And when he had taken counsel with the people, he appointed those who were to sing to the LORD and praise him in holy attire, as they went before the army, and say, Give thanks to the LORD, for his steadfast love endures forever.
2 Chronicles 20:21 (ESV)
When Jehoshaphat was king over Judah the people of Moab, Ammon and others came to battle against him. Upon hearing the news Jehoshaphat was scared and called a fast throughout all Judah to seek the face of the Lord. In the midst of the fast the Spirit of the Lord moved on the heart of Jahaziel to prophesy God’s victory for Judah over their enemies.
Jahaziel said to Israel, Listen, all Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem and King Jehoshaphat: Thus says the LORD to you, Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours but God’s. Tomorrow go down against them. Behold, they will come up by the ascent of Ziz. You will find them at the end of the valley, east of the wilderness of Jeruel. You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you. (2 Chronicles 20:15-17 ESV)
Israel responded: And when they began to sing and praise, the LORD set an ambush against the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, who had come against Judah, so that they were routed. For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another. (2 Chronicles 20:22-23 ESV) Judah didn’t fight that day; God did. Judah didn’t shout at the enemy. They praised their God. It was the manifest presence of God that put the enemy to flight.
God inhabits the praises of his people (Psalm 22:3). On occasion we need only to position ourselves in worship and stand still to behold his salvation. This concept goes much deeper than our expressions of praise and worship; it entails a lifestyle of praise and worship. The Amplified Bible renders 2 Chronicles 20:21 this way: When he (Jehoshaphat) had consulted with the people, he appointed singers to sing to the Lord and praise him in their holy [priestly] garments.
It is not merely the expressions of our praise and worship that brings the presence of God. It isn’t necessarily how loud we shout or how low we bow. It is the obedient bringing of our offerings of praise clothed in the priestly garments of holiness. In other words worshiping the Lord decorated with sanctity. A life of worship is one that is decorated in holiness. That is the worship that attracts the presence of God.
Though there may be times when we need to fight and address the enemy, there may also be times when we need only to address or worship the Father. He will make sure the enemy gets the message. As God is exalted with high praises we will see the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ.
Do you bring your praise and worship into the battle wearing holy, priestly garments?
Scriptures for meditation:
Psalm 9:3; 149:5-9