Sometimes this life can wear me out. You? I begin to feel the weight of the burdens assigned to this life: work, keeping a house, meal planning, kids, grocery shopping, bill paying, discipline, church work, the list goes on. The swirling dust of the world begins to choke me. I begin to feel defeated. I need a victory over the darkness I feel creeping in. Do you ever feel that way?
In times like this we need to worship God. There are many ways to worship God, but today I am referring to praise through singing. Now, this may bring about images of church services or jamming out in your car (I often wonder if my kids know what the radio sounds like without me singing along to it). These are good, but let’s break this wide open to understand some of the true power that can be released when we sincerely worship God. Let me tell you a true story that happened long ago. This story is found in 2 Chronicles chapter 20.
Jehoshaphat was king of Judah and was facing a huge problem; a HUGE army in fact. Jehoshaphat had gotten word that an army of multiple countries was coming his way to make war with him and the people of Judah. They were vastly outnumbered and things looked bleak. The king sought help from the Lord. He ordered a fast and gathered the people of the nation together at the temple courtyard in Jerusalem. Jehoshaphat prayed to God, (see verses 6 – 12). The final lines of the prayer: “For we are powerless against this great horde that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” (That last line is epic.)
While families stood together before the Lord, God spoke through a man named Jahaziel. He told King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah not to be afraid of this vast army, “Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed at this great horde, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.” (v. 15). After this the people praised and worshiped God.
The time came for the men of Judah to move out toward their enemy:
“And when [Jehoshaphat] 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.’ 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. When Judah came to the watchtower of the wilderness, they looked toward the horde, and behold, there were dead bodies lying on the ground; none had escaped.” - 2Chronicles 20:21-24
The worshipers were placed at the head of the army to praise God! When they began to sing, God acted and caused their enemies to fight against each other. By the time the army of Judah arrived, all were dead; that massive army of multiple countries was destroyed. God had fought the battle for them just as he said he would.
Worship from a surrendered heart is undeniably powerful; God’s word provides the proof. When you praise and sing to God in sincerity it causes your heart to move nearer to God’s heart. Psalms 100:2 tells us to “Come into his presence with singing!” We gain access to God through our worship of him!
Worship is how we show our adoration for our God; it is a time of expression of his worthiness and greatness. It reminds us of our desperate need for him - worship places God back in his proper place as Lord of our life.
Ladies, I want you to remember this power the next time you begin to choke on life. Begin worshiping God with a sincere heart - knowing that your words are reaching his ears and that he is working in your life and in your heart as you praise him. He is drawing you nearer to himself as you exalt him - now that is victory!
My two boys have been sick this week with the stomach flu. This nasty bug is making the circuit fast, so maybe you have been dealing with some of the same things I have. In the middle of switching out puke buckets it can be hard to remember to still praise God, so I made myself try to brainstorm some blessings I have experienced out of this. Here are a few that I have come up with:
God is amazing, there is ALWAYS grace to be found in every situation. After meditating on these blessings I found myself happy my kids had been sick…what an odd statement…but not untrue. God desires us to look to him in all circumstances and to praise him for managing our daily divine assignments. Yes, divine and ordered by God no matter how mundane (or messy) they seem.
This experience brings two verses to mind. “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” from 1 John 3:1(NIV) and “For from his [Jesus’] fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16. When you are adopted as a child of God his love is lavished upon you and his grace stacked high. All from the abundance found in Jesus! This is not an occasional sprinkling like from a little squirt gun but like a continual flowing from a wide open fire hydrant. Live joyously in this current, knowing that all things coming at you flow first through the loving hands of God himself.
My boys only had the flu and not cancer or a debilitating illness. Yet, this is where thanksgiving in all circumstances starts (1 Thessalonians 5:18), in the small, ordinary occurrences of life. When larger and more difficult moments come, you are practiced in trusting God and are able to worship him in the midst of it. If it doesn’t happen in daily life, it won’t happen when life’s true trials come.
Ladies, what has God brought you to today...this week...this year? Stop to find his grace in the middle of it. Where do you see good coming from it, how about spiritual growth or a training up of your soul? Still finding that hard? Then look at Jesus and think on the love he had for you that drove him to the cross and how he broke death so that our eternity can be forever sweet and glorious with him. Everything pales when staring into the face of Jesus Christ.
Let’s praise him today no matter what you are going through. Find his love lavished and his grace stacked high at all times for those who love him.
The word “stupid” is taboo in many households. I’ve heard more than a few moms refer to it as the “s-word”. This is understandable especially for those with young children who are unable to use it appropriately. Like referring to their little sister as stupid would certainly be wrong.
Having said this, the word “stupid” is allowed at our house. My children are older, but I also feel it can be a very accurate word for very specific circumstances. It is found in the Bible, twelve times in the ESV to be exact; all Old Testament, five times alone in Jeremiah. The Hebrew word translated “stupid” is “ba’ar”. Which means “stupid, brutish, like cattle” according to blueletterbible.org.
Often “stupid” in the Bible is used in reference to someone who does not accept God’s rule or wisdom. As in Proverbs 12:1, “Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.” (this is where I first read it and found myself laughing out loud and being surprised at the bluntness) and Psalm 92:6-7, “The stupid man cannot know; the fool cannot understand this: that though the wicked sprout like grass and all evildoers flourish, they are doomed to destruction forever.”
I think it is an accurate description to call hating instruction from the Lord stupid. If someone hates to be corrected by the Creator of the Universe, the only one who is all-knowing and perfect, I think it can be a fitting adjective.
Now I don’t think we should go around calling the lost stupid, maybe foolish is a more gentle term and more social acceptable to an extent. But to live as an enemy of God seems plain stupid to me. This is blindness at its peak, designed by God in order that his seeing children may live in sharp contrast to the foolishness around them. It also allows those of us who used to walk in this same ignorance (all of us) to feel the joy of now having an understanding of the marvelousness of Jesus Christ.
Another way “stupid” is used in the Bible is in reference to those who worship idols instead of the Living God. Jeremiah 10:8, “They are both stupid and foolish; the instruction of idols is but wood!” and Jeremiah 10:14 (identical words in Jeremiah 51:17), “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them.”
Worshiping idols is stupid, period. Giving of yourself to an object, another person or an emotion instead of the God of gods and King of kings is unintelligent and utterly shameful. Do not trust a graven image, a statue, a job, money, a marriage or love of a child to save you. They are dead dust with no authority and certainly no eternally redemptive power. Worship God alone, only he is worthy.
Now “stupid” should be used sparingly and only when accurate and appropriate. Many times other words can be fitting, however, I feel there are certain times when “stupid” is dead on and just right.
So, Ladies, my advice to you today is simple: don’t be stupid. Seek God, be in the Word and love his knowledge, worship God alone and flee from idol worship in your life. Work at gaining wisdom for the glory of the King like instructed in 2 Peter 3:18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”