MINI SCRIPTURE SOAKING BIBLE STUDY ~ Part Two
We are re-considering the importance of an authentic attitude of worship, which reflects an understanding that God is in control and worthy of all trust by reading through one of the stories of Jehoshaphat. We are focusing here in order to consider the importance of an attitude of worship in our own lives in response to God’s presence, remind ourselves of worship’s place in our day and how we can expect God to respond.
In Part One (https://ascendinworship.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/calling-all-worshippers), we read that when Jehoshaphat became king of Judah, he knew there was only one God. He understood God’s sovereignty in all circumstances and God’s promise to protect and provide for those who honored Him for His rightful position as supernatural, Supreme King over all. Jehoshaphat immediately set about ensuring as much as he could that Judah was a “nation under God”. Jehoshaphat knew that many others before him had declared Judah a nation under God because God had made promises to Judah. But those promises were contingent on the people fulfilling one promise: to put God first in their lives, worshipping no other God but God. Many of his predecessors had honored God in word only. Jehoshaphat was different. His reverence of God was more that words. It was faith declared in word and manifested by action in every regard. Jehoshaphat used his authority to have all altars to other gods torn down. Next, understanding he could not expect the people who didn’t know God to revere Him (and knowing God did not want a forced reverence, but a turning of individual hearts toward Him whose reverence to Him was a free will offering, not because of a law), Jehoshaphat send those who knew God into every village to teach the people about Him.
We continue our study three chapters later in 2 Chronicles 20. Some time has passed and now three armies are coming against Jehoshaphat and Judah. It is more than they humanly can fight against and expect to win. The odds appear impossible.
2 CHRONICLES 20 (Amplified)
1AFTER THIS, the Moabites, the Ammonites, and with them the Meunites came against Jehoshaphat to battle.
2It was told Jehoshaphat, A great multitude has come against you from beyond the [Dead] Sea, from Edom; and behold they are in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi.
3Then Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself [determinedly, as his vital need] to seek the Lord; he proclaimed a fast in all Judah.
4And Judah gathered together to ask help from the Lord; even out of all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord [yearning for Him with all their desire].
What two things did Jehoshaphat do when he was told a multitude represented by three separate armies was coming to attck Judah? (2 Chron. 20:3)
What did all of Judah do in response to the news of the impending attack and King Jehoshaphat’s call to fast? (2 Chron. 20:4)
When we “fear” God more than anyone or else, it means we understand that out of all that we face, God is the one with the supreme power to address our circumstances. In Psalm 111:10 we learn: “10The reverent fear and worship of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and skill [the preceding and the first essential, the prerequisite and the alphabet]; a good understanding, wisdom, and meaning have all those who do [the will of the Lord]. Their praise of Him endures forever. (Ps. 111:10 Amplified)
“Fear” does not mean to be afraid, but to understand who He is enough to know that if God is with us, there is no reason to fear anything else because of His might, power, sovereignty and plan. Because Jehoshaphat not only had the altars to the wrong gods torn down AND sent those who knew God out to teach the nation ahead of time, now when the attack came, the entire nation knew to seek God for the answer to their problems. As a result, instead of crying out for God’s help in panic, 2 Chronicles 20 continues with Jehoshaphat leading his entire nation in worship of God:
5And Jehoshaphat stood in the assembly of Judah and Jerusalem in the house of the Lord before the new court
6And said, O Lord, God of our fathers, are You not God in heaven? And do You not rule over all the kingdoms of the nations? In Your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand You.
7Did not You, O our God, drive out the inhabitants of this land before Your people Israel and give it forever to the descendants of Abraham Your friend?
8They dwelt in it and have built You a sanctuary in it for Your Name, saying,
9If evil comes upon us, the sword of judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we will stand before this house and before You–for Your Name [and the symbol of Your presence] is in this house–and cry to You in our affliction, and You will hear and save.
In these verses, Jehoshaphat was not asking for anything. He was declaring to God who He was, honoring Him in the process. This was worship! He was adoring God and honoring Him by remembering to God the wonder of His past faithfulness. (How many times do we thank God and remember what He has done before? Most often when trouble comes we run to Him in fear for our current problem forgetting how He has helped us in the past.) Jehoshaphat’s worship, not only gave God the credit (the glory) He was due, but it also reminded the people worshipping that they had been in bad circumstances before and God had taken care of them. Thus one outcome of authentic worship is that it builds our faith!
Only after Jehoshaphat had led the people of Judah in worship, did he begin to intercede (pray) on behalf of his nation in the verses which followed:
10And now behold, the men of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir, whom You would not let Israel invade when they came from the land of Egypt, and whom they turned from and did not destroy–
11Behold, they reward us by coming to drive us out of Your possession which You have given us to inherit.
12O our God, will You not exercise judgment upon them? For we have no might to stand against this great company that is coming against us. We do not know what to do, but our eyes are upon You.
13And all Judah stood before the Lord, with their children and their wives.
How does Jehoshaphat describe their power & wisdom to address their own situation? (2 Chron 20:12)
Where does he see their answer? (2 Chron 20:12)
What is the population of Judah doing? (2 Chron 20:13)
Even as Jehoshaphat then prayed it was with an attitude of worship, not panic or fear. Through worship and remembering what God had done, Jehoshaphat had effectively ascended above his impossible earthy circumstances, and confidently (without panic) brought before God what was yet to be done. He feared God alone. He knew if God was with them, it didn’t matter the size of the enemy or the seeming impossibility of their circumstances. There was no question God was faithful; therefore they put their request before God and waited for a response. And God answered.
To be concluded in the next Bible Study post…. Meanwhile Lord, help us to hold all these revelations in our minds and hearts until then, when we will learn how God responds when we worship because we have had a foundation of faith laid by those who know Him.
Selah! [Pause, and calmly think of that!]
The song, “FULFILL YOUR PROMISES” on Elizabeth’s ASCEND IN WORSHIP CD was composed as direct result of learning from 2 Chronicles how to worship God by remembering all He has done and then interceding in confidence for what remained for Him to do. The song can be purchased via the CD at www.holyspiritpress.org, http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/fulgaro1, itunes and amazon.com
Christmas is coming. A few years ago, the Lord whispered to my heart that He wanted to be worshipped at Christmas and He showed me how many of the songs we sing beautifully tell the story of His birth and why He came, but very few actually worship Him during this festive season. As a result in December 2009 I was in the studio beginning to record CHRISTMAS WORSHIP, which includes 7 new, original Christmas worship songs, which the Lord had me compose specifically for this project. Please consider giving the gift of CHRISTMAS WORSHIP this Christmas. It can be purchased at www.holyspiritpress.org or amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Worship-Elizabeth-Fulgaro/dp/B004D9931G/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1320069144&sr=8-2 or CDbaby.com http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/elizabethfulgaro3. Music clips can be heard at the CD Baby or amazon.com links. May God receive the honor and worship He is due this Christmas season.
Elizabeth Fulgaro is a wife, mother, writer, inspirational speaker, worship leader, composer, singer & recording artist. She is also a Certified Financial Planner and Accredited Financial Counselor with a heart for helping Christians understand and steward their finances God’s way.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.