Have you had days when everything seems to be going wrong? The other day, I was catching up with a close friend. We talked about life in general. She shared a proverb from her village.
“When you are trying to get rid of goats that entered your house, then you find out that sheep are also on your roof and cows are threatening to join the sheep.”
This proverb pretty much describes how problems in life can often get compounded and mount on top of each other.
Can you relate? Do you have times when it feels like you are constantly in the valley, and your problems seem so enormous?
My goats, sheep, and cows in this season are teenagers, marital and family conflicts, financial stress, health issues, work deadlines………. “Life!”
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah can certainly relate. Someone came and told him that the Ammonites and Moabites were on their way to attack him and the people of Judah (2 Chronicles 20).
How did Jehoshaphat respond to this news? He first inquired of the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah and led the people in worship to the place of hope. Together, they acknowledged God‘s Sovereign power over their enemies (2 Chronicles 20: 7-9). The king and all of Judah cried out to the Lord in distress.
O Lord God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in heaven?……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 20:6,12)
The Lord assured the people. “Do not be afraid of this vast army, for the battle is not yours but God’s.” (2 Chronicles 20:15)
The next day, Jehoshaphat encouraged the people to have faith in God. He instructed the men who led the army to sing praise and worship God in his holiness and splendor. They sang,
Give thanks to the Lord,
for his love endures forever. (2 Chronicles 20:21)
When the people of Judah began to praise God, something miraculous happened… the Lord set the enemy to self-destruct. The Moabites and Ammonites destroyed the inhabitants of Seir, then they turned around and destroyed each other. When Jehoshaphat and his people came to the battleground, they saw only dead bodies.
No one had escaped.
The people went back to Jerusalem singing with harps, lyres, and trumpets…they sang praise to God.
Did you catch that? This battle was won by singing praise to the Lord.
Oftentimes, when I go through seasons where the goat is in the house, sheep are on the roof, and cows about to climb on top of that, I forget to praise God. In the valley, I tend to focus on the animals and all the havoc and commotion they are causing.
Jehoshaphat reminds us to pause and praise. To praise God, to remember his goodness and faithfulness, to look up.
I love to sing but I am not great at it. A friend often teases me at church about my singing. We laugh about how I make a joyful noise to the Lord!
Friend, when was the last time you made a joyful noise to the Lord? Are you allowing the goats, sheep, and cows to steal your joy? Like me, do you need a sight-shift?
The good news is that there is Power in Praise.
Praise is the key that unlocks the power of God in any situation.
Praise……., Praise God, Praise his Holiness, Praise and acknowledge his goodness!
Praise clears the fog. It gives us God’s perspective even when our circumstances remain the same. Praise reminds us that we are not alone. He is with us.
Friend, no matter what you are facing in this season, will you choose to look up and lift your voice in praise to the one who is able to make the enemy of your soul self-destroy?
Lord, I acknowledge my daily struggles and bring them before you. I praise you for your faithfulness. I praise you for the strength to endure this season in the valley and all the goats, sheep, and cows that accompany it. I praise you because you are more than enough……your grace is sufficient. I thank you for new eyes to see and gain your perspective. You are Sovereign, O Lord! My friends and I are overcomers in Jesus’ Name.