When facing an impending crisis at work, most of us do not think to pause and praise God. To many in the workplace, the thought of praising God during a crisis seems nonsensical.
But much of what seems strange to the world actually makes sense to God.
To praise God after he performs a miracle is one thing, but to praise God in anticipation of his miracle is different. This principle, praising God in anticipation of his intervention, is the core message of Jehoshaphat’s story recorded in 2 Chronicles 20:1-22.
The Bible describes Jehoshaphat as a highly respected leader. He became King of Judah when only thirty-five years old. He was honorable and blessed—a man of influence and accomplishment.
Late in his reign, Jehoshaphat faced his greatest challenge when a large enemy army gathered to attack the nation of Judah. The way Jehoshaphat responded to this challenge demonstrates the power of praising God in times of crisis.
Consider the following excerpts from 2 Chronicles 20:1-22.
2 Chronicles 20:2-3 describes the prelude to the enemy attack:
“Some men came and told Jehoshaphat, ‘A vast army is coming against you.’ … Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord.”
The advance of this “vast army” was a serious threat, and a matter of life or death for the people of Judah. As Judah’s leader, Jehoshaphat turned to God before making any tactical decisions.
2 Chronicles 20:6 and 12 reveal that Jehoshaphat’s first words to God were words of praise, not panic:
“O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you … For we have no power to face this vast army that is attacking us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon you.”
2 Chronicles 20:17 provides God’s response to Jehoshaphat:
“Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you.”
Standing firm and facing the enemy demonstrated Jehoshaphat’s faith. Jehoshaphat was brave, not cowardly; he was decisive, not hesitant. Jehoshaphat took God’s side in the battle.
2 Chronicles 20:18-21 is the key to the story:
In these verses, Jehoshaphat praises God again, but this time with “all the people of Judah and Jerusalem.”
“Jehoshaphat bowed with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord … and praised the Lord, the God of Israel, with very loud voice … Have faith in the Lord your God and you will be upheld … 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.’”
Jehoshaphat and the people didn’t cower before their enemy or blame God for their enemy’s advance. Instead, they “praised the Lord” for the victory that was sure to come.
2 Chronicles 20:22 describes Jehoshaphat’s God-supplied victory.
“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.”
The people sang praises, God “set” the ambushes, and together their mutual enemy was “defeated.” This is how God works. When facing a serious trial, be quick to praise him for his greatness before asking for his intercession.
Trust in Psalm 18:3 which says, “I call to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I am saved from my enemies.”