Sometimes life can get in the way of God. It is difficult to see the forest through the trees. There is so much garbage and stress everywhere we turn. I received a great package in the mail today of another curriculum to review, but it was oddly discouraging at first. Not the product, but it made me think of something else. I am purposely being vague about what it is and why it was discouraging because I do not want that to reflect poorly on my future review of the product. And the product actually is an answer to prayer and something I've been looking forward to teaching my kids. So what's my point? After being discouraged, I took a few moments to stop and pray about it, but then had get kids ready for activities.
After the activities finished, we came home to start the bedtime routine. Chris always reads the boys a story, and then reads from their boys' devotional Bible. Tonight, their reading was from 2 Chronicles, chapter 20. When I'm looking for encouragement, 2 Chronicles is not normally the first book that pops into my head. That is one of the history books that talks about wars, and Israel doing evil in the eyes of the Lord, then repenting and repeating the circle all over again. I should know by now that the Living Word is meaningful and encouraging in every book. It just always amazes and awes me that scriptures seem to show up just when I seem to need them.
I am going to highlight a few verses from the chapter that hit me the hardest, but I highly encourage you to read the whole chapter for yourself. At this time, Jehoshaphat is king of Judah. They are at war with Moab and Ammon. It appears that the people of Judah at this time are in the stage of serving the Lord. A Levite named Jahaziel is speaking in verse 15 "Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: 'Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God's.'". Jahaziel may have been speaking to Jehoshaphat and the Judeans, but the Lord was speaking directly to me today. In verse 17, he goes on to say, "You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you." Goose bumps. Then, they get ready to go out to the battle. Verse 21 says, "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.' 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." WOW!!!!!!! Seriously? They sang praises to God, and He did the rest.
That reminds me of another story. Let's skip ahead several hundred years to the book of Acts, chapter 16. Paul and Silas were in prison. What would you do if you were thrown in prison today? I imagine most of us would carry on some sort of whoa-is-me act. What did Paul and Silas do in prison? Why, they prayed and sang praises to God, of course. I'm sure most of you know what happened next. Verse 26 says, "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." Through that incident, the jailer and his whole family were saved.
The bottom line is simple. No matter your battles today, "Give thanks to the Lord, for His love endures forever." Sing praise, sing praise today, tomorrow, and always. Let God handle the tough stuff. Peace and blessings.