02/20/S – Enthroned on Praise

2 Chronicles 20:1-37; Romans 11:1-12; Psalms 22:1-18; Proverbs 10:6-7

OT: “After this, the Moabites and Ammonites, together with some of the Meunites, came to fight against Jehoshaphat… Jehoshaphat was afraid, and he resolved to seek the Lord. Then he proclaimed a fast for all Judah, who gathered to seek the Lord. They even came from all the cities of Judah to seek him… “Our God, will you not judge them? For we are powerless before this vast number that comes to fight against us. We do not know what to do, but we look to you.” All Judah was standing before the Lord with their dependents, their wives, and their children. In the middle of the congregation, the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel (son of Zechariah, son of Benaiah, son of Jeiel, son of Mattaniah, a Levite from Asaph’s descendants), and he said, “Listen carefully, all Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat. This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast number, for the battle is not yours, but God’s… You do not have to fight this battle. Position yourselves, stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord. He is with you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid or discouraged. Tomorrow, go out to face them, for the Lord is with you.’” …In the morning they got up early and went out to the wilderness of Tekoa. As they were about to go out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem. Believe in the Lord your God, and you will be established; believe in his prophets, and you will succeed.” Then he consulted with the people and appointed some to sing for the Lord and some to praise the splendor of his holiness. When they went out in front of the armed forces, they kept singing: Give thanks to the Lord, for his faithful love endures forever. The moment they began their shouts and praises, the Lord set an ambush against the Ammonites, Moabites, and the inhabitants of Mount Seir who came to fight against Judah, and they were defeated.” (‭‭2 Chronicles‬ ‭20:1, 3-4, 12-15, 17, 20-22‬ ‭CSB)

During Jehoshaphat’s reign, people from three nations banded together to attack King Jehoshaphat and the nation of Judah. When Jehoshaphat heard the news, he was afraid – and understandably so. There was no way that the little nation of Judah could be victorious against such an overwhelming foe. In the face of impossible odds, Jehoshaphat humbled himself and sought the Lord… and called the nation to seek the Lord by declaring a fast. Fasting is not a tool to be used in manipulating God to do something you want Him to do. Fasting is an outward sign of a sincere inward humility and dependence. At Jehoshaphat’s call, the entire nation gathered together in Jerusalem at the steps of the temple – and they prayed and sought the Lord. As the eyes of the entire nation was on him, Jehoshaphat looked up to God and said, “We are powerless against this enemy and we do not know what to do, but we trust in Your deliverance and we look to You.” Then the nation waited in silence for God to respond… and in the silence, the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jahaziel and God spoke to His people. The word of the Lord was for Jehoshaphat and Judah to not be afraid or discouraged – but to trust in the Lord… to face the enemy in faith and watch God bring the deliverance. The next morning, they obeyed the Lord and lined up to confront the enemy in faith – with a choir proclaiming the praises of the Lord leading the way. They praised the splendor of His holiness, proclaimed His goodness and thanked Him for his everlasting faithfulness. As the people praised the Lord in faith, the Lord moved on their behalf and the enemy was completely defeated. When the nation of Judah was faced with an overwhelming enemy and impossible odds, they humbled themselves before the Lord God and fasted, prayed and praised… and God gave them victory. Whenever God’s people humble themselves before Him and exalt Him with praise, He rules and reigns among them and does miraculous things on their behalf.

Psalms: “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me? Why are you so far from my deliverance and from my words of groaning? My God, I cry by day, but you do not answer, by night, yet I have no rest. But you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel. Our ancestors trusted in you; they trusted, and you rescued them. They cried to you and were set free; they trusted in you and were not disgraced.” (‭‭Psalms‬ ‭22:1-5‬ ‭CSB)

Five generations before Jehoshaphat’s reign as king, his Great, Great, Great, Great Grandfather King David wrote this psalm. This psalm is considered a Messianic psalm because of it’s incredible parallel to the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. In fact, as Jesus hung on the cross, He quoted the first line of this psalm, “My God, My God, why have You abandoned Me?” David must have begun writing this psalm at a time when he felt abandoned by God. ‘Felt’ is the key word there. There are times in our lives… in especially difficult times, when we may feel that God has abandoned us… when we feel like God isn’t listening to us. In that time of feeling abandoned, David remembered back to God’s faithfulness. He remembered that in difficult times, when God’s people humbled themselves and exalted God in faith-filled praise, He moved on their behalf and delivered them. Unlike David, as Jesus hung on the cross, God actually did abandon Him. In that moment, Jesus became sin. He became cursed as all the sin of the world was placed on Him… and for the first time, Jesus felt was it was like to have sin and be abandoned by His Father. But Jesus trusted in His Father and was obedient to Him, even to death on the cross… and because of that, God raised Him up from the grave to a glorious victory over His enemies. And now, we can trust in King Jesus and praise His Name and allow Christ to be enthroned in our lives. As we do that, the ever-faithful God will set us free and give us victory over our enemies.

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