Sunday, May 6, 2012

Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord.

 Mere words are inadequate to describe this wondrous day thus far. God moved in the church service today...in all of my 21 years, I have never experienced a service so moving and emotional. There have been many times where I've come away from a church service and thought, "Wow. That was good." Today's service totally eclipsed anything else. Not that those other services are somehow diminished now in my mind...far from it. They keep getting better and I am gaining a hunger for Spirit-moved church services.

 This post is slightly out of order of the recent happenings in my life. But I really feel like sharing about today more than keeping with the "proper" order. I am now the happy owner of a new Rebel T3i. However, you shall not meet JJ (the camera) until some other day. For now, let these words soak into your soul.

 It is the story of King Jehoshaphat found in 2 Chronicles 20. You should read the whole story for yourself, but here is part of it.
vv. 1-4: After this, the Moabites and Ammonites with some of the Meunites came to make war on Jehoshaphat. (That's three different armies against one. Would that not be terrifying?) Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, "A vast army is coming against you from Edom, from the other side of the Sea. It is already in Hazazon Tamar" (that is, En Gedi). Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. vv. 14-21: Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: "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. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 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.'" 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 a 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 Jersualem! 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."

 "You will not have to fight this battle." The Lord told them not to fight. It is like a commanding officer saying to his team, "Men, stand down, stand down!" God promised to fight the battle for them...and before He had even fulfilled His promise, the people praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with a very loud voice. How often do we wait until we get our answer to prayer, until we receive the promises of God before we give Him praise? What about now? What about before the battle has even begun? What about during the battle? Praise Him. Just praise Him. 
 As Jehoshaphat prepared to lead the people to the desert, he appointed men to sing praises to the Lord and he placed these men at the head of the army. Wouldn't it make sense to place your strongest warriors at the forefront of such a march? Not so with God. Our first response to God should be praise. It must be praise. Even if it means praising Him for something that He hasn't even done yet. That is faith. That is believing in the promises of God. 
 The rest of the story goes on to say that as they sang, the Lord set up ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah and they were defeated. The men of Ammon and Moab rose up against the men from Mount Seir to destroy and annihilate them. When they had finished slaughtering the men from Mount Seir, they turned on each other, completely destroying one another. 
 When the men of Judah came to the place where the ambush took place, they looked toward the vast army...all they saw were dead bodies lying on the ground...no one had escaped. That is God fighting our battles for us. The enemies of Judah had been completely destroyed. They were wiped out. God does that for us. The same God that fought for Judah, fights for us today. If only we believe and praise Him.

Blessed Be Your Name

Blessed be Your name in the land that is plentiful.
Where Your streams of abundance flow, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name when I'm found in the desert place,
Though I walk through the wilderness, blessed be Your name.

Every blessing You pour out, I'll turn back to praise.
When the darkness closes in, Lord, still I will say,
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be the name of the Lord, blessed be Your glorious name.

Blessed be Your name, when the sun is shining down on me,
When the world is all as it should be, blessed be Your name.
Blessed be Your name on a road marked with suffering.
Though there's pain in the offering, blessed be Your name.

You give and take away, You give and take away.
My heart will choose to say, Lord blessed be Your name.

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