouts and praises…”, not a minute before or after they needed it. 100 people didn’t die first and then the ambush was set, it was as soon as they acknowledged their own weakness, surrendered to God and began to worship.
3. Worship, then worship some more.
They didn’t run and hide. They began shouting and praising. We read shortly after this verse that the words they started with were “Give thanks to the Lord, for His faithful love endures forever”. They watched the victory unfold, plundered the opposition and then congregated together to worship some more. Their response was not to say “Aw cool, that’s us done now”. It was, “WOAH THAT WAS INCREDIBLE, LET’S GIVE THANKS TO GOD”. To be clear, when they needed God to move, they praised and when the battle was over, they praised more.
Everyone loves a personal story, right? This verse reminds me of a time I was 18 and in an unexpected and ridiculous turn of events, had been left to lead a team through a mostly unexplored section of the jungle in Borneo. We’d trekked through a flooded area, passing snakes and other super gross jungle things, to do a church service for a village swept up in Animism. Both the journey and the service were eventful, leaving us with 1 hour of sunlight to do an extremely dangerous 3 hour hike. I felt helpless, more than aware of my lack of preparation for this moment, and desperate for a miracle. I was not thinking about the verse above, or the cool sun story in Joshua (I didn’t know the Bible well enough to have those reference points), but all I could hear was “start worshipping”. I shouted to the team to move fast and worship. I remember a long, breathless and tearful version of ‘How Great is Our God’ (it was scared crying, not “oh how lovely is this worship” kind of crying —straight up fear). I can’t explain it, but the sun did not go down until the moment we reached the gate of our next pick up point. On paper, it was hopeless. Nobody expected the sun not to go down (it’s not like we’d even prayed for that), but I was there and that’s what happened. It taught me that when you have no idea how things can possibly change, or how a battle can be won, you worship.
Apply this today:
If there’s an impossible battle you’re facing, here are some songs to help kickstart your shouts and praises; ‘Praise Before My Breakthrough’, ‘Raise a Hallelujah’, ‘Victory is Yours’, ‘See a Victory’.